Verstappen: “Totally unnecessary” to restart Spa race that claimed life of van ‘t Hoff

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Verstappen Criticizes Restart of Spa Race Following van ‘t Hoff’s Tragic Death

During the recent race at Spa, tragedy struck as 18-year-old rising talent van ‘t Hoff from the Dutch team MP F1 Flow lost his life in a devastating accident. The incident occurred on the Kemmel straight amidst heavy rain, where van ‘t Hoff’s car crashed and was subsequently hit by another competitor. Due to the excessive spray caused by the downpour and the formidable Raidillon corner, the competitor couldn’t see van ‘t Hoff’s vehicle.

This incident has reignited concerns about the future of the Eau Rouge and Raidillon complex, as it raises uncomfortable questions four years after Anthoine Hubert’s fatal accident during the 2019 F2 round at Spa. Lance Stroll from Aston Martin, among other drivers, has expressed the need for modifications to the corner and its blind exit.

Moreover, the accident highlights the ongoing issue of racing in wet conditions with single-seaters, as the open wheels generate significant amounts of spray, impairing visibility irrespective of the track or corner configuration.

The Formula Regional Europe by Alpine race was halted due to a previous incident, and the decision was made to restart it with only one lap remaining. Max Verstappen, speaking at the press conference during the Austrian Grand Prix, expressed his belief that blaming the track was too simplistic. Instead, he questioned why the race was restarted under such treacherous conditions.

Verstappen conveyed his condolences to the entire family and the MP team in an interview with Dutch broadcaster Viaplay, stating, “It’s incredibly sad. We need to examine how we can improve. I saw some footage from the race, and the conditions were extremely wet. It was entirely unnecessary to restart the race in that state.”

He further explained, “On a restart with so much water and spray, visibility is virtually nonexistent. Those at the back have nothing to lose, so they push to the limit. Unfortunately, this leads to accidents that should never occur. We must find solutions to improve visibility and prioritize the safety of the cars. It’s an immensely tragic situation.”

With the Belgian Grand Prix scheduled at Spa in three weeks, Formula 1 has been collaborating with the FIA to explore ways to reduce the spray generated by cars. Mercedes and McLaren will conduct the initial trial of F1’s new wet weather wheel arches at Silverstone on July 13.

To read more about this topic, see:

  • FIA to conduct testing of wet weather F1 wheel arches at Silverstone
  • Stroll warns against ignoring changes to Spa following van ‘t Hoff’s death

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about race restart

Q: What happened during the Spa race that led to criticism from Verstappen?

A: During the Spa race, there was a tragic accident where 18-year-old racer van ‘t Hoff lost his life. He crashed in heavy rain on the Kemmel straight and was hit by another competitor who couldn’t see his car due to excessive spray. Verstappen criticized the decision to restart the race under such dangerous conditions, highlighting the lack of visibility and the potential for accidents in wet conditions.

Q: Why are there concerns about the future of the Eau Rouge and Raidillon complex?

A: The tragic incident at Spa raised concerns about the future of the Eau Rouge and Raidillon complex. These concerns were heightened because of a previous fatal accident involving Anthoine Hubert in 2019. Drivers, including Lance Stroll, have called for changes to the corner and its blind exit to improve safety and prevent similar accidents in the future.

Q: What is the issue with racing in wet conditions and open-wheel cars?

A: Racing in wet conditions with open-wheel cars poses visibility challenges due to the significant amount of spray generated by the open wheels. This spray impairs visibility for drivers, increasing the risk of accidents. The incident at Spa highlighted this problem, emphasizing the need to find solutions to improve visibility and ensure the safety of drivers in such conditions.

Q: What is Max Verstappen’s perspective on the race restart?

A: Max Verstappen expressed his belief that it was unnecessary to restart the race at Spa under the extremely wet conditions. He argued that the restart posed a significant risk because of the reduced visibility caused by the water and spray. Verstappen stressed the need to find solutions to improve visibility and prioritize the safety of the cars, expressing sadness over the tragic outcome of the race.

Q: What steps are being taken to address the spray issue in Formula 1?

A: Formula 1, in collaboration with the FIA, is actively working on solutions to reduce the spray generated by cars in wet conditions. Mercedes and McLaren are conducting a trial of F1’s new wet weather wheel arches at Silverstone to evaluate their effectiveness in mitigating the spray. This initiative aims to enhance visibility and improve safety for drivers during races affected by rain.

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F1Fan123 July 3, 2023 - 8:17 am

verstappen is right its totally unnecessary to restart the race in those conditions! its so sad to hear about the accident why didnt they think about the spray and visibility? #safetyfirst

RacingEnthusiast July 3, 2023 - 9:33 pm

omg that’s just tragic! what a horrible accident at spa! i hope they make changes to that corner, its so dangerous! the drivers need to see where they’re going! #prayforsafety

RaceTrackNews July 3, 2023 - 9:52 pm

Spa has seen too many accidents lately, it’s becoming a dangerous place. the FIA and F1 need to take action and make the necessary changes. safety should always be the top priority! #safetyconcerns

CarLover77 July 4, 2023 - 1:46 am

racing in the rain is always risky, especially with those open-wheel cars! the spray makes it impossible to see anything. they need to find a way to fix this issue and make it safer for the drivers. #wetconditions


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