Stroll wants changes to Spa: 'We put our lives on the line'

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Lance Stroll has called for changes to Spa's Raidillon corner after tragedy struck on Saturday at the venue in a Formula Regional event.

Eighteen-year-old Dutch hopeful Dilano van 't Hoff was killed when he lost control of his car on the rain-soaked track and was hit broadside by another driver in a crash that was similar to the accident that claimed the life of F2 driver Anthoine Hubert at the same spot in 2019.

Last year, in the wake of that tragedy, Spa-Francorchamps completed significant changes to its Eau Rouge/Raidillon complex. While the layout remained unchanged, a vast run-off area was added on the left of the uphill sweep to improve safety and reduce the chances of a car hitting the barriers and rebounding in the middle of the track.

It's also worth noting that Saturday's drama occurred at the beginning of the Kemmel straight and unfolded in drastically poor circumstances, with a cloud of spray massively reducing drivers' visibility. It appeared that van 't Hoff lost control of his car amid the chaos triggered by a driver who had just spun at the top of Raidillon.

Regardless, Stroll argued that the loss of two young racers in the past four years offered a compelling reason to change Spa's landmark corner.

"The story of the day is not the race," said Stroll after Saturday's F1 sprint event in Austria. "We lost a young driver in Spa today, and my thoughts are with him and his family.

"It's not fair what happened, and that corner needs to be looked at and changed because we've lost two young talents in like five years. It needs to be changed, just that corner. We're going to go there in a few weeks.

"It's horrible what happened today, and we lost a member of the racing family. We seriously need to think about what to do that that corner, because it's never fun going through there.

"Every time we go through there, we put our lives on the line. And today we saw something bad happen, and it's not right."

Stroll said that Spa's dangers have been discussed by the GPDA in the past, only to be brushed aside.

"We discussed it, but then it blows over. It needs to be changed," he added.

"They need to do something. We'll be playing with fire in a couple of weeks' time. Again. And not just us, the F2 kids, F3 kids, everyone that goes through that corner every week.

"Even if it's dry, and someone loses their car, it's a blind corner, you hit the wall and come back into the middle of the track. A car comes at you at 300 plus kilometres an hour, you're toast."

Teenage Formula Regional racer Dilano van 't Hoff was killed at Spa on Saturday.

Alpine's Pierre Gasly, a close friend of the late Anthoine Hubert, hoped that a thorough investigation into van 't Hoof's death would be conducted.

"I think we're all shocked and extremely sad with what's happened," said Gasly.

"And it reminds us of some obviously very sad times, with what happened with Anthoine a couple of years ago. It just seems wrong, like we should never be in such positions of losing young talents.

"So it clearly needs a review of what's happened exactly, and making sure these scenarios never happen in the future. Because I think it's enough, losing some talent in such a fashion, and it's obviously extremely sad.

"I really hope all the people involved in safety and looking after the safety of all the drivers are going to take some actions, because it's not the first time, and it should have never taken place."

Stroll's Aston Martin teammate Fernando Alonso believed that the wet track and poor visibility had been a factor in van 't Hoff's unfortunate crash.

"I don't know, really, if it's the track or it's just the speed, and the visibility," said the Spaniard.

"I think the biggest thing is the visibility. It's not that we are not able to drive in wet conditions, when we see all these red flags, delays and the fans they get frustrated at home and things like that.

"This is the way single-seaters now work, and the visibility is so poor that we cannot drive on certain circuits at certain speeds.

"So I don't know if it's a problem of Spa itself. I guess Monza, if you find a car in the middle of the straight, you will not see it.

"So it's just that poor visibility. And that's something that we cannot afford it again what happened today. It has to be the last time that happens."

Alonso said that he would have no issues if Spa eventually lost its legendary Raidillon.

"Yeah, of course. No one wants to see any accident that is problematic or dangerous," he said.

"As I said, I think there are street circuits, if you crash in Baku, you will be always on the track. It will put you back on track, but you are at 120kph and the visibility is okay. When you are at 300, you cannot see anything."

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