Zhou wins inaugural Anthoine Hubert Award

F2 racer Guanyu Zhou was presented with the first Anthoine Hubert Award for Rookie of the Year at the F2 prize ceremony in Monaco.

The award was created in honour of Hubert who was tragically killed in a crash at Spa this season which also involved Giuliano Alesi and Juan Manuel Correa.

Zhou, who serves as a member of the Renault Driver Academy, as Hubert did until his death, became the first person to be bestowed with his award as Rookie of the Year.

It was a debut F2 campaign to remember for Zhou as the 20-year-old Chinese driver picked up five podiums as part of the Uni-Virtuosi Racing team, going on to finish P7 in the standings.

After accepting his award, Zhou said: “All my thoughts and strength is with Anthoine, he was really unlucky what happened in Spa and I wish all the best to him up there, and also to his family.

“In the same time I think this year, the beginning of the year it was me and him always fighting for the rookie [award], and it was such an honour to receive this trophy.”

Reflecting on his own rookie-season performance in 2019, Zhou said: “This season, obviously it’s a new team, the guys I never knew before and we were working together for the first year.

“To be fighting for the race one victories or doing pole positions, I never expected to be doing that so early in the season, so thanks to them and also to my team.

“They’ve been pushing me hard all season. There’s still a lot of things for me to learn with tyre management, all that stuff, but this season has been fantastic.”

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Correa: I must return for myself and Hubert

Juan Manuel Correa is determined to return to racing for himself and for Anthoine Hubert who was killed at Spa this season.

The pair along with Giuliano Alesi were involved in a horror crash at Spa’s Raidillon corner in the F2 Feature Race. Hubert died from his injuries several hours after, while Correa was left with severe leg injuries and placed in an induced coma for a time.

The Ecuadorian born American racer was competing in his first F2 season, making the podium in Azerbaijan and France while he also tested for Alfa Romeo mid-season. His return to racing, if it happens, won’t come any time soon, but the 20-year-old is determined to compete again not only for himself, but for Hubert as well.

“It took me a few weeks to accept everything, it is difficult to understand with pain drugs in the hospital. It took me time to accept it, but my attitude is pragmatic, nothing will change what happened, so I have to make the best of it,” he is quoted as having told Mundo Sport.

“Of course I feel sadness, Anthoine was a good friend, but now I feel that I have to return not only for myself but also for him.

“It was an accident that changed my life, not only physically but mentally. When you have an experience so close to death and you go out alive, your eyes open beyond motor racing. There were moments in the hospital where I wasn’t sure if I wanted to race again.

“I realised that racing is not the most important thing, it is my passion, but such an accident shows you the priorities, and my priority was my health and my family. Leaving that hole I had time to reflect. My passion is still racing.

“A friend asked me if this turns off my F1 dream. I told him that an accident does not turn off the dream, it does make you think if you want to take a risk for a dream. And I decided that I want to continue doing so because it is my dream.”

Juan Manuel Correa still in induced coma but condition has "slightly improved".

Doctors were in a race against time to save Correa’s right leg with the youngster’s health for a long period not strong enough to withstand an operation, but they were successfully able to rebuild it.

“I lost six centimeters of bone in the lower part of the tibia, it is growing again with a special device, that’s why I have all those metals pieces around my leg that you see in social media,” he explained.

“I grow the bone by one millimeter per day. On December 23 I have the next surgery where the bone will reach the foot. Then the process will come where the new bone will get strengthened hard so it can support weight.

“After that the metals will be removed to recover as much as possible, and assess how much pain or mobility I have and see what other operations follow.

“At the beginning the doctors expected two years to make the recovery, but my body is doing everything faster, it recovers and regenerates the bones faster than normal. Being optimistic, in a year we could have the full idea of ​​how much more I can recover or if I will get just to there.”

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F1 will incorporate lessons from Hubert crash

F1’s 2020 regulations may be locked into place but changes will be made should the FIA learn any valuable lessons from Anthoine Hubert’s fatal crash.

Last month Hubert died as a result of injuries suffered during a Formula 2 crash at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

The Frenchman had spun off the track, hitting the barriers before bouncing back into the path of Juan Manuel Correa.

Correa collided with him at the top of Raidillon, resulting in traumatic injuries for both drivers.

Sadly Hubert passed away while Correa remains in a coma with severe leg fractures.

