Dutch Grand Prix Betting

Soon after the end of World War II, members of the Royal Dutch Motorcycle Association set about widening roads near Holland’s seaside town of Zandvoort to be used as a racing circuit. In 1948, the first ever Zandvoort Grand Prix was conducted there and won by Thailand’s Prince Bira piloting an old Maserati. The event was repeated over the next three years, won in 1949 by Italy’s Luigi Villoresi in a Ferrari and then on the next two occasions (1950-51) by France’s Louis Rosier driving for Talbot-Lago.

During this period, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) had inaugurated its World Championships and the Netherlands was invited to participate in the third FIA season. The first official Dutch Grand Prix was scheduled on the 4.193-kilometre Circuit Park Zandvoort for 17 August 1952. It was conducted as an F2 event and the penultimate leg of the eight-race season. By then, Italy’s Alberto Ascari of Team Ferrari had already wrapped up the year’s Driver’s Title, and he proved to be just as unstoppable in the rain at Zandvoort, beating teammates Nino Farina (second) and Villoresi (third) over 90 laps. The following year, Ascari reprised his triumph with Farina as runner-up. This time it was Maserati’s duo of Felice Bonetto of Italy and José Froilán González of Argentina who took third.

Between 1954 and 1957, the Dutch Grand Prix was staged only once. It was moved up to June and the fifth spot on FIA’s seven-race calendar in 1955. The event was also extended in length to 100 laps on the Zandvoort course, which was made slippery by a continuous drizzle. In one of the most exciting finishes of the season, Argentina’s Juan Manuel Fangio driving a Mercedes out-dueled teammate Stirling Moss of Great Britain to win by just 0.3 seconds. Italian Luigi Musso of Team Maserati took third.

When the Dutch Grand Prix returned to Circuit Park Zandvoort in 1958, it was Moss’s turn at the top of the podium. That win set the pace for an era of British dominance on the Dutch track lasting until 1976, as Jim Clark would win four times (1963~65 and 1967), Jackie Stewart would gain three victories (1968~69 and 1973), James Hunt would win twice (1975~76) and Graham Hill would add one victory (1962). Also finding success during that period was Australia’s Jack Brabham, who took the checkered flag in 1960 and then again in 1968.

Between 1972 and 1979, the Zandvoort track was lengthened slightly to 4.226 kilometers. That change seemed to favour Austrian Niki Lauda, who claimed the Dutch Grand Prix in 1974 and 1977. The course was extended yet again to 4.252 kilometers in 1980, and Lauda took his third victory in 1985. Meanwhile, drivers from France rose to prominence at Zandvoort, with Alain Prost winning for Renault in 1981 and McLaren-TAG in 1984, while Didier Pironi and René Arnoux of Team Ferrari won in 1982 and 1983, respectively.

Sadly, the 1985 edition was the race’s last. The company that ran the circuit (CENAV) went out of business, bringing an end to the old Formula One circuit and the Dutch participation in the World Championships. Although ownership of the track remained with the municipality of Zandvoort, the course was not used in 1986 and the following year part of the grounds and roughly half of the track were sold to a bungalow park developer called Vendorado. Neither FIA nor motorsports organisers in the Netherlands have shown much interest in reviving the Dutch Grand Prix, making the 30th running its last and, coincidently, the 25th and final victory for Niki Lauda.

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