Almost happened two Dutch drivers in 1996

Blog Dutch Autosport History

After the 1995 Monaco Grand Prix Simtek went into bankruptcy due to the financial situation of the team. In the aftermath Jos Verstappen lost his seat on the grid as well. Rumours went that Verstappen was in talks with Ligier, McLaren, Sauber and Footwork for a seat in 1996. Eventually Verstappen signed for Footwork Hart. What many forgot is that there was another Dutch driver in the  scope for a seat in 1996.

That other Dutch drivers was Jan Lammers. I’m not joking Lammers was in the scope to appear on the grid as well. In 1992 after an absence of 10 years Lammers re-appeared on the grid once more with the ill-fated March Formula One team. This deal happened due to the fact that Henny Vollenberg had purchased the assets of the team. Together with some sponsors from Lammers the team was secured to finish the season. The story is known that Lammers was to race in 1993 for the team as well. He even paid the bills in South Africa when the team had no tyres or engines.

After March went into bankruptcy Lammers went to the International Formula 3000 series for Il Barone Rampante. In 1994 Lammers races in the BTCC before he became involved with DAMS. their Formula One project during the 1995 season.

It is not 100% clear how Jan Lammers got involved with the DAMS team. In an interview he had with the Dutch Magazine Formule 1 (November 1995) he said that he would do most of the test work with the DAMS GD-01. There was a chance that Lammers would drive for the team in 1996. Although there were several drivers in the scope to race for the team. However, Lammer and Comas had the best papers for a seat, obviously there was also money involved they could bring with them. How close did Lammers come to be on the grid? He himself said that he would know more in December.

Well, what I did read in the corners of the web and in magazines is that DAMS was interested to hire Lammers as one of their drivers. Though, at that time DAMS was already struggling to get the finance in order.  If DAMS would be able to overcome the struggle it would mean that Jan Lammers probably would appear on the grid in 1996 with the DAMS. It would mean that we would have had two Dutch drivers on the grid. Jos Verstappen with the Footwork and Jan Lammers with the DAMS.

11th of December 1995, Driot announced that their Formula One project will be canned due to the lack of proper financial backing. There was quote that the team would look to enter in 1997. The GD-01 would be used as some sort of test hack to test new systems on. DAMS continued to race in lower formulae series until today and their GD-01 is preserved.

Interestingly at that time the Formula One became booming even people stating that the Formula One should return to Zandvoort. I asked around, and it seems that there are only a few people that were aware of the fact that Jan Lammers was testing with the DAMS GD-01. As that he was in the scope to be one of the teams drivers.