Dutch GP boss wary circuits could use Covid-19 to stay on F1 calendar post-2020

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Dutch Grand Prix promoter Jan Lammers is wary some circuits could use Covid-19 as a bargaining tool to stay on the Formula 1 calendar.

As the sport tries to put together a new 2020 schedule starting from July, F1 CEO Chase Carey has confirmed talks are taking place with venues not originally set to host a GP this year.

Hockenheim, Imola and Portimao are three circuits known to have shown an interest in holding closed-door events, and the Dutch GP chief does worry they could try and undercut his own race to earn a spot on the revised calendar.

"What we’re asking for and need to run a Grand Prix behind closed doors at Zandvoort is compared by F1 to Hockenheim, for example," Lammers explained to Motorsport.com.

"They’ll probably offer to host a race for free or at the cost price. The same goes for Imola and some other circuits.

"But as soon as a Grand Prix is run there, those tracks will try to stay on the F1 calendar. They will say: 'We helped you during the corona crisis’, and try to negotiate that in a commercial way."

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As for the terms Zandvoort would demand to host an F1 race without fans, Lammers made it pretty clear.

"It has to be a responsible thing to do for Circuit Zandvoort, especially from a financial point of view. To put it simply: it shouldn’t cost us any money," he said.

"So if FOM and Liberty want to hold a race at Zandvoort without fans, they have to pay for all of the operational costs and that is quite a substantial amount of money.

"The fact that we won’t earn anything from it, and that we would invest a lot of time and energy into it, is a way that we would be helping the sport as well," the promoter noted.

If Liberty Media choose not to pay for a race in the Netherlands though, Lammers has no issue waiting until 2021.

"It might take a year longer, but whether we come back after 35 years or 36 years, it doesn't make such a difference on that scale," he added.

"It might also be better if the coronavirus [pandemic] is largely behind us and we can organise a normal event. The event we had planned is difficult to change into a 'social distancing event’.

"If you are allowed to organise a race with fans again, you want to have a great party with thousands of people."