Motorsport in the Netherlands has experienced a considerable boom in popularity over the past half decade, mostly down to the antics of young upstart Max Verstappen. But since 2015, more and more talent has come through the system with intentions of following the current Formula 1 world championship leader to global success. Step forward Dilano van’t Hoff, the next Dutch superstar.
By Matt Jeffray
After making the step up to car racing in 2021, Van’t Hoff has been on an immense run – finishing second overall in the UAE Formula 4 championship, missing out on glory by just one point to Enzo Trulli. And now the 17-year-old stands on the precipice of claiming the Spanish F4 title in his rookie year, people are starting to take note. He explained how his switch from karts to cars has been so far.
“I’ve just been trying to learn as quickly as I can and trying to get used to car racing. And I’d say it’s been pretty good so far!”, he told F1 Feeder Series.
“I’ve always been quite a neat driver in karting, sometimes maybe too neat in terms of driving style. But it seems to pay off well in cars, so I haven’t had to change too much, so it’s just a case of getting used to the new car.
“I only had one test before the UAE championship in Dubai and then I was straight into racing, so it wasn’t ideal, but I managed.”
Scoring his sixth win of the season in Valencia this past weekend, Van’t Hoff now takes a 93-point lead into the final two race meetings at Jerez and Barcelona over Sebastian Øgaard. The MP Motorsport protégé considered his whole season of consistency to be the main highlight for him in 2021, as well as shedding light on how the team have been helping him.
“I can’t say I have a particular highlight of the season so far, but I’ve just been as consistent as I can in every single race. We’ve had some ups and downs, but we’ve mainly been consistent at every race weekend so far.
“The team has helped me a lot and made me learn and realise a lot of things with the car. So, for now I’ll just keep learning and try and stay with them.”
The fast-paced nature of racing at this level will always lead to questions for next year, especially when you’re having a successful campaign. With the ever-present urgency to push young talent into F1 as soon as possible, these drivers don’t have time to waste. Dilano van’t Hoff is no exception, and the young Dutch racer believes he can make the step up to FIA F3 next year if he wraps up the Spanish F4 title over the coming weeks, but that’s not before sampling F3 Asia first.
“Unfortunately, it’s a bit complicated. I’m thinking of doing F3 Asia next year and then if that goes well, I want to see if I can jump into an FIA F3 car for 2022. But that would be a perfect circumstance.
“The good thing with F3 Asia is the number of experienced drivers that I can learn from. I want to try and see if I can compete with them. If I can then I’ll try and take the next step to F3, but if not then I’ll keep learning and try later.”
With the recent success of drivers like Nyck de Vries and Max Verstappen, Dutch motorsport has been forced to the forefront of the watching consciousness as of late, but Van’t Hoff is solely focused on creating his own legacy. And with his move to MP Motorsport, he speaks on how this change was pivotal to him racing in Spain this year.
“I mean, what Max is doing is great but I’m trying not to look too much at what they’re doing. I’m just trying to stay focused on what I’m currently doing and maybe try and beat them one day!
“Aside from using the same chassis as the UAE championship, we were already in discussions with MP Motorsport, so we chose the Spanish championship as my next step.”
The Spanish F4 Championship resumes on the weekend of the 2nd of October at Circuito de Jerez.
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