Ride along on Max Verstappen and Alex Albon's F1 road trip to Zandvoort
Watch Aston Martin Red Bull Racing's F1 drivers take the trip of a lifetime around the Netherlands, culminating in a thrash around the newly overhauled Zandvoort circuit.
Over the past few years, thousands of Dutch fans have travelled around the world to support Verstappen, with the ‘orange army’ frequently cheering the loudest, having the most fun and encapsulating the party atmosphere of Formula 1. With the return of the Dutch GP on the Formula 1 calendar, it was the perfect time to introduce the Netherlands to the F1 world. What better way to do so than with two of F1’s most talented drivers, their cars, and incredible cameos from other members of the Red Bull crew.
Behind the scenes in the Netherlands
In the Dutch road trip: Port to Zandvoort video (above) you can watch Verstappen play tour guide for Albon, pointing out the places most worth seeing. The two drive through the port of Rotterdam, over narrow dykes, past windmills, through the flower greenhouses and right through the city centre of The Hague. Along the way they come across an old friend before doing doughnuts at the Noordeinde Palace.
The final goal is, of course, Circuit Zandvoort, the location the Dutch GP should have been held at on May 3, 2020. But an ultimate road trip through the Netherlands would not be complete without visiting one of the beautiful beaches, so the duo drive over the loose sand of Scheveningen and meet up with an old friend from the Red Bull crew: motocross racer Jeffrey Herlings.
Herlings jumps over Verstappen: "It had to go well..."
True to form, Verstappen and Albon aren’t just meeting up with Herlings for a friendly chat – there’s also a spectacular stunt in the offing. It might be the moment of the Dutch Road Trip video; the scene in which Herlings, on the beach of Scheveningen, jumps over Albon and Verstappen in their Formula 1 cars.
When Herlings was asked to do that, he didn't have to think long. "I was immediately excited. How many times do you get a chance like that? It was super-cool to do, too. A day to never forget," Herlings adds as he looks back at the movie. "And when you see what kind of footage it produced... really cool."
That’s not to say Herlings wasn’t tentative about the jaw-dropping stunt. "Sure, a little. There was also a big audience, which wasn't really the intention," he laughs.
The video had to be recorded in anonymity, but the rumour that F1 cars were going to race on the beach spread quickly and the public stood several rows deep on the beach to watch the F1 cars and Herlings as closely as possible.
For a Formula 1 car, driving over sand isn't something to be taken lightly, so I only had a few chances
"It had to go well," the motocross racer adds. "For a Formula 1 car, driving over sand isn't something to be taken lightly, so I only had a few chances. It all had to be timed just right. So yeah, you do feel a bit of tension. I'm glad the result is super-nice."
The hardest thing for Herlings was the combination of the beach sand and the timing, with the rider having to hang in the air at the exact time the cars, which started a lot further down the beach, drove underneath him. "Soon there were deep tracks in the loose sand, that made it tricky. And of course I had to get the jump right, otherwise I'd be on top of a Formula 1 car," he laughs.
It makes for amazing viewing, but Herlings also has an idea for future stunts: “Next time Max can jump over it on my bike, I'll drive the Formula 1 car," the crosser chuckles. "It's another dream of mine to drive a Formula 1 car someday. Maybe one day Red Bull can make it happen. Swapping cars with Max is not a problem for me."
Introducing Robert Doornbos
Herlings wasn’t the only member of the Red Bull family to join the party, with fellow racing driver Robert Doornbos also making a welcome cameo. Doornbos overtakes the cars of Verstappen and Albon on his bicycle, when the two try to get through the busy city centre of The Hague.
"After 10 years they thought, 'we'll call that Doornbos again,'" chuckles the man who drove three Formula 1 races for Red Bull Racing back in 2006. "But this time they won't put me in the car, but on my bike."
Doornbos really enjoyed being a part of the journey, adding: "It was great to feel the vibe and the enthusiasm again. In my time, we once created a demo about the Afsluitdijk (where he reached speeds of over 300kph), that's how it all started at the time.”
Creating something special to watch
Tony Burrows, the racing support team manager at Red Bull Racing, is satisfied with how the spectacular project in the Netherlands turned out. "We've been to a lot of special places, but this was great. The scene through the Greenhouse was especially cool. To drive a Formula 1 car through such a large greenhouse..."
Burrows also enjoyed the enthusiasm of the fans, who came to watch the recordings. "It's nice to get so close to the audience. Normally as a fan you can't see a Formula 1 car so close. It’s good that we can do that."
To be able to show something of the Netherlands in this way is very special
In the final part of the film, Verstappen drives around the brand new Circuit Zandvoort, where the Dutch GP should have been held on May 3. Verstappen had the opportunity to lap the circuit a few times, but his rivals will have to wait to experience the new Zandvoort.
With the Dutch GP currently postponed, the team’s road trip has become even more special, giving fans something new and exciting to watch while they wait.
"We were all looking forward to our home race, of course,” adds Verstappen. “Unfortunately that's not going to happen now, but hopefully soon. Then we're going to make a great weekend for the fans. But to be able to show something of the Netherlands in this way is very special. Especially now that there is little Formula 1 action."
Albon concludes: “We wanted to show the Netherlands to the world this way. The film was shot in January and around this time it should have been the Dutch Grand Prix, but given the situation that is something else. We now wanted to release the film in order to give the fans something. So, enjoy it!"