The Dutch that were to be Formula One drivers

Blog Dutch drivers

Since the start of the Formula One in 1950 we had 17 Dutch drivers in the Formula One. The most successfully Max Verstappen and his father Jos Verstappen. However, there could have been much more Dutch drivers in the Formula One. Actually there was one Herman Roosdorp who retired after the free practice of the 1951 Dutch Grand Prix. So who were the other once that were to race in the Formula One but never appeared on the grid?

1951 Herman Roosdorp
Herman Roosdorp is an example of a forgotten Formula One driver. At the age of 56! Roosdorp was to make his debut during the 1951 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. As recently written about. This was a non-championship race. He did appear during the free practice session with the HWM51, after he tried to get one of the Ferrari 375s from Enzo Ferrari. He was much slower than his teammates Moss and Macklin. When Moss tried his car, he went on the track again with the HWM only to retire soon after due to a broken differential. Roosdorp decided not to continue and would be replaced by John Heath.

1952 Maus Gastonides
The inventor of the Gatso Speed Camera in 1958 was to race in the Formula One as well. Born in Gombong in former Dutch East Indies, he was involved in racing before WWII. He appeared at the start of the Prijs van Zandvoort held the 3th of June 1939 in a Mercury in class F. After the circuit in Zandvoort was finished in 1948 he was a regular racer on the circuit. Mostly with his own Gastonides cars, which he build seven from.

On the 13th of August 1952 in de Telegraaf an article appeared Gastonides to race during the Dutch Grand Prix with a Maserati A6GCM from Escuderia Bandeirantes. Interesting is that Jan Flinterman, who would race together with Dries van der Lof during the Grand Prix, was named as a reserve driver.  However, it was the question if Gatsonides would race during the Dutch Grand Prix. A week before the race he became very ill, while recovering he would be able to race though not before meeting an specialist. Two days later the same paper published an article stating that he would not race. Therefore, Flinterman would debut in the Maserati A6GCM.

1962 Rob Slotemaker
Rob Slotemaker, well known for his anti-skid school next to the circuit in Zandvoort, is one of the Dutch drivers that was to race in one of the Dutch Grand Prixs’. In 1954 he made his debut at the age of 25 in the autosport. Most of his career he spent in  Rallies, GT and endurance. However, for 1962 Rob Slotemaker was on the entry list for the Dutch Grand Prix. He would make his debut with Eurie Maasbergen, Carel Godin de Beaufort his team. Who already had two Porsche 718s on the list for Ben Pon and Carel himself.

It would mean that three would be three Dutch Grand Prix drivers during the Dutch Grand Prix. That would be a mind-blowing idea, and probably attract even more people to the Grand Prix. However, Rob never appear on the grid, so what happened? It’s very simple Rob’s car was not ready which meant that there was no car ready. What makes the story strange, in my opinion, is that Wolfgang Seidel would race for the team with a Emeryson-Climax 61. Eventually, Ben would crash out of the race while Carel finished 6th!

In 1966 Rob Slotemaker eventually did taste the Formula One. He and Wim Loos appeared at Silverstone in 1966 to test with one of the Lotus BRMs. After a coin toss, Rob was the first one to take place behind the wheel. After a couple of laps the front suspension broke. Resulting in Wim Loos  not able to test the car. Piers Courage was there as well and couldn’t test the car. However, Wim would get a test again a year later, see the story below.

1967 Wim Loos
Wim Loos is a driver that does not 100% fit in the picture of Dutch drivers that were to race in the Formula One. However, Wim Loos was one of the talents in the Netherlands that definitely would have arrived in the Formula One. His talent was indescribably big. Born in 1946 in Zandvoort he grew up with autosport. He was one of those natural talents that you every now and then see, like Max Verstappen today. He joined Racing Team Holland in the mid-1960s mostly to appear in touring and endurance races.

At the age of 21 he appeared in an Alfa Romeo GTA for one of the support races for the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix. His talent was this spectacular that at that time Ferrari’s team manager Franco Lini contacted Wim. His question was if he would test one of the Ferrari’s later that year in Italy. There was even interest from the Scuderia to make Wim one of their Grand Prix drivers in 1968, if the test would be good enough was suggested. Sadly, the test never happened. On the 23th of June 1967 he crashed his Alfa Romeo GT during the 24 Hours of Spa which costed his life. For those who are interested my buddy Rob Petersen wrote a book about Wim Loos in 2019!

