Formula One faces mounting pressure to respond after tragic death of 18-year-old Dutch driver in horrific T-Bone crash at Spa-Francorchamps circuit

At the infamous circuit of de Spa-Francorchamps, history was repeated when the Dutch racer perished amid the hills of the Belgian countryside. News of the young Dutch driver’s death has surfaced while Formula One fans still mourn the tragic loss of 2018 GP3 Series champion Anthoine Hubert, who died in a similar fashion at the same circuit at the F2 Belgian GP in 2019.

18-year-old Dilano Van’t Hoff was the one who paid the price of a wet weather crash as he got fatally injured at the Formula Regional European Championship race in Spa on the first of July. The crash was deadly and led to his demise shortly later. Many motorsport fans around the world are mourning Dilano’s death.

Dutch driver Dilano van ‘t Hoff died in a fatal crash at Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps circuit

Formula One prospect Van ‘t Hoff was seen to lose control of his racing car in the chaos of the first accident, which took place due to the poor weather conditions. Dilano was hit at a high speed of 200kpmh+ by a rival driver while his car had stopped in the middle of the high-speed straight. 

MP Motorsport driver Dilano van 't Hoff dies after crash at race in Belgium

Reports surfaced where it was claimed that this accident could have been avoided if the authorities had issued a red flag. We are reminded of when Sebastian Vettel protested against racing in the wet weather by protesting over the team radio last year. Several drivers have expressed their condolences as well as their thoughts on the horrifying incident that took place. 

“It’s just how the cars work now, and visibility is so bad that we can’t drive on certain circuits at certain speeds. I don’t know if it’s a problem with Spa itself, but it’s something we can’t allow to happen again. It has to be the last one, and yes, I would change this dangerous section,” said Fernando Alonso.

Unlike Formula One or its subsidiary divisions, Formula Regional is only certified by the FIA; it is not actively supervised by it. In simpler words, the series follows the regulations proposed by the regulatory body known as the Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI).

The governing body of Formula One is expected to support and aid the ACI’s crash inquiry. The 2023 Belgian Grand Prix week will include races with Formula One and F2, and F3.

Lance Stroll wants the Spa-Francorchamps track to be modified

Lance Stroll was heavily opinionated and saddened by the loss of the young Dutch driver as he made the following comments after the incident;

“We’ll be playing with fire in a couple of weeks’ time. Again, it’s not just us, the F2 kids, F3 kids, everyone that goes through that corner weekly. Even if it’s dry, and someone loses their car, it’s a blind corner; you hit the wall and come back into the middle of the track. A car comes at you at 300 plus kilometres an hour – you’re toast”

He believes that even though they talk about it amongst the drivers in the meetings, it seldom goes any further, and no action is taken. 

Many fans urge Formula One and the FIA to intervene and ensure that no more young lives are lost due to this sport.

Navneeth Menon

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