French driver Anthoine Hubert has been killed in an accident during the Formula Two feature race at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
Hubert, 22, lost control of his car on the second lap of the race at the top of the Raidillon corner, which follows the famous Eau Rouge section of the Belgian race track. Raidillon is a blind corner at the crest of a hill. After an initial impact with the barriers, Hubert's car came back onto the race track and was hit at upwards of 200 km/h by American driver Juan Manuel Correa. Hubert's car was split in two pieces by the crash.
A third driver, Giuliano Alesi, was involved but was unharmed after his car came to a halt without a rear wing and a punctured rear tyre.
TV cameras quickly cut away from the scene, and no replays were shown. The race was immediately red flagged, and once the other cars had returned to the pits, it was soon confirmed it would not restart.
F2 is the official feeder series to Formula One and the race was taking place shortly after qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday. The F2 sprint race scheduled to take place on Sunday morning has been cancelled.
Just before 7 p.m. local time, the FIA confirmed Hubert had succumbed to his injuries. Correa is in stable condition in CHU Liège hospital. On Sunday morning it was confirmed he had undergone surgery on two fractured legs and a minor spinal injury.
"The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) regrets to advise that a serious incident involving cars #12, #19 and #20 occurred at 17:07 on 31/08/19 as a part of the FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race at Spa-Francorchamps, round 17 of the season.
"The scene was immediately attended by emergency and medical crews, and all drivers were taken to the medical centre.
"As a result of the incident, the FIA regrets to inform that the driver of car #19, Antoine Hubert (FRA), succumbed to his injuries, and passed away at 18:35.
"The driver of car #12, Juan-Manuel Correa (USA), is in a stable condition and is being treated at the CHU Liège hospital. More information on his condition will be provided when it becomes available.
"The driver of car #20 Giuliano Alesi (FRA) was checked and declared fit at the medical centre.
"The FIA is providing support to the event organisers and the relevant authorities, and has commenced an investigation into the incident."
Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton posted his condolences to Instagram shortly after the news was confirmed.
"This is devastating. God rest your soul Anthoine. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family today."
In a follow-up post, he said: "If a single one of you watching and enjoying this sport think for a second what we do is safe your hugely mistaken. All these drivers put their life on the line when they hit the track and people need to appreciate that in a serious way because it is not appreciated enough. Not from the fans nor some of the people actually working in the sport.
"Anthoine is a Hero as far as I'm concerned, for taking the risk he did to chase his dreams. I'm so sad that this has happened. Let's lift him up and remember him. Rest in peace brother."
Hubert, the reigning GP3 champion, was part of the Renault F1 team's junior driver academy.
Born in Lyon, France, he started karting at age 12. Once he made his debut in single-seater racing in the French F4 championship in 2013, he rose through the ranks quickly. He won the French F4 series at the first attempt, before spending two seasons in Formula Renault 2.0. He stepped up to Formula 3, claiming a race win at the Norisring.
He moved up to GP3 with ART in 2017. His first season in the series was winless, but he followed it up with a championship-winning campaign in 2018. This year he stepped up to F1's official feeder series and claimed victories at sprint races in Monaco and France. Arriving at Belgium, hosting the 17th and 18th rounds of the 2019 season, he was eighth in the championship.
The last fatality caused by injuries sustained at a Formula One event was Jules Bianchi, who suffered severe head injuries at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix and died in July 2015.