Anthoine Hubert and Juan Manuel Correa (partially found FOM footage of fatal Formula 2 crash; 2019)
On 31st August, 2019, during the Formula 2 Spa-Francorchamps Feature Race, Anthoine Hubert crashed his BWT Arden into a tyre wall at the exit of Eau Rouge in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid a car that had spun in front of him. His wrecked car was hit left side-on by Juan Manuel Correa's Charouz at 257 km/h (159.7 mph), resulting in Hubert's car splitting in half, and the front assembly of Correa's completely breaking away. The crash resulted in the death of Hubert, while Correa suffered from a spinal injury and fractured legs. While footage from Formula One Media (FOM) showed the crash live, there is also additional FOM footage, including from the cameras of each car, which has never been released to the public.
The 2019 Spa-Francorchamps Formula 2 event was the ninth round of the season. As with Formula 2 tradition, two races, a Feature and a Sprint, were expected to be held at the circuit as support races heading into the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix on 31st August and 1st September respectively. Prior to the Feature Race, French driver Anthoine Hubert, who was in his debut Formula 2 season having won the 2018 GP3 Series, had scored 77 points, with wins at the Monaco and Le Castellet Sprint Races being his best results. Meanwhile, Amercian driver Juan Manuel Correa was also in his debut season, and had scored 36 points, achieving second places at the Baku and Le Castellet Sprint Races.
Qualifying took place for the Feature Race on 30th August. With ART Grand Prix's Nyck de Vries qualifying on pole, Hubert's and Correa's best lap times were enough for 13th and 15th on the grid respectively.
On lap 2 of the race, Trident's Giuliano Alesi was negotiating Eau Rouge, when he suddenly spun off. He ended up crashing into the barriers and flung back onto the road at the corner's exit, although he was ultimately unharmed. As Hubert, as well as Ralph Boschung and Jordan King, rapidly approached, it became clear the trio would need to take evasive action. King slowed down, while Boschung and Hubert opted to drive to the corner's tarmac run-off area to avoid the stricken Trident. As Hubert attempted to go to the right of Boschung's Trident, he collided with its right-rear tyre, losing his BWT Arden's front wing, and crashing into a tyre barrier, before bouncing back onto the tarmac.
As Correa approached Eau Rouge, his Charouz collided with debris, which got stuck under a front wheel. It meant Correa suddenly had no control of his car, and it headed towards the tarmac into the path of Hubert. At an estimated speed of 257 km/h (159.7 mph), the two cars collided in a crash measuring 70g for Correa and 81g for Hubert, resulting in the BWT Arden being split in half and the headrest detaching from the car. It would hit the tyre barrier a second time, before the wrecked car rested against the barriers. Meanwhile, the entirety of Correa's front assembly was destroyed upon impact, while the remainder of the car rolled over. It ended up resting on the grass which was at the opposite side of the tarmac. Correa's feet were exposed to the elements, and it was clear from his reaction that he was experiencing significant pain from the crash.
The race was immediately red flagged, with both drivers taken out of their cars and sent as soon as possible to the circuit's medical centre. Ultimately, Hubert's injuries were too great, and he died eighty-three minutes following the accident, aged 22. Meanwhile, while Correa was stabilised enough to be sent to a Liège hospital and then to a specialist UK hospital, his injuries almost saw him pass away as well. He was diagnosed as having suffered from a spinal injury and with fractured legs, and he also experienced acute respiratory distress syndrome that led to acute respiratory failure. Having been placed in a medically-induced coma on 7th September, he recovered thirteen days later, and had successful reconstructive surgery that saved his lower right leg, albeit with the need to undergo rehabilitation for at least a year. By 2021, he had recovered enough to compete in that year's Formula 3 Championship.
The race was not restarted following the serious situations for both drivers, and was abandoned due to only being raced for two laps. The subsequent Sprint Race was also cancelled out of respect for Hubert. Subsequent investigations by prosecutors in Verviers and by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) were opened concerning the accident, with the FIA finding nobody to blame, as Alesi's spin was caused by his Trident losing rear tyre pressure thanks to earlier contact with another car, while Hubert had done all he could to avoid the initial crash.
Some FOM footage of the crash perspective was included in the live TV broadcasts and so is publicly available. However, additional FOM footage has been withheld from the public. After the seriousness of the crash became apparent, no replays, including from alternate angles, were shown in the live broadcast. This is common procedure concerning showing replays in FOM-handled events. For example, when Romain Grosjean crashed heavily at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, no replays were to be shown until it was clear he had escaped the fire that had engulfed his car and was OK. When this became apparent, replays, including from other angles, were allowed to be shown. In contrast, when Jules Bianchi suffered serious injuries that ultimately became fatal at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, no replays were shown and all FOM media was withheld from the public.
Thus, any additional footage of the crash, including alternative angles recorded from cameras on the circuit, will likely be withheld similar to the Bianchi footage. This includes video recorded from each of the three cameras from both cars, standardised components for all Formula 2 cars which would have provided on-board footage of both vehicles up until the crash. Because of the tragic nature of the crash, as well as out of respect to Hubert, Correa and their relatives, this media is likely to continue to be withheld from public viewing by FOM.
- Angelo Orsi's photos of Ayrton Senna (lost photos of Formula One driver post-crash; 1994)
- Ayrton Senna (partially lost on-board video of fatal Formula One crash; 1994)
- Jules Bianchi (lost FOM footage of fatal Formula One crash; 2014)
- ↑ Archive of the 2019 Spa-Francorchamps Formula 2 event, where races were meant to occur on the 31st August and 1st September. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ Formula 2 article reporting on Hubert's win in the Monaco Sprint Race. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ Racefans reporting on Hubert and Correa achieving a 1-2 at the Le Castellet Sprint Race. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ Archive containing results for the Baku Sprint Race, where Correa finished second. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ Driver Database providing the final 2019 Formula 2 Championship points standings, with Hubert on 77 points and Correa 36. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ Qualifying results for the Feature Race. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ Racefans reporting on Correa stating how debris under his car limited steering and thus control prior to the accident. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ Autosport reporting on the findings of the FIA investigation concerning the accident, ultimately stating nobody was to blame for causing it. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ FIA statement concerning the accident, announcing Hubert's death and Correa's situation. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ BBC News reporting on the death of Hubert. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ Speed Cafe reporting on Correa exiting his medically-induced coma. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ ESPN article reporting on Correa's successful surgery and rehabilitation requirements. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ Formula Scout announcing the return of Correa to the 2021 Formula 3 Championship. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ Official Formula One statement concerning the cancellation of the Spa-Francorchamps Sprint Race. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ Straits Times reporting on Verviers prosecutors conducting a probe into the crash. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ Motorsport Week containing a quote from a Formula One spokesman concerning how replays are handled in the event of a serious crash. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ Motorsport article reporting on the replays of the Romain Grosjean crash, which were broadcast when it became clear he was OK following the accident. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ Motorsport article providing an example of FOM withholding media in the event of a serious accident, in this case the fatal Jules Bianchi accident. Retrieved 14 Sep '21
- ↑ Specifications for 2020 Formula 2 cars, specifying the same cameras required in the 2019 cars. Retrieved 14 Sep '21