Wednesday, May 17: Ferdinand Zandbergen burst on to the UIM F1H2O World Championship scene in spectacular fashion last year. In a season that was fought out over six races at four venues, the Dutchman stunned his rivals by claiming pole position for the FIM Grand Prix of Italy at San Nazarro and he went on to win the race on only his fifth ever race start.
That spectacular performance by the Sharjah Team driver came on the back of a non-finish in Mâcon and fifth in the first of the two San Nazarro races. After catapulting himself into contention for the world title in his rookie full season, things unravelled somewhat for the 27-year-old from then on. He finished fifth at the Italian Grand Prix of Regione Sardegna in Olbia but two non-finishes at the back-to-back races on Khaled Lagoon in Sharjah saw him slip to an eventual fifth in the Drivers’ Championship.
That said, Zandbergen had displayed obvious talent from the outset in his very short career in F1H2O racing and was able to carry on from the success he earned while racing against a talented field in the F4-S Trophy. He had, after all, finished the 2016 F4-S Trophy season in second place behind Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al-Qamzi.
His first appearances in F1H2O came in Portugal at Figueira do Foz in November 2021 when he finished fourth on his race debut and then failed to finish the second of the GPs.
Fresh from his maiden full season in F1H2O, hopes were high at the start of this year and the Dutchman was aiming for a podium finish at the Kopika Grand Prix of Indonesia in February after qualifying seventh. But inclement weather conditions shortened the first ever race on Lake Toba and the Dutchman struggled to make progress before flipping his boat five laps into the race and forcing a yellow flag stoppage.
The trip to China for the Grand Prix of Zhengzhou didn’t get off to the best of starts but he managed to carve his way through the field on the Yellow River to reach the podium in his Baba and seal what had looked like an unlikely podium at the start of the race. Two GPs into the season and Zandbergen is sixth in the overall standings and only 11 points behind the front-running Jonas Andersson.
The high-speed on-water action and the thrills and spills of his racing career are a far cry from his life back in the Netherlands. Ferdinand Zandbergen B.V. is a successful family business that was founded in 2005 and now employs 80 people. The company is based out of a modern production facility in Woudenberg but has nothing to do with international motorsport.
Ferdinand Zandbergen B.V. has achieved international market recognition for the production of meat and the distribution of poultry to the food industry!
While the company feeds the population, Ferdinand feeds his hunger for success on the water….