Fan's tribute to Anthoine Hubert, Spa-Francorchamps, 2019

FIA begins investigation into Anthoine Hubert’s fatal crash

Formula 2

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The FIA has begun a formal investigation into the crash which claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert during yesterday’s Formula 2 feature race.

Hubert suffered fatal injuries in the crash in which his car sustained impacts with a barrier at the exit of Raidillon the car of rival Juan Manuel Correa. The race was abandoned and Sunday’s sprint race was also cancelled.

FIA race director Michael Masi confirmed the investigation into the crash had already begun.

“There’s an investigation [which] started yesterday and it will go from here,” he said. “The FIA with our technical department, our safety department, all of the various departments within the FIA, have commenced an investigation immediately.

“The FIA, together with the RACB, the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium, will work together with the authorities and the investigation will go from there.”

Masi indicated he will not comment further on the crash until the investigation has concluded.

The circumstances of the crash created an unprecedented situation which led to the cancellation of Sunday’s F2 sprint race, said Masi.

“It was a decision that was made jointly by the FIA as a whole together with the F2 promoter with the full support of the F1 Group,” he said.

“I don’t think there’s any obvious precedent,” he added. “You’ve got to look at everything on the circumstances.”

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44 comments on “FIA begins investigation into Anthoine Hubert’s fatal crash”

  1. The halo is more for the appearance of safety

    1. The halo was not designed as a cure all solution. We only have to look back to Spa 12 months ago to demonstrate when it is useful.

    2. I find it incredible that people use a fatal crash to continue arguing against safety features. While most of us are shocked and saddened by what happened yesterday, others seem to be asking for more of that.

      1. @uzsjgb, it comes across as deeply insulting and rather callous to be using Hubert’s death for this sort of cheap grandstanding – it gives the impression that the only reason he cares about Hubert being killed is because he wants to try and twist it somehow into fitting an unrelated rant that comes across as extremely disrespectful.

        1. I hope it is merely ignorance and immaturity by @carlosmedrano driving his comment.
          But I doubt it based on his other comments.

      2. @uzsjgb & anon – seconded.

    3. Gotta love ’em couch critics.

    4. @carlosmedrano
      For all we know the Halo keep Correa from serious head injuries.

      I suggest we let them work, perhaps some good will come of it.

    5. @carlosmedrano Seen that both monocoques failed I can’t argue against your statement. New car from Dallara, I’m sure the FIA and Dallara are going to up the standards on crash testing.

    6. This incident was where the driver cockpit was compromised in crash and that compromised structure had another high speed impact. This has nothing to do with Halo.

    7. One of the amateur videos of this crash shows a large piece of debris bouncing off the halo of a following car during this accident.

      1. It saved King and Galeal

        There are some pictures from Galeal’s car that was struck by a section of the suspension assembly

        1. Thanks for posting this – it shows the halo working exactly as it’s meant to.
          Apparently Medrano up there would rather Gelael had been hit in the head by a piece of car – maybe he considers that others should pay the price so that his aesthetic sensibilities aren’t offended by the halo changing the lines of the cars he was watching.

  2. Problem was He got bounched back into a path of a other driver. Tyre barriers are way to rigid to absorb the impact and push the car back where it came from.
    Maybe they should use techno barriers on to to absorb the impact and keep the car at the barrier.

    1. Exactly this. Especially in this corner, where the vision of what is going on ahead is obstructed by the terrain.

    2. Minor point, but it’s Techpro barrier. Techno barriers are what my parents struggle with when using a computer :)

      1. *Tecpro, without a ‘H’. Gah!

    3. Now we have halos, they could surely bring back tyre barriers as there’s much more head protection.

    4. @macleod he was projected but not back to the track, their collision took place in the run-off.

      Alesi lost the rear in eau rouge spun rejoining the track at raidillion at decreased speed, alesi lost his rear wing, maybe after clipping the barrier in the left or perhaps someone hit Alesi in avoidance. Boccolachi was just behind, maybe he too slowed down at the top of the hill. Hubert came up the hill to find a slow Alesi and perhaps boccolachi, he eventually crashed at the right, past raidillion, his car bounced back but stopped off track on the tarmac run-off. Correa was just behind Hubert he came up the hill like Hubert to find a slow Alesi and maybe boccolachi, in avoidance, he went to the right after raidillion, he went off-track to the tarmac run-off but unfortunately just a few tenths before Hubert had crashed and his car was on the run-off right past raidillion. Correa’s car T boned Hubert’s and both went on to hit the end of the barrier after radillion and both ended up on the middle of the track, Hubert whose cokpit failed and split on the right side leaving the right part of the cockpit attached to the drivetrain on one side and the survival cell on the other, was visibly exposed. Correa after the T bone and hitting the end of the barrier past raidillion was left just ahead of Hubert, upside down and he too on a failed chassis, his broke at the bulkhead which left his lower legs visibly exposed.

