The tragic loss of van ’t Hoff, an 18-year-old driver from MP F1 Flow, during the Formula Regional European by Alpine Championship race at Spa has resurfaced concerns about the venue. The wet-weather race last weekend was the scene of a fatal accident on the Kemmel Straight, following the Eau Rouge and Raidillon sequence, ominously similar to the 2019 crash that claimed FIA F2 driver Anthoine Hubert’s life.
After Hubert’s fatal incident, measures were taken to enhance safety, including the expansion of run-off areas, the construction of gravel traps, and the modification of barriers. In light of recent events, the McLaren and Mercedes F1 teams are exploring mudguard-style arches after the British GP to boost visibility in wet conditions.
Lewis Hamilton, seven-time world champion, speaking at Silverstone, underscored the need for further modifications at Spa in the wake of the two fatalities. Despite the tragic incidents, he expressed his faith in the FIA’s commitment to safety advancements, citing the implementation of safety measures such as the halo device.
Reacting to the accidents involving van ’t Hoff and Hubert, Hamilton said, “It’s heart-wrenching to lose two young talents in quick succession. But, I place my faith in the FIA and their continued efforts for safety. I am confident that they will be investigating the Eau Rouge incident thoroughly to identify possible enhancements.”
Hamilton emphasized that the sport must take decisive action to improve visibility in rain-affected races, especially in tracks with challenging elevation changes like Spa. He stressed, “We must enact changes. It’s clear, you’re cresting a hill, and in adverse weather, visibility is minimal. Given this has happened twice now, action is imperative.”
Max Verstappen, Hamilton’s championship rival, criticized the decision to resume the FRECA race in the wet conditions, calling it “totally unnecessary”. Furthermore, Lance Stroll from Aston Martin suggested modifications to the Eau Rouge and Raidillon complex, noting the risk drivers face navigating the “blind” section.
Echoing similar sentiments, Alpine driver Esteban Ocon said, “There must be a comprehensive review of the incident. It’s a devastating loss for motorsport. Visibility was a critical factor in the race. Most of us are driving blind in those moments, so I trust that the FIA will be looking into ways to improve this. It’s crucial that we don’t wait for harsh lessons to drive change.”
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Spa track safety improvements
Who was the driver that lost his life at the Formula Regional European by Alpine Championship race?
The driver was an 18-year-old from MP F1 Flow named van ’t Hoff.
Where did the fatal crash happen?
The fatal crash occurred at Spa, on the Kemmel Straight, following the Eau Rouge and Raidillon sequence.
What safety improvements were implemented after the 2019 fatal crash?
After the 2019 fatal incident involving Anthoine Hubert, run-off areas were extended, gravel traps were built, and barriers were adjusted.
What are the McLaren and Mercedes F1 teams planning to test?
The McLaren and Mercedes F1 teams are planning to test mudguard-style arches after the British GP, aiming to enhance visibility in wet conditions.
What did Lewis Hamilton say about the recent fatal incidents?
Hamilton expressed his sorrow over losing two young drivers in a short period. He also stated his trust in the FIA’s commitment to safety. He believes that further safety changes must be implemented at Spa and mentioned the issue of visibility when coming over a hill in bad weather conditions.
What are some other drivers’ views on the incidents?
Max Verstappen criticized the decision to restart the FRECA race in the wet conditions. Lance Stroll suggested modifications to the “blind” Eau Rouge and Raidillon complex, and Esteban Ocon stressed the need for a comprehensive review of the incident and improvements in visibility.