Red Bull’s Dutch GP beach plan facing environmentalist anger

Luke Smith
motorsport.com

Local officials in Zandvoort have given Red Bull and sister team AlphaTauri the green light to use a two-mile stretch of beach within the Noordvoort reserve to avoid traffic delays en route to the circuit over the race weekend. The first Dutch Grand Prix since 1985 is set to attract large crowd numbers amid significant local interest in Max Verstappen, creating the possibility for delays getting in and out of the track. 

The Noordvoort reserve is home to a number of seals and birds, resulting in protests from interest groups to prevent the F1 teams from using the beach as an alternative transit route. The beach is only to be used in the event of heavy traffic and no alternative travel options, such as using a helicopter, being available, with restrictions on the cars and speeds also set to be put in place.

Protests have come from environmental protection groups such as the Netherlands Bird Protection Association – who say the reserve risks “being violated” – and the Foundation for Dune Conservation.

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Red Bull F1 boss Christian Horner said no firm decision had been yet been taken by the team on how it would get into Zandvoort, but stressed precautions would be taken as needed. 

“At the moment, I don’t think we have a clear plan in place in terms of how we’re going to get to the track, whether we’re walking in,” Horner said. “One thing for sure is that we know it’s going to be a very busy race. We know that half of Holland is going to be there that weekend.

“But of course we’ll take all precautions necessary to make sure everybody gets to the circuit safely, timely, and without causing any damage or disturbance.” 

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Six-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has been an advocate for protecting the environment, but said the actions of other teams was “not really my business”.

“I went there when I was 18 years old, and I didn’t use the beach. I really don’t know what to say,” Hamilton said.

“If you’re using an electric scooter on those pumped-up tyres driving over the beach, I don’t see how that’s a terrible thing. But I don’t know if they will be on electric scooters.”

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