      I don’t feel like blaming the drivers for various reasons and I don’t know if the tubs withstood their rated capabilities but one can blame the track, love the track but it plays the bigger role in here. It’s hard to improve the run-off there as any change can lead to unforseen consequences however if the run off on the right was not 100% tarmac, Correa would have ended there, gravel would have protected anyone crashed on the right but like I said if correa had not gone to tbe right the unforseen consequence might hqve been him crashing to Alesi or boccolachi and maybe having a worse crash or pile up, can’t know for sure.

      1. *(..)correa would have not ended there(..)”

      2. @macleod he was projected but not back to the track, their collision took place in the run-off.

        that is right as it happen not on the track but runoff area but what i said is also correct as the pink car bounched of the barrier straight into the path of the other car (also in the runoff) that is what i saw from behind i was on the inner ring on top of radelion. Both cars exploded in several pieces on impact before the smoke took my view on the accident.
        On the screen i saw what you saw from the front.

      3. It looked to me like he’d “bounced” off the crash barriers and back onto the track and into the path of a chasing driver. Really in that situation the barriers should have been more “absorbent” so the car would have been stopped off the track instead of being bounced back onto the track. I don’t know how easy it is to achieve that. Maybe, if there were two layers of barriers used, so the first designed to “absorb” some of the momentum of the car by slowing it down, followed by a second layer that stops the car, then the car wouldn’t have bounced back onto the track and into the path of a chasing driver.

        1. @drycrust He wasn’t bounced back onto the track, He was hit by the second car while still in the runoff area.

          1. GT racer is right

      4. It was a sequence of events.
        And it was Boccolacci who slowed down for the recovering Alesi that Hubert tried to avoid and crashed into the barrier.
        GT Racer also pointed out that the the accident happened off track so the barrier did its job. It just so happened that Correa was finding that same part of the run off at the same moment.

  3. Of course my judgement is limited to scarce videos available online, I strongly believe that pushing down the throttle while driving off the track, when your fellow driver crashes into a wall, – is a big no-no.

    Now let’s see what FIA says.

    1. Braking suddenly when cars behind you are at their top speed and in very close proximity, can be just as dangerous.

    2. You should have left the first paragraph out of your comment, @dallein.

  4. This was a sad freak accident with a tragic outcome.
    But if we study the accident thoroughly, we can conclude that the accident didn’t have a single cause.
    Lets start with the fact that Hubert was not even directly behind Alesi, when Alesi went off.
    What happened was that Boccolachi, who was directly behind Alesi, lifted or braked to avoid hitting Alesi, which caught Hubert off guard forcing him to swerve to avoid Boccolachi. Now with his car, Hubert’s, already at high speed and at not yet settled from taking Raidillon, simply ran out of room and slammed the tyre barriers, which then spat his car back out into the part of Correa. Unfortunately, the angle just happened to be very bad and that exact moment.
    The structure of the car did absorb or dissipate a lot of the energy of the impact. But it is a rare chance of a car running into an almost motionless car at top speed.
    Now we don’t know if Hubert was already concussed from his first impact with the barrier, which would have left him prone during the second collision.
    They can’t do too much more to strengthen the cars, but they can re profile the crash barrier or use a slightly harder material.

    1. Driving in circles
      1st September 2019, 23:38

      Thank you for explaining that maybe they should go back to gravel trap so that cars are not shot back onto the racing track

      1. Gravel traps not always the best solution also

    2. I agree with reshaping the profile of the barriers. Instead of making the barrier harder, maybe making it softer would be better, so that the crashed car is kept off the track.

      1. the car was NOT on track.. the accident happened in the run off area.

    3. Correction, It was Boschung driving directly behind Alesi and in front of Hubert. Sorry for the mix up

  5. To my eye, we’ll need to find a new way of designing run off areas, as open tarmac only slows down out of control cars.

    We’ll be riding a fine line between making sure racing cars (and bikes, and whatever else uses these circuits through the year) are able to scrub off as much speed prior to the barrier, while also discouraging other cars in control to maintain speed in the same area. Whether it’s through installing sections or strips of alternate surfaces and materials, or identifying a new surface which will slow cars down regardless of their control state.

    To me, the only thing that might have changed the outcome was if Correa wasn’t able to carry that speed through the run off area. We can’t change his or anyone’s anticipation of what a car is going to do, but if the run off area arrested, or limited the potential speed of ANY car within it, then that might have saved this situation.

    Am I wrong? I’d love to hear others thoughts on this.