The FIA continues to investigate the crash and, should they learn any valuable lessons, those will be put into place next season revealed Racing Point technical director Andy Green.

Under F1 regulations, changes can be made to the technical rules based on safety.

“It’s being investigated now,” Green explained to Motorsport.com.

“The teams have been asked to do some analysis work on their chassis design to understand where the current regulations sit in terms as chassis strength. I’m sure there will be more discussion at the next Technical Working Group to look at the next steps.

“It was massive impact, that’s the bottom line. The energy involved was absolutely huge, and the current chassis design, whether F2 or F1, there’s no way a current chassis can survive that sort of impact. It’s not like we were a few percent out, we’re quite a long way out.

“There was a massive amount of energy. So you’ve got to do a certain amount of absorbing in the nose.

“The nose worked as expected, but the energy it absorbed was a fraction of what was required, so we’re looking at increasing that for future cars, and I’m sure increasing the strength in the sides of the chassis as well – steps in that direction.”

He added: “It can definitely be factored in for ’21 – all the teams, we don’t argue about this sort of thing, we just get on and do it.

“At the moment in the back of everyone’s mind is what we can do for 2020. It’s never too late to add an additional panel to the side of the your chassis.”

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Midweek Wrap: Driver Market Heats Up, Seb v Charles, RIP Anthoine

A week that provided plenty of interesting stories in the F1 world, all of it was overshadowed by the tragic death of Anthoine Hubert.

Bottas Re-Signs with Mercedes, Ocon Confirmed at Renault: It was assumed as much in last week’s wrap, but on Thursday it became official, with Valtteri Bottas back at the Mercedes for 2020, with Esteban Ocon moving to Renault. Honestly I don’t feel there’s much I haven’t already said – it’s the safe option for the Silver Arrows, and as far as fallbacks go, things could’ve gone worse for Ocon.

That said, now the silly season rumours shift to Nico Hulkenberg, and where he might land. Will it be Red Bull, Haas, or somewhere else? I guess we’ll see…

First Cracks in Renault-McLaren Relationship? A customer team looking to Renault for answers after an engine failure costs them a result – hmm, for some reason I feel like we’ve been here before…

Out on the opening lap while his teammate lost a promising P5 due to failed power units, I don’t think anyone can blame Carlos Sainz for taking a little shot at the French manufacturer. Such happenings are never acceptable, but particularly considering this is year six of the V6-turbo era, and Renault are still having double-DNFs happen due to engine failures, it’s just embarrassing.

On a related note, it would certainly be remarkable if that Marca report turned out to be true, and the team opted for a return to Mercedes power. How different would the last five years had been had they never parted?

Ericsson to replace Giovinazzi? Suffice to say, Antonio Giovinazzi has not exactly set the world alight in his first full season in F1, and now the rumours have started that he could see it end prematurely should he not deliver a strong performance in Monza, with Marcus Ericsson set to replace him.

As disappointing as that would be for the young Italian, it would also make a lot of sense for Alfa Romeo. Ericsson is a known quantity who brings with him a decent chunk of cash, and while he’s not going to push Kimi Raikkonen, he’s also more likely to keep it out of the wall. Giovinazzi simply hasn’t contributed anything of significance in his 13 races so far – how likely is that to change with another eight?

Vettel the Number Two at Ferrari? A reaction that I think we all saw coming in the wake of Charles Leclerc’s victory in Belgium, the whole “is Seb Vettel still Ferrari’s number one driver?” discussion has been really kicked into overdrive. I’ll admit, I’ve done my part in the past to further that narrative, and yet while I’m certainly glad Vettel is being provided some competition, I still think it’s a tad premature.

The thing is, with the absolute disaster 2019 has been for the Scuderia in the championship standings, it’s also given them a fantastic opportunity post-summer break to let their drivers have a straight fight without the need for politicking. Right now, Leclerc is winning that battle, but there’s eight races still to go. Let’s see how Seb responds.

RIP Anthoine Hubert: There’s really nothing I want to add to what I said on Monday about this terrible tragedy, but as this is undoubtedly the story of the week, it would be remiss if I didn’t include it here. Our thoughts continue to be with the Hubert family, as well as Juan-Manuel Correa, who we wish a speedy recovery as he continues his recuperation in the UK.

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