Anthoine Hubert Formula 2 death: Why the motorsport ‘family’ races on
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By Andrew Benson
Chief F1 writer at Spa-Francorchamps
The mishap that killed Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert on Saturday serves as a reminder of this fact that motor racing can never be safe.
It had, reluctantly, throw a pall over the Grand Prix weekend.
As security has improved over time, accidents like this, and also their outcomes, have become increasingly infrequent. But any time a human being straps himself into races and a projectile tightly of well over 100mph, they’re taking a risk that is very significant.
This afternoon would otherwise have been full of talk with Ferrari’s front-row lock-out, whether they could finally deliver a triumph this year, and so on, but folks who work in Formula 1 know a terrible accident if they see a person, and the response to this one was instant.
As F1 drivers do, at the start of the F2 race world champion Lewis Hamilton conducted tv viewing and was peeking.
As the accident unfolded in all its horrific violence, he explained:”Oh wow. Hope that child’s good. Wow. That’s frightening.”
He rubbed at his brow, his face a mask of concern, walked off, not saying another word.
At Red Bull Alexander Albon held his news conference together with the written media , the race on a tv screen behind him.
Journalists inhaled in terror at what they saw. Albon watched what was happening, turned around, and explained nothing. Then grabbed his hands to signify to his press handler that the session was finished.
Immediately, though there was no confirmation of the seriousness of the crash, the paddock in Spa flew into silence. People’s faces set. Work was undertaken with stoicism and quiet contemplation. Motor racing is a tough, brutal company, in several of ways, however, the sport also considers itself a family, and it seldom feels sometimes in this way.
These moments confront drivers that are racing at a immediate and very visceral sense together with the dangers of the profession they chose because they adore it. The risk they choose is an intrinsic part of the love, however difficult that might be for some to understand.
Obviously they do not wish to be injured, or worse, but the fact they could be adds an extra frisson to an action that rewards its participants together with feelings which simply cannot be experienced anywhere else.
The combination of equilibrium, bravery, skill, judgement and delight that comes from controlling a racing car on the edge of adhesion at high speed, and attempting to beat everyone else while doing this , is what makes racing drivers stand out from other people, making it distinct from most other sports
It is also part of this appeal to those folks who view it. They don’t wish to see people hurt , but they value what the drivers are doing, what it requires of them, and what’s at stake.
Not for nothing did Hemingway say:”There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are just games”
As Hamilton stated:”If a single one of you watching and enjoying this game think for another what we do is secure, you’re hugely confused. All these drivers set their life online whenever they hit on the trail and people will need to love that in a significant way as it isn’t appreciated enough. Not from the fans nor some of the people.
“Anthoine is a hero so far as I am concerned, for carrying the threat he didn’t pursue his dreams. I am so sad this has happened. Let’s lift him up and remember him.”
Hubert is the very first man to die at a race sanctioned by international governing body the FIA because F1 driver Jules Bianchi, that died the next July and lasted horrible head injuries in a crash during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix as a consequence of an injury.
The last driver was Britain’s Justin Wilson – hit on the head by debris during an IndyCar race .
Since that time, there have been several serious accidents, but no fatalities, that will be a testament to the ongoing work around the world.
There will be a complete investigation into this collision. It will be considered if the’halo’ head-protection device, which was released last year as a result of Bianchi’s injury, did its task. The forces required will be assessed. Lessons will be learned, and modifications made. But in some cases, there isn’t much to be carried out. The human body can only take a long time, which explains the chance of motorsport cannot be eradicated.
Spa-Francorchamps, in which this accident happened, is among the world’s greatest, most historic, fastest, most dangerous, most challenging and, yes race monitors. The drivers look to races there more than people at any but a handful of circuits around the globe. But they don’t do it. They do it they are currently taking.
On Saturday night, over dinner with friends and coworkers, the 20 F1 drivers contemplated the loss of a man who a few of them understood, some of them had raced contrary, and of whom some were only aware as someone who might very well, one day soon, become among these.
Their normal pre-race preparations, on Sunday, were performed with sobriety, severity and an iron determination to carry on with business as usual.
Subsequently at 3.10pm local timethey watched five red lights come on one by one and then move out, and within a few moments they raced nose to tail, either side by side at near 200mph within the specific place where, less than 24 hours earlier, a colleague paid the ultimate price.
Brings awful lows incredible highs and lows, according to Saturday to them. The mixture of everything is – whatever you might think about it – that which makes it thrillingly, awfully, terribly special.
They are not as individuals.
Get reacquainted with a Dragon that’awakens in people’
Analysis and comment from the BBC’s chief Formula 1 writer.
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