Max Verstappen has called for motor racing to tighten its safety procedures following the death of an 18-year-old Dutch driver during a race at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
Dilano van ‘t Hoff was killed after he was hit by another car after spinning on the wet track in a Formula Regional European Championship race. Emergency services were on the track within minutes but were unable to save his life.
Formula 1 drivers, who are due to race at Spa at the end of this month, said the sport needed to learn the lessons from the tragedy. Four years ago a 22-year-old French driver, Antoine Hubert, was killed in a crash in a Formula 2 race on the same stretch of the track.
Van ‘t Hoff, from Dordrecht, began his career in kart racing before switching to Formula 4, where he won the Spanish championship two years ago. Since 2021 he has been racing for the MP Motorsport team.
In a statement, the team said: “We are devastated at the loss of one of our brightest Dutch talents, who brought so much energy to our team during the years he raced with us.”
Verstappen, who posted a message of condolence on Twitter on Saturday, said Van ‘t Hoff’s death was “unnecessary” and the sport needed to look carefully at the circumstances.
Extremely sad to hear the news about Dilano today.. I want to send my condolences to Dilano’s family and loved ones.
Rest in peace 🥀 pic.twitter.com/4XeowMZCsi
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) July 1, 2023
The Formula 1 world champion was told of the death during the weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.
“It’s extremely sad that this has happened,” he said. “I didn’t know him personally, but he was a young, up-and-coming racer who had the same dreams as us.”
Fellow Dutch driver Nyck de Vries said : “I heard it straight after the sprint race and it left me completely numb. I couldn’t believe it.”
‘Change the track’
American driver Lance Stroll called for the section of track where Van ‘t Hoff was killed to be rebuilt immediately.
“It’s not fair what happened and that corner needs to be looked at and changed because we’ve lost two young talents in the span of five years,” he said.
A minute’s silence was held in respect of Van ‘t Hoff before the start of the main race at the Austrian Grand Prix, which Verstappen won comfortably to extend his lead in the championship standings.
“We need to take a god hard look at these situations,” Verstappen said. “It’s easy to point to the track, but we need to look at the circumstances and how wet it was. And what we can do in future to protect drivers. Because I think that what happened today was unnecessary.”