Circuit Zandvoort and the Dutch Grand Prix return to the Formula One calendar this weekend, thanks to Max Verstappen.
Two podiums is all we Kiwis can claim to fame when it comes to the Dutch Grand Prix. Denny Hulme, Chris Amon, Bruce McLaren, Howden Ganley all lined up on the grid during their F1 careers. McLaren retired out of the Dutch Grand Prix more than he finished (7/9 starts) while Ganley had two top ten finishes (1971 with Yardley Team BRM and 1973 with Frank Williams Racing Cars).
Denny Hulme finished third in the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix, the same year as he won the World F1 Driver’s Championship, driving a Brabham BT20. Fellow countryman Chris Amon was fourth in a Ferrari 312/67.
The positions were reversed in 1969 with Amon third (Ferrari 312/69 – see main picture) and Hulme fourth (McLaren M7A).
Mike Thackwell almost made his F1 debut at Zandvoort in 1980. Having signed with Ken Tyrrell to be a test driver for his Tyrrell F1 team, Thackwell was invited to attend the Dutch Grand Prix, by Tyrrell, as a spectator. Arrows team boss, Jackie Oliver, approached him after the first unofficial practice session to ask if he’d like to drive the Arrows A3.
Oliver’s regular driver, Jochen Mass, had been injured at the Austrian Grand Prixand although the car was still set up for Mass, Thackwell got permission to drive the car from Tyrrell, though he failed to qualify.
On another note, the McLaren Formula One team has previously won the Dutch Grand Prix three times. First in 1976 with James Hunt and the the last two times the event was run, with Alain Prost in 1984 and Niki Lauda in 1985.
As long as Max Verstappen competes in Formula One, we are more than likely to continue to have the Dutch Grand Prix at the Zandvoort Circuit on the calendar.