Understanding Anthoine Hubert's Fatal Accident

Gif: Chain Bear (YouTube)

Last weekend, Anthoine Hubert lost his life at a fatal crash at the Formula 2 race at Spa-Francorchamps. Since then, there has been confusion and a fair share of misunderstandings as to how the incident happened. But Chain Bear F1 has posted an enlightening video that explores the accident without utilizing the traumatic footage of the incident itself.


The video is intended as a way to help answer some lingering questions for those of us still grieving in the wake of the crash. It respectfully handles a lot of the “whys” that have recently sprung up—again, without relying on crash footage. Instead, a series of still images are used to illustrate racing lines and crash impacts.

As the video points out, race cars aren’t designed to handle impacts from multiple points in rapid succession. Rather, those crash structures absorb the energy of the impact and help reduce rapid deceleration, often along a relatively linear axis. So, if a car is hit from the left, it will deform along that axis, with the energy also partially being deflected to the right side of the car.

At that point, the crash structure has done all it can do. It is deformed, and it can no longer absorb impact energy effectively because the structures for doing so no longer exist. If you have another side impact, the driver will be left relatively prone.

This is generally not an issue, as it has become rare for a car to be hit at high speed multiple times. Ultimately, though, Hubert’s impact with the barrier deformed the crash structure. When the impact with Juan Manuel Correa took place, the normal amount of crash protection had severely dropped off.

The video also looks into potential changes to the Eau Rouge complex at Spa itself, which is at a bit of an impasse. More runoff could have helped with this accident which, contrary to what many people initially thought, took place entirely on the runoff and not on the racing surface. But the natural geography of the track doesn’t allow for expansion. The track was designed to be tricky, and it has reached what can be considered an apex of safety.

The FIA is currently conducting a deeper investigation into the matter regarding what reforms can and will be made for the future. While the incident was a one-in-a-million event, it is very still likely that something will be done, even regarding the slightest of changes.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.


Gary Yogurt

The inclusion of Yakety Sax seems to lessen the tastefulness of not using the footage.

Edit: Nevermind—I had another tab open.