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Formula 1 Austrian GP

Verstappen: "Totally unnecessary" to restart Spa race that claimed life of van 't Hoff

Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen feels it was "totally unnecessary" to restart the wet Formula Regional race at Spa that claimed the life of fellow Dutchman Dilano van 't Hoff.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, in the Sprint Press Conference

Van 't Hoff, an 18-year-old talent racing for Dutch team MP Motorsport, was killed when he crashed on the Kemmel straight in heavy rain and was then hit laterally by a competitor, who was unable to see van 't Hoff's car due to the enormous amount of spray on the straight following the fearsome Raidillon corner.

Four years on from Anthoine Hubert's fatal accident at the 2019 F2 round at Spa, the tragedy raised new, uncomfortable questions on the future of the Eau Rouge and Raidillon complex, with Aston Martin's Lance Stroll one of the drivers saying the corner and its blind exit should be changed.

But it also brought the problem of racing single-seaters in the rain back into focus as open wheels generate vast amounts of spray that limits visibility, regardless of the circuit or corner combination.

The Formula Regional Europe by Alpine race was restarted with one lap to go after a safety car period for a previous incident.

In the Saturday press conference at the Austrian Grand Prix Verstappen said "it's easy to blame the track" and instead felt questions must be asked about why the race was restarted at all in those conditions.

"It's hugely sad, of course, my condolences to the entire family and to the MP team," Verstappen later told Dutch broadcaster Viaplay.

"We have to look at what we can improve. I saw some images from the race and it was very wet, so I think it was totally unnecessary to restart that race.

Dilano Van 't Hof

Dilano Van 't Hof

"You know that on a restart with so much water and spray, you don't see anything.

"People in the back have nothing to lose, so they're going flat out and then you get that kind of accident that shouldn't happen.

"We have to find solutions. We have to look at how we can improve the spray and we always have to keep looking at the safety of the cars, but at the moment it's just enormously sad."

F1, which will visit Spa in three weeks for the Belgian Grand Prix, has meanwhile been working with the FIA on solutions to reduce the amount of spray cars generate.

Mercedes and McLaren will conduct a first trial of F1's new wet weather wheel arches, which will take place at Silverstone on July 13.

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