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Max Verstappen

Verstappen: Jeddah "more dangerous" than Spa amid safety concerns

The World Champion was speaking after the death of Dilano van 't Hoff at Spa amid calls for the circuit to change.

Max Verstappen believes the Jeddah Formula 1 circuit is "more dangerous" than Belgian Grand Prix venue Spa-Francorchamps amid calls for change after the death of Dilano van 't Hoff.

On Saturday during a Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine (FRECA) race, Dutch teenager van 't Hoff crashed on the Kemmel Straight during a last lap restart in wet conditions and was hit by another car, succumbing to his injuries

It is the second death of a junior driver at Spa in under four years after Anthoine Hubert was killed in a 2019 Formula 2 race, although the van 't Hoff accident occurred further down the straight than Hubert's, which was at the top of Eau Rogue and Raidillon.

Increased run-off was added to the famed corner sequence with walls being pushed back to allow cars more space to avoid bouncing back onto the racing line at the top of the hill and in the line of unsighted drivers cresting it.

Lance Stroll said F1 would be "playing with fire" if changes were not looked into ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of July.

And Verstappen believes that while further changes can be made to the complex at Spa, a section of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit is more dangerous.

Verstappen's Jeddah concerns

"For sure, it is quite a dangerous corner but we're also going to Jeddah in Sector 1 and that, for me, is probably more dangerous," Verstappen explained to media including RacingNews365.

"I’m happy that nothing has happened yet in that sector because going through [Turns] 6, 7, 8, if you have a shunt there that can be the same – it's all blind, you don't know what's coming.

"I remember at the beginning of the year there, I got upset with my engineer because I impeded Lando [Norris] and I know how that feels.

"It’s super dangerous when these things happen.

"For sure Eau Rouge, going up, it is blind, but of course this accident happened later.

"The only thing that maybe can be improved there is to make more space in terms of trying to move the barriers more out, because at the moment, it looks like as soon as you crash, you hit the barrier, you bounce back onto the track quite easily.

"With that scenario, where there is almost no visibility, a lot of water, and that is of course a big issue. In the dry, normally, it's a bit better."

Always a dangerous corner

After Hubert's accident, construction work at Spa opened up the run-off to the left-hand side of the top of the hill, allowing any car who does go wide the ability to not bounce back on the racing line, but Verstappen feels the corner will "always be dangerous."

"The changes they made in Spa, they definitely opened it up a lot more but it will always be a dangerous corner," he said.

"But we are going to a lot of tracks where there are dangerous corners, where up until probably there is an accident, you won't say anything.

"Now of course it gets brought up, but I feel it's a bit unfair to just blame it on the track, because I think in the first place you have to look into why did they restart. It's a big championship, a lot of cars.

"They are up and coming talents, they probably risk a bit more, because they want to show every race that they are the best driver out there. And with that visibility, it was just impossible to see anything and I know, of course, from your mind when you're going there, you don't see anything.

"You’re like: 'Well, I guess the guy in front of me is flat so I'm flat. I just stay flat out.'

"That's exactly probably what happened there. The drivers are just staying flat because they didn't know there was a car in the wall and then another car in the wall later on.

"There are a lot of things that have to come together, what we have to improve."

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