F1, F2 remembering Anthoine Hubert across Belgian GP weekend
Minute's silences to be held ahead of Saturday's F2 race and Sunday's Grand Prix; Childhood friends and racing contemporaries of Hubert pay tribute at Spa a year on from his death
Last Updated: 27/08/20 5:55pm
F1 and its feeder series will remember Anthoine Hubert during this weekend's Belgian GP, a year on from the French driver's death in an accident in an F2 race at Spa.
A minute's silence will be held before both Saturday's F2 feature race and the main Grand Prix on Sunday.
F2 has also announced it is retiring Hubert's car number, 19, from the series as a mark of respect. The number will be incorporated into a logo that all F1, F2 and F3 cars will run this weekend.
Hubert was a highly-rated driver and a member of Renault's academy programme. He was 2018 GP3 champion and had won two F2 races in what was his first season in the championship directly below F1.
The popular Frenchman was a friend and contemporary of a number of current F1 drivers in the junior categories.
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who won his maiden Grand Prix the day after Hubert's accident, has said he is racing this weekend for the memory of his friend.
"The Spa-Francorchamps circuit has a special place in my heart. While it is here that I took my first win, it is also where we lost our friend Anthoine last year," said Leclerc.
On my way to Spa with @vistajet .— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) August 26, 2020
Spa is a very special place for me as it is where I got my first Formula 1 win but also a very difficult place to go to as it is where I've lost a friend @AnthoineH that we all miss very much.
I'll be racing for him this weekend. pic.twitter.com/a81L4LatIA
"It will be difficult to return to this track and he will be in our thoughts all weekend."
Pierre Gasly, a close childhood friend of Hubert, laid flowers in memory of his countryman on the opening day of this year's race weekend on Thursday.
"I had known him since I was seven years old in karting, we were in the same school together organised by the French motorsport federation, from when I was 13 to 19 and we shared an apartment for six years," said Gasly earlier in the week.
He added to Sky F1 on Thursday: "It was probably the toughest moment last year because it was already quite a difficult time for me, with changing teams from Red Bull to Toro Rosso, and other things happening as well.
"I would have never thought this would happen. It was very, very hard to digest. Even coming back here this morning, I just struggle to accept that it happened. On the track, the images and footage back in my head was not nice at all, and hard. I hope we can make him proud again this weekend."
Esteban Ocon, another Frenchman on the grid, said he "grew up" with Hubert.
"We've been doing karting since we are seven, eight - racing together," the Renault driver stated. "He was living near my place and we were very close so it's very difficult.
"For sure it's always on my mind while I'm here. It's heavy on our heart. But we are racing for him this weekend, and that's what he would do as well."
Romain Grosjean, meanwhile, also paid tribute to the late Jules Bianchi - the F1 driver who passed away following a crash at the 2014 Japanese GP.
"It's not only Anthoine, it's Jules as well," said the Haas driver and GPDA director. "I've been in Formula 1 a long time now and I've lost a couple of friends, people I was happy to race with. We must always remember them.
"Every time I go to Suzuka it's something strange, remembering Jules, and every time I come to Spa there will always be something about Anthoine. It's sad, but we also remember them and they come back alive when we race.
"We know motorsport is dangerous, we accept that when we race, but it's never going to be normal to lose friends. We're pushing the boundaries of safety but there are still too many [deaths]."
Leclerc also posted a picture of a podium he shared with Hubert and Gasly in 2010 when they were young karters.