We saw Max Verstappen today winning his second Dutch Grand Prix. Probably most of you link the Dutch F1 with Max Verstappen or perhaps Jos Verstappen. It has been a good move to bring the Grand Prix back in Zandvoort. However, the history with F1 and racing in general is in The Netherlands so much more then what we see today on the screens. Rich with forgotten anecdotes, facts and stories of the days many of us don’t remember. It’s time for a Dutch Did you know special!
Did you know: That racing was also a part of the Dutch culture in the early days of automobiles? While everyone will say autosport only started to gain attention in the late 1920s, already in the 1890s there were races held. Most of these races were trials or reliability tours. Besides that, in 1899 we had at least five of these autosport events.
Did you know: That the very first Grote Prijs van Nederland was to be held on the unfinished Racetrack at Heerlen in the summer of 1935? Due to financial struggles, the track was never build. We had to wait another four years before we would have our first Grand Prix, on the streets of Zandvoort.
Did you know: That between 1925 and 1940 nine attempts were made to build a permanent race circuit in the Netherlands? The first attempt was the Autobaan ‘T Langeveld near Lisse in 1925. While attempt were made at Deelen(1932), Den Haag (1933), Arnhem(1934), Arnhem(1934), Heerlen(1935), Project three(1936), Apeldoorn (1938) and Zeist(1938).
Did you know: That after the success of the Dutch Grand Prix in 1939 the second Dutch Grand Prix was planned for the first week of July 1940? Due to the war the Grand Prix was cancelled.
Did you know: That there were plans to held a Grand Prix for 1,5L Formula cars near Zeist just a year after the war? While the plans were approved for a permanent track near Zeist, the Dutch gov. blocked it due to the need of workers to rebuild several roads. Grand Prix was to be held the 24th of August 1946.
Did you know: That in 1947 the Dutch Grand Prix was to be held on the new circuit in Zandvoort. The date would have been the 30th of August 1947. However, the race was postponed due to the winter period before which did not help constructing the circuit.
Did you know: That it is almost impossible to figure out when we had our first driver active in the autosport? A driver named Viet appeared at the start of the Paris-Marseilles-Paris Trial held from 30 September until 3 october 1896. He drove a Panhard. Another one is a driver named Griet who appeared with a De Dion at the start from Paris – Bourdeaux. However, he failed to finish the race.
Did you know: That there are at least four unraced Dutch Grand Prix / F1 cars? The earliest one was the de Vos, which had similarities with the Auto Union’s back in the days. This car was sadly too heavy and when the war started the car was hidden. The second one was the Drebbel F1 an impossible Dutch dream from 1961. Eventually there was the BRM P160 design from the brothers Das brothers in 1973. Only a few years later we had the Arno F1 car, which was more or less an F1 car. However, many stories go around this attempt.
Did you know: That Rob Slotemaker was to race together with Ben Pon during the Dutch Grand Prix of 1962? He was to race with one of Carel Godin de Beaufort’s Porsches. Sadly, the car was not ready in time. Which resulted in a DNA for Slotemaker.
Did you know: That there are Dutch Grand Prix drivers you probably never heard of before? One of them is Klaas Twisk. Twisk drove in 1959 and in 1961 with a Cooper T51 for Tulip Stable. Both were non-championship races. His first one was the 1959 Silver City Trophy on Snetterton. He finised 16th at last. The other race was the 1961 London Trophy at Crystal Palace Circuit. He retired after his engine broke down.
Did you know: That Rob Slotemaker tested in 1966 with a Lotus 25 fitted with a BRM engine?
Did you know: Cees Siewertsen is another Dutch driver that tested with an F1, which many have forgotten. Cees tested with one of the Brabham’s from the Finotto team. Eventually he would havce raced for the team later in 1974. Sadly for Cees, this never materialised.