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Zandvoort Masters 1999:

The Marlboro Sponsor Demonstration

Ferrari_F399-Salo_29.jpg (40119 bytes)Following the Renault Mégane Trophy race was the sponsor demonstration in which the top Marlboro sponsored racing teams were shown. Max Biaggi took to the track on his Yamaha 500cc motorcycle championship contender (it went round so quick I couldn't get any good pictures). Michael Schumacher replacement Mika Salo gave the crowds a thrill with the Ferrari F399 Formula 1 car and rally ace Tommi Mäkinen entertained the spectators in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V world rally car.

Ferrari_F399-Salo_28.jpg (36452 bytes)Biggest success was the Ferrari F 1 car. Each time it passed an amazing roar rose up from the crowds, very chilling. It became very clear that the Dutch race fans were very ready for having a Formula 1 race at Zandvoort again. Normally the spectators started to leave the circuit after the Formula 3 race had finished, but this year everybody waited to see the red Ferrari flashing past.
Mika did a good job and even seemed to enjoy himself. In spite of the damp track he really pushed the car and put in some good lap times. The difference in speed between all other cars that raced that day and this Formula 1 car was awe inspiring. In real life a Formula 1 car driving at a competitive speed is far more exciting than watching it on TV, I assure you.

Mitsubishi_Lancer_Evo_V_25.jpg (43206 bytes)Of a totally different class, but certainly no less, was the demo Tommi Mäkinen gave. I really pictured him driving around with a grin from ear to ear. He understood that top speed and fast lap times were not his thing and decided to go for showmanship

Mitsubishi_Lancer_Evo_V_26.jpg (32956 bytes)Lap after lap this amazingly skilled driver slipped and slided through the corners, as sideways as possible. On the straights he did so-called "donuts" (sort of a pirouette) and other car handling tricks.

Mitsubishi_Lancer_Evo_V_27.jpg (48249 bytes)Here you see him doing a donut on a short straight; he just rotated his car from one bend to the other without even stopping it. This picture really doesn't do Tommi justice, in reality he steered his car over the track in one flowing manoeuvre.

After the demos just one thought lingered: would the Formula 1 circus ever return to Zandvoort? The circuit certainly seemed up to it. Formula 1 drivers that tried it were quite positive. The marshals do need some more training, but that can't be a problem. I think the main problem will be, of course, money.
The extremely commercial Formula 1 organization will go there where its interests are best served, and somehow I don't expect that to be Holland, a small country almost without any car industry of importance and close to industrial giant Germany. But I gladly would be proven wrong....

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