Tribute, Jan Lammers!

ER Classics Desktop 2022

This year, after decades, the Netherlands could again welcome two major events. The Eurovision Song Contest was to be held in the Netherlands after 40 years. In 1980 The Hague hosted on behalf of Israel. Five years later, the last Dutch Formula 1 race was held. In August 1985 Niki Lauda won the last Grand Prix of the Netherlands. After 35 years, there would finally be a successor for the Austrian. Under the leadership of sports director Jan Lammers, the finishing touches were put on the Dutch Grand Prix of 2020. The party could begin. And will not continue for the time being.

The Eurovision Song Contest has been canceled. And the suspicion that the Dutch Grand Prix would suffer the same fate was more than well-founded. The corona crisis is widespread, affecting all events planned in any area. In that sense, it was no surprise that the Dutch Grand Prix was provisionally drawn. In that sense, it was also no surprise that there was disappointment among the fans, the organizers and anyone who has anything to do with the Zandvoort festival.

Finest Hour

Jan Lammers is sports director of the event. The organization of the Dutch Grand Prix has so far been flawless, and Lammers is the right man in the right place in his own habitat and with his long motorsport background. Jan Lammers has been doing for a lifetime what many car freaks want to do. The Zandvoorter has been involved with cars and motorsport since childhood. And precisely he was the logical face of the festival that was to be shown to the world on May 3. A celebration that would also show what a small country is capable of. The clock was ticking towards the Finest Hour for Dutch motorsport. And for Jan Lammers, even more than Max and Prince Bernhard Junior, the face of the event.

Holy ground for Lammers

The signs were good, the press, the organization, the many fans: they all felt like Zandvoort. And that applies not least to the drivers. Traditionally, the circuit in the dunes has been known as a challenging piece of racing asphalt, notably created on the literal rubble of old Zandvoort. The dismantled aristocracy became the foundation of the current circuit, which became a showpiece for the North Holland coastal town. What was special was that Jan Lammers' father literally contributed to the construction of the course. The place where he got into the grip of motorsport very early on. And where the first steps were taken that later brought Lammers to F1 and Dakar. And to the victory in Le Mans, 1988.

Not played

Jan Lammers was almost ready for a great event is terrain, with his multiple historical charge. In the run-up to the Dutch Grand Prix he could not be caught stress. He never seemed to experience any pressure. The corona crisis drew a line through the Dutch Grand Prix, which certainly means a lot to Lammers. It is unnecessary to say that the disappointment prevails. But what was particularly striking was the way in which Lammers propagated the measure. It was nothing short of impressive and lifelike. Not a single double agenda was hidden in this.

Wonderful response

Jan Lammers put things into perspective and responded beautifully. “The day Bruno Bruins resigns, we shouldn't be talking about sports. So he is working almost dead these weeks to fight the corona crisis and therefore has to resign. Then the Zandvoort GP is absolutely not important. ” He also said that it would not have been ethical for the matter to go ahead and that there is no point at all in talking about Formula 1 in the current perspective. He also expressed himself realistically about the future and referred to today. “There is a funeral every half hour in Bergamo. This virus is gripping us all. Be healthy first. It is right to make a move until we are socially, sportively and economically ready. ”

Not played

Jan Lammers' outpouring was not played out, in fact: he seemed to find it almost embarrassing to talk about Formula 1. And he brought it up like he was the neighbor you were talking to. Over the fence, five feet away. And approachable as always.

Lammers is an example

Jan Lammers is always himself. The down-to-earth approach to canceling the Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort is beyond disappointment. And is an example for anyone who is still downplaying the corona crisis. Jan Lammers was a hero. And it still is. Because in a reassuring way he drew the dividing line between real problems and an organizational hitch. He did this in a pure, ethical and human way. And brushed aside his own interests with gusto without showing a trace of disappointment. Because he meant it. Tribute, Jan Lammers!


Give a reaction
  1. It turns out that a good dash of gasoline in the blood does not affect common sense and certainly not empathy.
    Something that cannot always be said of someone with a good splash of the environment in their blood.
    "Tribute" is the right word.

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