Grand prix

F1 drivers urge Dutch GP fans to keep flare use to a minimum

F1 is returning to Zandvoort for the first grand prix in the Netherlands since 1985, and the event will see the ‘orange army’ out in force supporting home hero Max Verstappen.

Verstappen supporters attended last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps in huge numbers, with several drivers noting that flare smoke proved to be an issue.

Ahead of the event, Haas rookie Schumacher requested the fans to keep the use of flares to a minimum over the course of the weekend.

“I hope they’re not as many flares because like in Spa, it just all came on to the track,” Schumacher said on Thursday.

“It also smells very badly, and it sits in the cockpit all the time.

“So yeah, guys, keep it to a minimum please.”

In the same press conference, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon said he “couldn’t see in one corner for the whole race” due to the volume smoke produced by the flares let off by the crowd.

“I just arrived and the welcome we got from everybody and around the track on the Wednesday evening when I arrived and also on the Thursday with no track action is already fantastic,” the Frenchman added.

“I can’t wait to see the warm welcome we are going to have and how the whole city is enthusiasts. You see around, the town really changes when the Formula 1 is here and that’s mega.”

However, Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel appeared to have no problem with the use of flares.

“It should be great for all of us to jump in the car and hopefully taste a lot of orange,” the four-time world champion joked.

Meanwhile, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo added: “The Dutchies, they’re always up for a good time.

“Seb said ‘tasting orange’, and I completely understood what he meant.

“I feel like the track is going to be covered in smoke a lot of the time with all the flare guns.”

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