Daniel Ricciardo says Formula 1 drivers will need “big balls” to tackle Zandvoort but fears the narrow circuit layout will lead to processional racing.

F1 will return to the Netherlands for the revival of the Dutch Grand Prix next season, with the Zandvoort circuit striking a deal to host the race for “at least three years”.

Drivers reacted positively to the news of a first Dutch GP in 35 years, but many, including Renault’s Ricciardo, highlighted concerns that the tight and twisty nature of the Zandvoort circuit will not encourage exciting wheel-to-wheel racing.

“The track to drive on is pretty awesome,” Ricciardo said. “It is highspeed, it is old school, big balls. From a driving point of view it is fun.

“But how fast it is, and how narrow some places are, I don’t think it would be that exciting for overtaking. Just my initial feeling, I think with the speeds we go now, following another car would be very difficult.

“So that is my reservation with it, I think it could be a very processional race. Otherwise the track is cool, but we will see.

“I’m a bit torn because to drive on it would be fun but to race on it would be…with the width of the cars now, it is probably like a street circuit through some of the places, and then all the highspeed through the middle.

“We will see but I think it would be tricky to make an exciting race. I don’t know if they have plans to change it.”

His Renault teammate Nico Hulkenberg shared similar concerns about the quality of racing but is happy to see the circuit return to the F1 calendar.

“I loved Zandvoort during my junior times in F3, Formula BMW, A1,” he said. “Good memories from there. Cool track, great location. And obviously Dutchies are already fired up and ready for a good party.

“Even in F3 it was almost impossible to pass. The track layout is not the most inviting for overtaking and racing unfortunately.”

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas described Zandvoort as an “old-school circuit that drivers love”.

“Making mistakes there in the high-speed section it’s going to be very penalising,” The Finn added.

“We feel a bit more we are risking ourselves in that kind of track which is a nice feeling for a driver. So I look forward to it.

“Even Formula Three races there was a lot of people, a lot of spectators, good atmosphere. Many good memories from there. It’s going to be nice.”

Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly said: “Zandvoort is pretty exciting. It’s a really narrow track. I’ve been there only once but it’s really challenging on the driving side. So, I think to put some F1 cars there will be pretty cool and exciting.”

Meanwhile, Williams F1 rookie George Russell, who labelled Zandvoort as one of his “top five favourite circuits”, hopes that the track’s gravel traps are not replaced by run-off areas as it undergoes modernisation to meet current FIA safety standards.

“I think it’s a really incredible circuit, it’s got so much character,” Russell said.

“Obviously safety is incredibly important these days in Formula 1 but I just truly hope we don’t get rid of the gravel runoffs in Zandvoort in the two high-speed corners because that’s what makes the circuit so daunting and so incredible to drive.

“It would be a shame to lose Barcelona but equally I’d be very excited to race in Zandvoort.”



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