Obituary: Anthoine Hubert (by Sergio Álvarez)

NEWS & STORIES, SERGIO'S COLUMN

These lines were meant to be dedicated to the best corners of Spa, because Iberianmph was conducting a survey about this topic among F3 and F2 drivers. By the way, Pouhon was winning over Raidillon.

However, it is not only the case that this topic would not be appropriate in the state that the terrible news of the feature race have left all the paddock. In addition, for me it would also have been particularly difficult to have been writing it while thinking that I had decided not to interrogate Monsieur Anthoine Hubert about his corner preferences during lunch, as confident as I was about catching up with him for dinner. It is shocking now to think about this situation, and the first time that Iberianmph meets the real danger of motorsport.

In our view, now it is the time to remember the man, the smooth GP3 champion that out-thinked his teammates at ART. He was a kind of support series’ Prost not only for his nationality, but for his characteristic finesse at the wheel.

Anthoine Hubert was born in Lyon the 22nd of September 1996, in a family already introduced into the world of rallying. He could well have followed his father’s footsteps in this respect but, eager to start a career, it was always going to be easier to do karting as a kid. His first big achievement in motorsport was a second position in the 2010 CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy. Two third places in the World Karting Championship followed for 2011 and 2012. When he jumped into single-seaters, he won French Formula 4 at his first attempt. His next steps were Formula Renault with Tech 1 and (the former) Formula 3 with Van Amersfoort, with seven wins and seven pole positions in those categories between 2014 and 2016.

Things started to get really interesting for Hubert when he pleased the ART GP3 team with his performance in the 2016 Abu Dhabi Young Driver tests; so much so that he was given a seat for 2017. They were slightly hard beginnings for him that year, as it was always going to happen when you have a certain George Russell as one of your teammates. However, his fourth place in that championship was enough for Renault to sign him as an affiliated driver. At the start of 2019, they would convert this relationship into an official membership of the Renault Driver Academy.

2018 would be the year of his breakthrough as a potential star, and Hubert will always rest as the last champion of the GP3 Series before it merged with Formula 3. As Hubert himself told Iberianmph, he faced strong opposition from stablemates at ART, but he excelled in assessing when to push and when to go for points… Regularity was the name of the game, and Anthoine Hubert understood that better than anyone else. He truly deserved his hard-earned title.

Adaptation to Formula 2 was never going to be easy, but Hubert applied this calculating style of him to get two victories in just the first half of the season (in Monaco and France, of all places). He had been hired by BWT Arden, and the word in the paddock is that he was highly regarded within the Renault programme. In the last few days, rumours started to flow about his future in a top F2 team for 2020, and in Hungary Hubert told Iberianmph that discussions had already started. Believe us, to start discussing one’s options with other teams at the end of July is quite early by the standards of any feeder series.

According to the FIA and F2 statement, Anthoine Hubert passed away at 18:35 on Saturday 31st August 2019, from injuries sustained in a crash that involved his friend Giuliano Alesi (Trident), Juan Manuel Correa (Sauber Junior Team by Charouz) and Marino Sato (making his F2 debut with Campos). Alesi was attended to at the track’s medical centre and he is not in danger. Correa stays at Liège Hospital after suffering leg trauma, while Sato walked away from the scene, apparently with no issues.

We all at Iberianmph express once again our condolences to the family, team and friends of Anthoine Hubert. We know from first hand what a huge loss he is for the F2 fraternity.

RIP Anthoine Hubert, a true champion.

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