1973/1974 Liane Engeman
Liane Engeman is for the older Dutch autosport fans and perhaps also the older British autosport fans a known driver. Liane, make her debut in the Autosport in the mid 60s after she came in contact with Rob Slotenmaker a few years before who gave her a lift. Via Rob she came in contact with the Autosport. In the early days she, when the track was open for any one with a car, trained a lot on the circuit. In 1966 she made her debut in the Dutch Formula Vee championship. That same year she would compete in England in the Formula Vee to get more experienced.

She started there to race in several hill-climb races and with her Mini she appeared at a British Saloon Car Champion race. From 1967 onwards her career went sky rocketing besides racing in the Formula 3, she also appeared in the 12 Hours of Sebring, the ETCC, and the Formula Vee. During te years to come she was mostly active in the Saloon racing and the endurance racing. In 1971 she even competed in the Targa Florio.

While her race career was only beginning there were two Formula One team keen to have her in their team. This were BRM and Team Lotus. It seems that in 1973 she was the closest to sign a deal with BRM for 1974. I recall myself that she had tested with the BRM at Donington or Brands in late 1973. Though, her life would go a different way as she became pregnant of a twin. Which meant that she would not made her debut in the Formula One. And be the first Dutch Female driver in the F1.

1974 Cees Siewertsen
Cees is one of the many Dutch drivers that appeared in the 1970s on the grid during GT, Touringcars and endurance races. However, he was one of the talents in the early 1970s that was predicted a bright future. One of his sponsors was Wally Jeans, which was also helpful for his test with the Brabham BT42 from Scuderia Finotto. He debuted in 1973 and instantly he showed the raw Talent he has. Interestingly, while his brother in law already called him the new Jackie Stewart, he did spoke with BRM. Louis Stanley was impressed by Siewertsen his talent and offered him an test with one of his cars in 1974. In 1974 he won the Dutch Touring Car Championship with Jan Lammers on the second place.

For the 1974 Dutch Grand Prix there where rumours that Cees Siewertsen could appear in the grid with a borrowed March F1 car. This never happened for unknown reasons. Still it was not the end of his Formula One aspirations. Later in 1974 Cees Siewertsen was asked by Scuderia Finotto, a Swiss Formula One team from Jürg Dubler, to test one of their Brabham BT42s. I believe that this hat to do with the fact that Cees moved on an early age towards Switzerland.

Probably you never heard about Scuderia Finotto and never knew about Cees Siewertsen, as these are sidenotes in the massive history of Formula One. Though in June 1974 Cees Siewertsen arrived at Milan to move towards the Casale circuit. Wally Jeans was also a reason he could test. Though his talent was there, and he drove around 60 laps with one of the cars. Both Cees and Jürg were pleased with the results. There were plans to have him racing for the team later in the season. However, the team would only appear in three Grand Pirxs that season before the team folded. Funny fact about the test, only on the left side was the name Wally Jeans visible.

1974 Peter van Zwam
Peter van Zwam is a mystery for me to be honest. Back in the 1960s and 1970s he was a Dutch touringcar ace they say. As well he drove in the Formula Ford with a Merlyn. Interesting is though that he would appear at the start of the 1974 Spanish Grand Prix with the Arno 016L. A car that looked like a bulky F5000 car. Reading comments on some Facebook pages the car seemed to be one misfit.  The car was presented at the 1973 Trophy of the Dunes at Zandvoort. The car never drove a meter on the track. However, Arno van Dijk, who constructed the car, told the media that Teddy Pilette tested with the car with some good results. Jacky Ickx was to test the car as well he said. This was just, how to say nonsense.

Anyway, Peter van Zwan was to race with the car during the Spanish Grand Pirx at Jarama. Probably the car would have been fitted with an Alfa V8 engine. Obviously it never happened. What happened with the car or with Peter van Zwan his career I have no clue.

