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Anthoine Hubert (1996-2019)

Anthoine Hubert (1996-2019)

F1 News

Anthoine Hubert (1996-2019)

Anthoine Hubert (1996-2019)

Anthoine Hubert died aged 22 after crashing in Formula 2's feature race at the Belgian Grand Prix. Here we look back at a life and career cut tragically short at Spa-Francorchamps.

Born in Lyon, France, Anthoine's passion for motorsport appears to have stemmed from his father Francois, an amateur rally driver.

A three-year-old Anthoine was given a go-kart for Christmas and set on a journey that would see him become a title-winner and look destined for a shot in the highest echelons of motorsport.

Rising through the ranks

Having delivered promising results in karting, Hubert debuted in single seaters in French Formula 4.

Twelve wins from 21 races later, Hubert was champion and quickly graduated to Eurocup Formula Renault, a proving ground for scores of racing stars before him.

In two seasons in the series, Hubert improved from 15th to fifth, going close to championship success in season two, with F2 contemporaries Nyck de Vries and Jack Aitken winning titles in fields sprinkled with current Formula 1 names, such as George Russell, Alexander Albon and Ferrari star Charles Leclerc.

He stepped up to European Formula 3 for 2016 with new boss Frits van Amersfoort suggesting he "could become one of the big surprises".

In a season dominated by Lance Stroll and Prema, Hubert secured a creditable victory at the Norisring, leading the Canadian throughout and surviving three safety-car restarts.

Hubert took two further podiums and ended the year with an 11-race run of points-scoring finishes to take eighth place in the standings, third best among rookies.

GP3 and title success

Junior-formula heavyweights ART were impressed, drafting Hubert across to GP3 and teaming him with the now Mercedes-supported Russell, Honda junior Nirei Fukuzumi and the Renault-backed Aitken.

Hubert may have finished fourth of the ART drivers, but it also brought fourth place in the drivers' standings and only two races finished without the Frenchman scoring, while four fastest laps across the year demonstrated his pace.

With all three team-mates graduating to F2, Hubert remained as the team leader at ART, but formidable opponents were once again alongside him in Ferrari academy member Callum Ilott and the billionaire-backed Nikita Mazepin.

Russian Mazepin might have won four races to Hubert's two, but a mighty 11 podium finishes from 18 races ensured the Frenchman's second single-seater title.

Not only that, but midway through 2018 Renault began to back Hubert, drafting him into the young driver programme full-time once his title was secured, with Formula 2 beckoning.

Formula 2

Signed to Arden, the team co-founded by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, 2019 initially looked like being a struggle as he and history-making team-mate Tatiana Calderon languished in the pre-season testing timesheets.

However, a fourth-placed finish on debut in Bahrain, with many eyes on fellow rookie Mick Schumacher, left him as the best-placed newcomer in the first race of the year.

Points would follow in three of the four races across Baku and Spain, before an eighth-placed finish in Monaco's feature race put him on reverse-grid pole for the sprint.

He led throughout, with Louis Deletraz snapping at his heels over 30 laps and two safety car restarts, drawing alongside as the chequered flag beckoned, only for Hubert to hold on, winning by five hundredths of a second and sparking emotional celebrations.

The joy was turned up even further at the next event as Hubert once again took a sprint race triumph, only this time on home soil at the Circuit Paul Ricard.

"Monaco was maybe half of a home race but this is 100% a home race so I'm really, really happy," he said.

"I'm really proud. It was such a nice feeling to hear La Marseillaise on the top step and see all of the French flags around the track. I saw them yesterday so I was really motivated to get that win."

Despite five straight scoreless outings, Hubert was the top-scoring rookie heading to Spa, a track that had seen him take to the podium in European F3 and GP3.

However, on the second lap of the feature race, Hubert and Juan Manuel Correa were involved in a heavy collision exiting onto the Kemmel Straight, the Frenchman succumbing to his injuries.

Hubert seemed destined to perhaps repeat his GP3 form, and a title challenge (nobody would have been surprised at a success, too) in 2020 would have surely paved the way to Formula 1.

Although his journey was cut short, it was one taken with great skill and humility. May Anthoine Hubert rest in peace and his family and loved ones find solace.

This is how we will remember him.

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