Motor sport is, and always will be, dangerous.
We were reminded that in the most horrible of ways on Saturday. Anthione Hubert was competing in his first season of Formula 2 after winning the GP3 series in 2018 and was widely tipped for a Formula 1 drive in the future, after winning two races so far in 2019. He was also a Renault academy driver too, after receiving full backing from the French manufacturer this year.
A tragic accident at Eau Rogue involving Juan Manuel Correa and Giuliano Alesi on Saturday tore Hubert’s car apart. The planned F2 weekend was cancelled and the news of the 22-year-old’s passing was released a few hours later. A minute’s silence was held before the race and Charles Leclerc dedicated his first F1 victory to his friend and former racing rival.
When F2 was announced as a new feature to F1 2019, Codemasters made it clear that they would be adding the 2019 crop of Formula 2 drivers into the game after its release in addition to the 2018 drivers, which were available from the start. The British developers announced a few weeks back that the current drivers and more pre-F1 challenges will be added to career mode “soon”.
Hubert’s death raises an interesting ethical dilemma for Codies, though, as the question of whether the late Frenchman should be included in the game has to be asked. There’s good and valid points for and against, so we’ll present the facts so you can make your own mind up.
It’s impossible to say whether Hubert would have wanted to still be included in the F1 game if he were to die, nobody would’ve considered that possibility, because it’s extremely disrespectful to do so. Some people called for the weekend’s Formula 1 and 3 races to be cancelled, but Anthione wouldn’t have wanted that, he was a racer after all.
There’s definitely a case to be made that this logic should be applied to the F1 game too. Removing Hubert from F1 2019 would erasing some of his legacy and I believe it would be far more disrespectful to do that than keep him as a part of the game for all of time.
Correa could well find himself replaced in the F1 game, as it’s doubtful he’ll compete in the rest of the F2 season thanks to his injuries, but that’s at the discretion of Codemasters.
On a neutral point, we should also cast our eyes back to the last time someone died in a Formula 1 car in 2014. Jules Bianchi was an incredibly talented young driver who was competing in just his second season of F1 when he had a fatal accident at that year’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Bianchi wasn’t removed from F1 2014, despite missing the rest of the season, but there are two key differences to this. Jules didn’t actually pass away until the following year and Marussia (his team at the time) never replaced him, as they went into financial meltdown towards the end of the season.
Some may say that it’s disrespectful to include Hubert, he should be laid to rest and left alone. However, removing the Frenchman from the game when he’s competed in more than half of the F2 season could be considered both immoral and inaccurate. Furthermore, do you really think that Codies will include Hubert in the game without consulting his family first? I didn’t think so.
Plus, the whole “it’s wrong to play as a someone who isn’t alive anymore” doesn’t hold much water when you consider you can play as Ayrton Senna in the Senna v Prost mode. Although, Senna has been dead for 25 years now, Hubert has been gone for less than 25 days, some may consider this “too soon”.
Whatever the decision Codemasters make, they should be backed, as it’s a sensitive topic that has no black or white definitive answer. One thing’s for sure, though, if Hubert is included in the update, it’ll be a very emotional drive in his Arden F2 car for millions of gamers around the world.
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