Four years after Anthoine Hubert’s fatal accident, another young driver has died on the legendary circuit in Spa-Francorchamps. The death of just 18-year-old Dilano van’t Hoff shocked the motorsport world on Saturday.
In the middle of the preparations for the sprint race in Spielberg, Austria, compatriot Max Verstappen found out about van’t Hoff’s death. The two-time Formula 1 world champion from the Netherlands wrote on Instagram that he was “extremely sad”. “My deepest sympathy to Dilano’s family and friends,” posted Mercedes replacement driver Mick Schumacher.
What exactly happened in the second race of the Formula Regional junior series on the demanding Grand Prix circuit in the Ardennes was initially unclear. Live images only showed how an accident occurred on a rain-soaked track with poor visibility and a lot of spray because a driver lost control of his car. According to the Dutch newspaper “AD”, van’t Hoff had turned his car. He was then said to have been hit by another car.
Amateur footage on YouTube showed the drama on the Kemmel straight on a wet road. First the German Tim Tramnitz crashed into the crash barrier. Shortly thereafter, van’t Hoff’s car came to a standstill in the middle of the track after spinning across the direction of travel. Another driver could no longer avoid the car and crashed head-on into the 18-year-old’s car at the height of the cockpit. Rescue workers quickly rushed to the scene, but were unable to provide any decisive help.
“We are devastated by the loss of one of our greatest Dutch talents who has brought so much energy to our team over the years he has been racing with us,” tweeted van’t Hoff’s Team MP Motorsport. He has driven for the Dutch racing team since his debut in 2021. In the same year he had won the Spanish Formula 4. Dilano van’ Hoff would have been 19 on July 26.
“Dilano died chasing his dream of reaching the pinnacle of motorsport. Along with the entire motorsport community, our thoughts are with his family and loved ones,” tweeted Formula 1 Managing Director Stefano Domenicali. “We would like to express our sincere condolences to the family, the team and friends,” said a statement from the racing series, which ultimately ran its program in Spielberg as usual. The International Automobile Federation and the Ferrari Formula 1 team had previously also expressed their condolences.
In Styria, where Verstappen had also secured pole for the sprint race, the terrible news spread quickly. “It is an extremely sad day for the entire motorsport family and my thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends,” tweeted Spanish Ferrari star Carlos Sainz. Before the Formula 2 race, teams, drivers and spectators commemorated the fatally injured teenager with a minute’s silence. “Driving for you today,” wrote Formula 1 driver Lando Norris before the premier class sprint.
At the end of this month, Formula 1 will also return to Spa-Francorchamps. The course is legendary, it is the longest on the racing calendar. The 7.004 kilometers up and down are demanding and dangerous. Hubert had an accident on August 31, 2019, almost at the same place as van’t Hoff. A competitor crashed into the Frenchman’s car with full force after it spun. Hubert died, as did van’t Hoff.