1993 Marcel Albers
Marcel Albers (nope no family of Christijan Albers) is one of the Dutch drivers that passed away too young, a driver that had the talent to reach the Formula One. Perhaps the talent he had was more than Jos Verstappen had at that time. After winning the 1989 Dutch Formula Ford 1600 championship with van Amersfoort Racing his star was rising quickly. In 1990 he entered the Formula Opel Lotus Euroseries and in 1991 in the British Formula 3 championship. It has to be said besides his pure talent it helped as well that he had the financial backing from his family. Aswell, he was loved by the teams. He had the package to appear in the Formula One around the same time as Jos Verstappen did. Sadly, during the third round of the British Formula 3 championship he had a massive shunt. The crash led to his dead.  

1999 Donny Crevels
Donny Crevels is one of the lost Dutch talents if you ask me. A talent that lost it’s way due to the fact that there is no interest from companies to invest in drivers. Crevels name appeared for the first time in 1990 in the karting scene. Winning the World Cup Formula K in 1991 his career went well. From 1993 until 1995 he drove in the Formula Opel Lotus series. Winning several races and showing his potential he moved further towards the Formula 3. In 1998 he managed to win the Italian Formula 3 championship. Back then, the winner from the championship would test with Minardi.

Winning the championship Crevels had many teams in the Formula 3000 showing their interest. The 12th of November 1998 Donny took place behind the wheel of the Minardi M198 at Barcelona. He completed 32laps and showed some decent results, getting faster and faster. Asking Giancarlo Minardi he remembered they were impressed by Crevels. For his debut in the Formula One there was money needed. His main sponsor had four CEO’s and three of them did not believe in the Formula One. This meant that his debut in the F1 in 1999 would never materialise at all.  

2000, 2001 and 2004 Tom Coronel
Good old Tom, is perhaps one of the Dutch drivers that is a public favourite still going hard in the WTCR winning races and enjoying his career. In the 1990s he moved to Japan where he raced in the Japanese Formula 3 championship which he managed to win in 1997. In 1998 and 1999 Tom raced in the Formula Nippon which he won in 1999. At that time he managed to gain interest from Tom Walkinshaw the owner of Arrows. I actually felt sorry for Tom what happened after. Tom offered Tom to test with the Arrows A20 at Catalunya. This test happened the 16th and 17th of December 1999. During the test Tom showed some good times and was indeed in the race, at that time, to be one of the drivers for Arrows in 2000.

However, it turned out later that Tom Coronel became more or less a tool to put more pressure on the negotiations with Jos Verstappen who was also in the race for a seat with the Arrows team in 2000. Eventually Jos Verstappen got the seat and Tom didn’t. I still would have liked it to see him in the Arrows as well. A true double Dutch. Though, what I didn’t know is that Tom was at some point in interest at the Prost Grand Prix team for a seat in 2001. He told it himself in a tweet when I asked him about his links with Minardi for a seat in 2001. It didn’t materialise either.

A couple of years passed, when Tom mostly raced in the ETTC, a year in Japan in the JGTC and started to appear for Racing for Holland in the 24 hours of LeMans. Then it is 2004, when new rumours appear regarding Tom Coronel and Formula One. This time he was linked with the Minardi team. There were negotiations going in between him, his late Wildschut and Stoddart Minardi’s team owner. It was for the vacant place as third driver for the team. Though, when looking back at it i have the feeling that he would also be racing for the team in 2004. Sadly, neither did their materialise. In 2005 Tom started racing in the WTCC, now the WTCR, and is still going strong in it!

2014 Robin Frijns
2014 was an interesting year for the Dutch drivers moving towards the Formula One. We had Guido van der Garde obviously who ended up in a weird deal with Sauber. Though there was another Dutch driver that was ready to enter the Formula One. Robin Frijns started his career in 2003 in the Dutch Formula Renault Championship. To eventually win the Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2008. From that time on his career went sky rocketing. In 2012, at the age of 21, Frijns appeared for the first time in a Formula One car. For Sauber he attended the Young drivers test in Abu Dhabi. In 2013 Frijns became the teams testdriver to become Catherhams testdriver in 2014.

Why he didn’t appear in the Formula One? Well, perhaps it is the personality. In 2012 he tested also with the RB8 from Red Bull Racing. However, this test was almost cancelled due to an interview he gave stating “Red Bull threats you as a dog”. Though he came close to race for Catherham. There was only one problem the lack of proper funding. Kamui Kobayashi with the money from Air Asia got the seat eventually. I would have loved it to see him in the Formula 1 as he had the proper talent!