    1. This seems like a good time to deploy that super-high-friction surface treatment they have developed at Paul Ricard (the ‘red zone’ material). If it’s going to be used anywhere, the area between the track and the WEC pit exit at Spa seems like it should be the place. My understanding is that it is designed to slow cars down very effectively while not allowing them to dig in like gravel traps do, and the tradeoff is massive tyre wear as soon as you hit the surface. This ought to mean that 1) If drivers go off, they are still nominally in control and can slow down very quickly while traversing the surface, and 2) Drivers will be discouraged from diving into the run-off and should corner a bit more slowly because of the tyre damage that will occur if they driver over the friction material.

  6. Yeah I agree. Not a whole lot to fix other than the runoff areas and maybe the barrier material. I suppose the side impact protection could be improved a bit every year, but that was a tough one to absorb.

    Prost made the comment that bicycle racing might even be more dangerous. I guess we do have to take a bit of a large scale viiew of this one.

  7. Just want to comment on the comments regarding runoff & barriers.

    Altering the runoff at Eau Rouge/Raidillon isn’t possible as there is a pretty steep drop behind the wall’s at the top. The runoff is already about as big as your going to be able to get it.

    It’s tarmac up there partly because that’s where the support pit exit is now but also because when it used to be gravel it was found that due to the speed & cars getting unloaded cresting the hill that cars just used to skip over it without losing speed. Additionally some of the smaller/lighter cars tended to flip as soon as they hit it.

    In terms of the barriers I don’t think there is anything safer to put up there. Cars have tended to go under Tecpro at high speed & there’s a concrete wall behind the barriers at Eau Rouge as the car going under or through Tecpro would just end up with a harder impact with the concrete. And something like a safer barrier isn’t suitable because of the depth of the runoff. Safer wall’s are great when there right next to the track like on an oval (Or the final part of Baku) but when you have a deep runoff where cars can hit it with more momentum & more severe angles there less effective which is why there not used in that situation.

    Another thing to consider is that something that catches the car could do more harm in some cases as cars bouncing off wall’s helps disperse energy.

    Final thing I want to say is that contrary to what some seem to believe, Hubert wasn’t thrown back onto the track after the initial impact. After he hit the tire wall the car remained in the runoff area (It is shallower that end of the runoff through) & didn’t really even end up that far off the barriers. He was only hit by Correa because Correa had also run wide into the runoff area having lost his front wing which was apparently lodged under the car preventing him from steering or braking.

    1. He was only hit by Correa because Correa had also run wide into the runoff area having lost his front wing which was apparently lodged under the car preventing him from steering or braking.

      This was what I was wondering. I couldn’t understand what Correa was doing so far out of the race track.

      1. As I understand it Alesi spun & clipped the wall on the left which ripped his rear wing off. Cars ahead of Hubert slowed down to avoid the debris & Hubert had to jink right to avoid a car that had slowed & this sent him into the wall.

        Correa faced the same thing Hubert did but ended up clipping the right/rear of Ralph Boschung’s car which ripped his front wing (And punctured Boschung’s tire) where it got lodged under the car & sent him straight into the runoff unable to steer or brake.

        Hubert hit the tire wall & bounced off where it was then t-boned by an out of control Correa.

        Something I was told this morning was that the impact from Correa’s car dislodged the headrest & sent it out of the car before he had the final impact against the tire wall. The tub was apparently punctured but surprisingly still largely intact.

    2. I have posted this elsewhere, but given that you have a good understanding of the safety systems that they might be able to deploy here, what do you think of the idea of using the red zone friction material from Paul Ricard on the area between the track and the WEC pit exit? It’s designed to slow cars down very effectively at the cost of extreme tyre wear, and if it actually achieves this, it seems like a reasonable solution (it would slow cars down as they cross it, and the tyre damage would discourage drivers from driving over it unless they absolutely have to).

  8. Yes I was amazed to find the tub was still surprisingly intact considering the force of the impact.
    Hubert suffered from 3 very severe impacts within a very short sequence.
    But this part

    Correa faced the same thing Hubert did but ended up clipping the right/rear of Ralph Boschung’s car which ripped his front wing (And punctured Boschung’s tire) where it got lodged under the car & sent him straight into the runoff unable to steer or brake.

    Because you still see who I presume to be Boschung accelerating past Alesi a few moments before Correa who seems to be travelling much too fast to have been involved with Boschung and at the same time be delayed sufficiently to still hit Hubert’s car.

  9. Motorsports have been one of the most expensive sports and always will be. As the case is like that, we will always have paid drivers in it. I don’t want to blame them being a son or doughter of some rich men and women, but, it is really hard to settle with the reality that some are trying and dying to reach that goal while some are purchasing it.

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