Motor racing: Grand Prix death triggers safety probe - motor sport chief

French driver Anthoine Hubert was killed on Aug 31 in Spa in an accident during a Formula Two race.
French driver Anthoine Hubert was killed on Aug 31 in Spa in an accident during a Formula Two race.PHOTO: AFP

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, BELGIUM (AFP) - Improved safety standards in motor racing will be pursued relentlessly and research into better protection for drivers will never stop, according to the sport's ruling body.

International Motoring Federation (FIA) race director Michael Masi said an investigation into the crash on Saturday (Aug 31) that killed Formula Two driver Anthoine Hubert had already begun.

"Safety is ever evolving," said Masi, who took over the role following the sudden death earlier this year of long-time FIA official Charlie Whiting.

"Once different technologies become available, different materials become available - safety is an ever-evolving process. For me, it is something that will never end.

"I've said it before and I'll repeat it. Safety is one of the core pillars of the FIA, part of why it exists. That is something that just won't stop.

"We'll continue to research and look at things and improve them as best we can."

The death of 22-year-old Frenchman Hubert left the sport shocked, and close friend Charles Leclerc dedicated his maiden Formula One victory for Ferrari to him following a dramatic win in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.

 

The young Monegasque drove with near-flawless judgment to convert pole position into a victory, fending off a late charge from defending five-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes to win by nine-tenths of a second.

Hamilton, who admitted he was devastated by the death of Hubert and had a sleepless Saturday night afterwards, praised the work of the FIA.

"There's a huge amount of work that the FIA have done up to this point," he said. "I think they've been working incredibly hard and we've seen big steps already - obviously, particularly when Charlie was here, he made massive steps forward so we will continue in that direction."

Hubert's death, the first as a result of an accident at a Grand Prix for five years, stunned the sport.

American driver Juan-Manuel Correa, who suffered broken legs and a spinal injury in the crash, remained in intensive care on Sunday, but was reported to be in a stable condition.