MARCH 5, 2019
Assen refusing to give up on Dutch GP
Assen is refusing to give up on hosting a future Dutch grand prix.
That is despite the fact that even the Dutch sports council says Zandvoort is the only potential venue for a F1 race in the Netherlands.
"Assen really does not stand a chance," the council's president Michael van Praag told Noordhollands Dagblad newspaper.
He was speaking after the publication of an open letter to the same effect.
Van Praag said: "I have had two phone calls with FOM, and they said if formula one cannot go to Zandvoort, then they will also not go to Assen.
"They want Zandvoort because of Max Verstappen but also because of their preference for city circuits or circuits with history."
However, he admitted that Zandvoort needs support, including from a sponsor, to beat an end-of-March deadline imposed by Liberty Media: "It is now or never."
And he said Assen can help the situation by giving up.
"I understand very well that a sponsor is going to have doubts if there is a second circuit that says it is able to get F1 to the Netherlands as well," said van Praag.
But Assen says it will not give up.
"It seems like we are now being blamed for not getting the race in Zandvoort," Jos Vaessen, chairman of the foundation pushing to bring F1 to Assen, told Algemeen Dagblad.
He questioned the open letter put out by the sports council, saying: "How exactly does this help, three weeks before the expiry of the deadline?
"It's fine that Michael says this, but we have a letter from FOM stating that we are still the alternative for Zandvoort if it did not work out there," added Vaessen.
"FOM has entered this exclusivity period with Zandvoort, which we regret, but we respect it," he said. "So FOM is doing everything to help Zandvoort.
"Only after March 31 will we talk to them again, so until that time we will keep quiet."