FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has given an emotional speech at the funeral of racing driver Dilano van ‘t Hoff.
18-year-old Dutch racing driver Dilano van ‘t Hoff was killed in an accident in the closing stages of last week’s round of the FRECA championship at a wet and miserable Spa-Francorchamps.
Van ‘t Hoff ended up sideways across the racing line in the spray along the high-speed Kemmel Straight, where he was struck in a heavy impact from the unsighted Adam Fitzgerald – the Irish driver continues to recover physically from the crash.
Mohammed Ben Sulayem appears at funeral of Dilano van ‘t Hoff
The funeral of the fallen racing driver was held on Tuesday at a park on the edge of Dutch town Ridderkerk, where representatives from Forza and MP Motorsport recounted their experiences of racing with the young Dutchman.
His girlfriend Katrina Coronell broke down in tears as she spoke at length of her love for her boyfriend, while the ceremony was broken up by video highlights from van ‘t Hoff’s time racing in karting and in Formula 4 – where he won the Spanish championship in 2021.
Van ‘t Hoff’s black coffin was adorned with his number 17, propped upon a set of Pirelli tyres, with his helmet standing proudly atop, with a huge crowd gathered to say goodbye.
One of the speakers was FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who recounted his own experience of losing his own son in a road accident earlier this year, as he praised van ‘t Hoff’s family for giving the racer all their belief and encouragement.
“I went through this moment, four months ago,” he said.
“It’s unfair for the parents to bury their own children and I buried my own youngest son. So it’s definitely emotional for all of us.
“But today, we gather here to bid farewell to Dilano, a talented young driver, who has left a mark on our hearts and the history of our sport.
“Dilano’s journey up the motorsport ranks was rapid, from karting to F4 series in the United Arab Emirates and then in Spain, where he showcased his remarkable talent and determination.
“Behind Dilano’s many achievements, we find the unwavering support and guidance of his loving parents, Mr. And Mrs. Van ‘t Hoff, and his sister – your dedication and belief in Dilano’s dreams have been instrumental in his success.
“Your commitment to his aspiration will forever be remembered and cherished.
“As we bid farewell to Dilano, let us remember him, not only as a gifted driver, but also as a young man who embodies the true spirit of motorsport – his tenacity, his resilience, and his passion will continue to inspire generations to come.
Absolutely heartbroken watching the funeral of Dilano van 't Hoff.
Teammates from MP Motorsport carried him from the ceremony to the tune of Queen's We Are the Champions.
— Thomas Maher (@thomasmaheronf1) July 11, 2023
“To the Van ‘t Hoff family, we extend our deepest condolences and stand with you during this difficult time.
“May the memories you shared with Dilano provide solace and strength in the days ahead, Dilano van ‘t Hoff was a testament to the extraordinary strength that resides within the next generation of motorsport.
“Rest in peace, Dilano, your spirit will forever be part of the FIA family.
“Today, we gather here to bid farewell to Dilano van ‘t Hoff, a talented young driver who has left a mark on our hearts and also those of sport.
“So we will only say to him not just goodbye… as I said to you, I have been through this so I’m speechless. I came here as a father mainly, not as a sportsman.
“He will be remembered, and I again would say thanks to the family. God be with you and may his soul rest in peace. Thank you.”
PlanetF1.com would like to express our commiserations to the family, friends, and colleagues of Dilano van ‘t Hoff. May he rest in peace.