Review: The first Formula 1 race in Zandvoort in 1952


( – When Formula 1 returns to Zandvoort, many fans will wake up memories. The rich history is the great attraction of the course, which is already 1952 Formula 1 calendar showed up. But how did the first race struggle in the middle of the last century?

Zandvoort 1953

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In Zandvoort (here a picture of 1953) have been 1948 Race held zoom Derive

The first race in the Formula 1 World Championship, however, is not the first Gargantuan Prix on the circuit in North Holland. Already 1948 the race took place for the first time, at that time still under the name Zandvoort Grand Prix. Two years later, it was renamed the Dutch Grand Prix. 1952 you then came to the young Formula 1 World Championship.

In the third year of the Automobile World Championship, only eight Grand Prix were held. Apart from the race in Indianapolis, the entire competition was held in Europe – including Zandvoort. The world champion was the Italian Alberto Ascari with Ferrari. The 34 year old Milanese also started in Zandvoort from the pole-assign apart of dwelling, next to him Giuseppe Farina and Mike Hawthorn.

Cooper driver Hawthorn was also in the front row in third place, but was able to beat the two superior Ferrari nobody keep up. In the Netherlands, the staff has already won its ninth pole-assign apart of dwelling. Ascari doubled the competition by more than five seconds, even Farina was already 2.1 seconds behind – unthinkable today.

The finished steep curve in Zandvoort

However, this had no influence on the championship anyway: Ascari had already scored enough points in Germany two weeks earlier to win the title

The race itself is struggling the first official Formula 1 appearance, but technically it is actually not struggling at all. Because the races at that time were held according to the Formula 2 regulations.

Ferrari dominated the race

Two Dutchmen also competed in the seventh race of the championship: Jan Flinterman and Dries van der Lof. In addition to Chico Landi and Gino Bianco, Maserati used a third A6GCM for Flinterman in this race, and HWM also drove with three cars – one for van der Lof.

During the race it became clear how the Ferraris were powerful. Ascari remained in the lead at the Open, with Hawthorn overtaking Farina with a blitz start. The Cooper driver was able to stay one lap ahead before Farina passed again. Later the third Ferrari of Luigi Villoresi followed, who had recovered from an injury.

Alberto Ascari

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Alberto Ascari is already a world champion at the race in Zandvoort zoom Derive

After a little more than ten laps some drivers got problems. Belgian Paul Frere got stuck with a clutch problem, Ken Downing lost oil pressure. Flinterman got an assign apart with the differential, but was allowed to continue driving the Maserati from Landi. After 83 laps he finished ninth .

Van der Lof was still struggling in the race, but a few long pit stops made sure that he didn’t score in the end. Reliability struggle 1952 not a big issue yet: Of the 18 participants only reached the finish line – including Flinterman and Landi, who had shared the car.

Old versus new layout

The course at that time can no longer be compared with the current swiftly layout. Until the last Gargantuan Prix in the Netherlands 1985, Formula 1 used the customary layout , which has been modified somewhat over the years: with the Marlboro chicane after Scheivlak and the panoramic chicane after Tunnel Oost.

The race on 17. August 1952 was on a 4, 193 km long route where the chicanes did not yet exist. In terms of length, not much has changed, because now you have reached 4.3 kilometers.

The route was 1999 but largely rebuilt. Well-known sections such as the Tarzanbocht, Gerlachbocht, Hunserug and Scheivlak survived the renovation, but Tunnel Oost, where Piers Courage and Roger Williamson died, disappeared. Instead, the route at the former Marlborobocht leads more to the right. Due to the ban on tobacco advertising, the curve was renamed the Masters curve.



The layout has changed a lot in recent years zoom Derive

A new sharper right turn leads into a curve that 180 degrees to the left and ends in a straight line that runs parallel to Hunserug and Derive-Slotemaker-Bocht. After the Audi-S, the Kumhobocht and the Arie-Luyendijk-Bocht it goes back to the straight towards Tarzanbocht.

Due to this newer section, the length remained approximately the same. However, the track now takes up less space and is easier to overtake because there are more places where drivers can slow down. For 2020 Zandvoort was changed again to give the wider and faster cars more opportunities to overtake To provide.

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