"Motorsport is dangerous" - that's what's on each of the little plastic cards that everyone who works in the Formula 1 environment has hanging around his neck as a badge. Nevertheless, this aspect is always forgotten, because serious accidents have become increasingly rare in the face of steadily improving security measures. Most of the current young riders have not even witnessed the recent accident of Jules Bianchi in Suzuka 2014 close up. With the exception of Charles Leclerc, who was friends with Bianchi.
Now on Saturday evening in Spa-Francorchamps suddenly another accident with fatal outcome happened. And the junior drivers from Formula 2 and from Formula 3 were visibly stunned in their paddock - many of them even younger than the 22-year-old Anthoine Hubert, who died in his car. The drivers then expressed their concern and sympathy in the social media. This is very fast, the real work-up will take longer.
Especially good with Giuliano Alesi. The son of former Formula 1 driver Jean Alesi stood at times empty-handed in a corner of the paddock. He too was involved in the accident. Due to a puncture the 19-year-old was relatively slow and not quite controlled on the way. Anthoine Hubert had to dodge. He turned, slammed into the crash barriers and hit the track back. Almost at a standstill, racing behind him Juan Manuel Correa raced with speed 270 in the side of his Formula 2 racer. Hubert had no chance of survival. He succumbed to his injuries at the track.
5 picturesAccident in Formula 2: Death on the racetrack
" We're going for a race today"
The shock also hit the experienced pilots. Lewis Hamilton, who was watching a TV interview when he saw the terrible accident pictures on a monitor, immediately realized that this was not a harmless accident. He left very quickly without a word. Later, however, he found clear words: "If anyone who watches us and enjoys it thinks that what we do is safe, he is subject to a tremendous fallacy," wrote the Formula 1 world champion on Instagram. All drivers would risk their lives as soon as they hit the track. Anthoine was a "hero" because he took the risk to pursue his dream.
Sebastian Vettel also responded clearly - to the request for a comment. But no one in the Formula 1 paddock demanded a public rejection of the Grand Prix - even if the Formula 2 canceled their Sunday race "out of respect for Hubert". "Today we drive a race," said a few hours before the Formula 1 start on the official Twitter account of the racing series. "We do it with heavy hearts and carry the memory of Anthoine in us."
We do so with the heaviest of hearts, and we carry the memory of Anthoine throughout.
Just like it was Anthoine, racing is our passion and our dream. It defines us.
So today we race for Anthoine.
And today, and always, we honor him. pic.twitter.com/46MO41C6aT
Hubert, GP3 Champion of 2018, already had a lot of relationships with Formula 1. For example, as an official Renault junior driver, through the sponsor BWT, who also finances the Racing Point Team. As well as by the Mercedes daughter HWA, which carries out the employment of the Arden team, for which the Frenchman drove. Nevertheless, no one expected a cancellation of the race. For commercial reasons, for one. But also because in these situations the racer mentality comes to fruition.
Sure is not safe
Motorsport is dangerous - it has always been and always will be. Exactly 39 years ago, on September 1, 1985, Stefan Bellof died in Spa - not 300 meters from where Anthoine Hubert died. Not in a formula car but in a Porsche in the sports car world championship.
Since then, but especially since the tragic Imola weekend in 1994 with the fatal accidents of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna, the cars in all categories and also the routes have become increasingly safer: stronger chassis, the Halo head protection, larger run-out zones. Very often that helped. There were countless accidents that went off lightly. But when several unfortunate factors come together, it does not help anymore. Then the forces acting on the human body are too great.
Most drivers are aware of this. If you do not know it yet, you will have to learn it if you want to keep racing. The risk for the pilots is also at least a part of the fascination with their sport. The constant movement in the border area, the navigation at the absolute limit of vehicle control. Racing drivers, especially those who make it into Formula 1, are extreme athletes. And that's why they get back into the car this afternoon. Maybe in the first few laps with a short side glance into the curve where her colleague died yesterday. When the racing situation leaves the time for it.