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By Andrew Benson
Chief F1 author at Spa-Francorchamps
The injury that killed Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert on Saturday functions as a reminder of this unpalatable truth that motor racing can’t ever be safe.
It had, understandably, cast a pall on the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.
Accidents like this, and also their outcomes, have become infrequent as security has improved over time. However, whenever a person being straps into races and a projectile carefully of well over 100mph, they are currently taking a risk that is considerable.
This afternoon could otherwise have been full of discussion with Ferrari’s front-row lock-out, if they could finally deliver a triumph this season, and so forth, but those who are employed in Formula 1 know a terrible accident when they see one, and also the response to this one was instant.
As F1 drivers do, at the start of the race world champion Lewis Hamilton conducted television interviews and had been peeking.
As the accident unfolded in all its dreadful violence, he stated:”Oh wow. Hope that child’s good. Wow. That’s chilling.”
He rubbed at his forehead, his face a mask of stress, then walked off, not saying another word.
In Red Bull Alexander Albon held his news conference with the media that is written , the race onto a tv screen .
Journalists inhaled at what they saw. Albon saw what had been happening, turned around, and said nothing. After a minute or so, grabbed his hands to indicate to his media handler that the session was finished.
Immediately, though there was no confirmation of the seriousness of this collision, the paddock in Spa descended into silence. People’s faces place. Work has been undertaken with stoicism and quiet contemplation. Motor racing is a hard, brutal company, in a number of ways, but the game also considers itself a family, and it seldom feels than at times like this.
Drivers that are racing are confronted by these moments in a visceral and immediate feeling with the hazards of the profession because it is loved by them they chose. Is an intrinsic part of that love, however hard that might be to comprehend.
Adds an excess frisson to an activity that rewards its participants with feelings which can’t be experienced, although of course they don’t want to be injured, or worse.
The combination of equilibrium, bravery, skill, judgement and delight that comes from controlling a racing car on the very edge of adhesion at high speed, and trying to beat everybody while doing itis exactly what makes racing drivers Stick out from other people, making it different from most other sports
It’s also a part of this appeal to those folks who see it. They do not need to find people hurt but they love what the drivers are currently doing, what it demands of these, and what is at stake.
Not for nothing did Hemingway say:”There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all of the rest are merely games”
As Hamilton stated:”If a single one of you seeing and enjoying this sport think for a second what we do would be safe, you’re hugely mistaken. These drivers place their life on the line when they hit on the track and people need to appreciate that in a critical manner since it isn’t appreciated enough. Not from the fans nor some of the folks.
“Anthoine is a hero as far as I’m concerned, for taking the danger he didn’t pursue his dreams. I’m so sad that this has happened. Let us lift up him and recall him.”
Hubert is the very first person to die at a hurry sanctioned by international governing body the FIA because F1 driver Jules Bianchi, who died the following July and sustained head injuries in a crash during the 2014 Western Grand Prix as a consequence of an injury.
The previous driver murdered in a significant global motor race has been Britain’s Justin Wilson – struck on the head by debris through an IndyCar race .
Ever since that time, there are quite a few serious accidents, but no deaths, that is a testament to the ongoing work around the world to enhance security.
There’ll be a full investigation into this collision. It’ll be considered whether the’halo’ head-protection device, which was released last year as a direct consequence of the injury of Bianchi, did its task as intended. The forces involved will be analysed. Lessons will be discovered, and changes made. But in a few cases, there is not much to be accomplished. The body can only take so much, which is the chance of motorsport can never be eradicated.
Spa-Francorchamps is one of the world most dangerous most challenging and, yes race paths. Races are looked forward to by the drivers there greater than people at any given but a mere handful of circuits around the world. However, they don’t do it. They do it they are taking.
On Saturday night, over dinner with friends and colleagues, the 20 F1 drivers considered the reduction of a guy who a few of them knew, a few of them had rushed contrary, and of whom some were only aware as someone who may very well, one day soon, be one of these.
On Sunday, their customary pre-race preparations, were done with severity, freedom as well as an iron determination to continue with business as normal.
Then at 3.10pm local timethey saw five red lights come on one and then go out, and within a few moments they raced nose to tail, then side by side at close to 200mph over the exact spot at which less than 24 hours earlier, a colleague paid the supreme cost.
The sport they enjoy brings them lows that are awful amazing highs and lows, according to Saturday. The combination of all that is – whatever one may think of it – that which makes it thrillingly, awfully, terribly special.
They are truly not as other men and women.
Get reacquainted with a Dragon which’awakens in people’
Analysis and comment in the BBC Formula 1 writer.
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