Max Verstappen said that when Dilano van ‘t Hoff’s sister after his tragic death messaged to tell him he was his “great role model”, that “did something to me” as the dangers of racing hit home.
The Dutch racing prodigy sadly lost his life at Spa-Francorchamps in July as a result of a Formula Regional European Championship multi-car crash, with Aston Martin F1 driver Lance Stroll calling for changes to be made to the circuit in an emotional interview following the upsetting incident.
Formula 1 would visit the venue a few weeks later, with the Belgian Grand Prix marking the final stop before the summer break on the F1 2023 calendar.
Dilano van ‘t Hoff’s sister reaches out to Max Verstappen
Verstappen was one of many within the world of Formula 1 to put out a social media message in respect to Van ‘t Hoff, Verstappen’s fellow Dutchman, but the World Championship leader discussed how it was a reply to that message from Van ‘t Hoff’s sister which really hit him hard.
That would make him think of his family, and how they would react if it was him involved in a fatal racing accident.
Put to him in an interview for the Formule 1 magazine that Van ‘t Hoff’s incident makes parents question whether they should let their children get into karting, Verstappen replied: “Those thoughts are very logical, but your child could also get hit by a bike in Amsterdam.
“Risks are part of life or you have to put yourself in a plaster cast and stay at home.
“But of course you dwell on it. Me too, yes. When the news of Dilano’s accident came out, I had sent out a message via social media. Moments later, I saw that Dilano’s sister had responded under my post: ‘Max, you were his great role model. Thanks for this post.’ That response did something to me.
“Then I immediately think of my family. Then you think: ‘Sh*t, if this had happened to me, they would have’… Then you do think: F*ck.”
Verstappen admitted that while thoughts on the very dangerous consequences of motorsport do play a part in his mindset these days, in his junior racing career, such thoughts were not there.
Asked if he deals with the risks differently now than before, Verstappen said: “I don’t know, but your thought process is different.
“I know how I was when I drove Formula 3. There was no fear. I don’t have that now either, but I do think more about the possible consequences of my actions. What could happen if…
“Back then you never thought about that, you drove purely on instinct. I’m not talking about Dilano now, because he was hit by someone else, but in general you take more wild risks as a junior driver than later in life.”
Verstappen is closing in on his third World Championship title in a row, having taken 10 wins from 12 in the first part of the F1 2023 campaign.