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By Andrew Benson
Chief F1 writer at Spa-Francorchamps
Serves as a reminder of the unpalatable truth that motor racing can never be safe.
It had, understandably, cast a pall on the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.
As security has improved over time, accidents such as this, and also their outcomes, have become increasingly infrequent. But whenever a human being straps himself into a projectile and races carefully of well over 100mph, they’re taking a risk that is very considerable.
This day would otherwise have been filled with talk of Ferrari’s front-row lock-out, whether they could eventually deliver a triumph this year, and so on, but folks who are employed in Formula 1 know a terrible accident if they see one, and also the response to this one was instant.
World champion Lewis Hamilton conducted television viewing and had been glancing, as F1 drivers perform, at the beginning of the F2 race.
As the incident unfolded in all its dreadful violence, he explained:”Oh wow. Hope that child’s good. Wow. That’s chilling.”
He rubbed at his brow, his face a mask of concern, walked off, not saying another word.
His brand new driver, at Red Bull Alexander Albon was holding his news conference together with the press that the F2 race on a tv screen behind him.
Journalists inhaled in terror at what they were visiting. Albon watched what happened, turned around, and said nothing. Then crossed his hands to signify to his media handler the session was finished.
Even though there was no evidence of the seriousness of the collision, the paddock at Spa flew into silence. People’s faces put. Work has been undertaken with stoicism and contemplation. Motor racing is still a hard, brutal company, in several of ways, but the game also considers itself a household, and it rarely feels than at times like this.
These moments confront racing drivers at a visceral and immediate sense together with the hazards of the profession because it is loved by them they chose. The risk they take is an inherent part of the love, however difficult that may be to understand.
Of course they don’t need to be hurt, or worse, but the fact they could be adds an excess frisson to an action that rewards its participants with feelings that simply cannot be experienced.
The combination of balance, bravery, skill, decision and excitement that comes from commanding a racing car on the edge of adhesion at high speed, and trying to beat everybody while doing this , is what makes racing drivers Stick out from other people, and makes it different from most other sports
It is also part of their appeal. They don’t need to find people hurt , but they value what’s at stake, and what the drivers are currently doing, what it requires of them.
Not for nothing did Hemingway state:”There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all of the rest are merely games”
As Hamilton said:”If a single one of you seeing and enjoying this sport think for another what we do will 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 way as it is not valued enough. Not in the fans nor some of the individuals.
“Anthoine is a hero as far as I am concerned, for taking the danger he didn’t pursue his dreams. I’m so sad that this has occurred. Let’s lift him up and remember him.”
Hubert is the very first person to die in a hurry sanctioned by governing body the FIA because F1 driver Jules Bianchi, that died and sustained terrible head injuries during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix as a consequence of an injury.
The last driver killed in a significant motor race was Britain’s Justin Wilson – struck on the head by debris at Pocono, Pennsylvania at August 2015.
Since then, there have been several serious injuries, but no deaths, that will be a testament to this ongoing work across the world to improve safety.
There will be a full investigation into this crash. It’ll be considered if the’halo’ device, which was introduced last year as a direct consequence of Bianchi’s injury, did its task. The forces involved will be analysed. Lessons will be heard, and adjustments made. But in a few instances, there is not much to be carried out. The human body can only take a long time, which is motorsport’s chance can never be eradicated.
Spa-Francorchamps, in which this accident occurred, is one of the world hardest and, yes, many dangerous race tracks. Races are looked to by the drivers there more than people at any given but a couple of circuits across the globe. However, they don’t do it lightly. They do it they are currently 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 understood, a few of them had raced contrary, and of whom some were only aware as somebody who may very well, 1 day soon, become among them.
Their customary preparations, on Sunday, were done with an iron determination, sobriety and severity to continue with business as usual.
Subsequently at 3.10pm local time, they saw five red lights come on one and then move out, and in a few seconds they raced nose to tail, then side by side at near 200mph within the specific place where, less than 24 hours earlier, a colleague paid the supreme price.
The game they love brings them lows that are awful incredible highs and lows, as on Saturday. The combination of all that is – whatever you might think about it – what makes it thrillingly, awfully, terribly particular.
They are truly not as other people.
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