Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting believes Assen “would be a nice track” for the sport but requires small changes to host F1.

Following comments from Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo urging Assen to ‘keep away from F1’, attention has returned on the potential comeback of the Dutch Grand Prix after a 33-year absence. Assen has never hosted F1, with all previous Dutch races held at Zandvoort, but last January the circuit was inspected by race director Whiting to assess its existing FIA circuit license.

According to the FIA’s official list of licensed circuits, last updated in October 2017, Assen has a Grade 2 licence – the same standard as Brands Hatch and Donington Park – but would require a Grade 1 licence to host F1.

Whiting feels the Dutch circuit would be a welcomed venue for F1 but has underlined previous comments that Assen would need extra kerbs, guardrails and Tecpro barriers at specific points while the layout wouldn’t need altering.

“From my perspective with minor modifications it would be a nice track for Formula 1,” Whiting said. “I believe the location is good as well but that is all I know I don’t know whether there is any commercial negotiations going on.”

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When quizzed on a possible return to Zandvoort, Whiting says no analysis has been run on the circuit which last hosted F1 in 1985. Zandvoort also holds an FIA Grade 2 licence and currently hosts DTM and the FIA European Formula 3 championship rounds.

“For Zandvoort we haven’t done any simulations on so it is a little premature to say,” he said. “I think it would be a great track but I am not sure without doing simulations how much work would be necessary. I would say of the two at present, Assen would need very little work.”

Focus on the F1 Dutch Grand Prix has ramped up following the rise of home driver Max Verstappen, who claimed victory this weekend at the Austrian Grand Prix, while an estimated 20,000 Dutch fans attended the Spielberg race to support the 20-year-old.

On the 2018 F1 and MotoGP calendars, just four circuits are shared by the two championships – Circuit de Catalunya, Red Bull Ring, Silverstone and Circuit of the Americas – while the Spanish, British and US tracks have all been recently resurfaced to get rid of the bumps in the surface.

Both Rossi and Lorenzo raised concerns of a similar issue being caused at Assen if F1 were to race at the Dutch circuit.

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