News in brief 03.09.19

A glimpse at other Renault Sport news from both the UK and elsewhere around the world…
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Anthoine Hubert, 1996-2019

We regret to report the death of Renault Sport Racing Academy driver Anthoine Hubert, aged just 22.

Anthoine died from injuries he suffered in a crash during the FIA Formula 2 Championship’s feature race during Formula 1’s Belgian Grand Prix event at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday (30 Aug).

He had previously raced in the Formula Renault Eurocup before becoming the FIA GP3 Champion in 2018. He had also already won twice this year in F2 at Monaco and Paul Ricard.

In a statement, RSR said it was “devastated at the loss of one of its brightest young talents”.

RSR Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul described Anthoine as “a bright young man”, adding: “His performance and conduct on and off track was that of a true gentleman and it was a pleasure and honour to have had him within our Academy.

“He will be sorely missed by our teams at Enstone and Viry. His spirit will remain with the team and we will race in his memory.”

Spider Men!

We couldn’t resist this pic: during the recent German Formula 1 Grand Prix at Hockenheim, Renault drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo were paraded before the crowd in two rare examples of the manufacturer’s Sport Spider sportscar.

Both were all smiles at the wheel of the mid-engined machines – in spite of the cars being open-topped in the rain (although home hero Hülkenberg’s local weather knowledge must have played its part as he was the only one of the two to take an umbrella)!

The Sport Spider was introduced in the mid-Nineties and built with both road and track in mind with championships for the car in mainland Europe and the UK being held.

It is estimated around 100 were imported to the UK and some can still be seen at car enthusiast shows. Of note, 2019 marks 20 years since the last one rolled off the production line (see separate story).

Jean-Paul Driot

We regret to report the death of Jean-Paul Driot, joint team principal of the Renault e.DAMS team that dominated the FIA Formula E Championship in 2015/16.

Driot, who passed away aged 68, was a senior figure in international motorsport in his own right but in more recent times had been in charge of the Renault e.DAMS project alongside Renault F1 legend Alain Prost.

Renault e.DAMS remains arguably the most successful outfit to date in FIA Formula E, winning three consecutive teams’ titles in the 2014/2015, 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 seasons. It also won the drivers’ crown in 2015/16 with Swiss driver Sébastien Buemi.

Interestingly, the ‘D’ in DAMS stood for Driot and, initially, the ‘A’ for Arnoux – that’s right; another Renault F1 great in Rene Arnoux until Driot went it alone in the late Eighties.

Driot is pictured with Prost and Buemi after their FE title success in 2016.

All level in Eurocup title chase

As we went to press it was a tie at the top of the Formula Renault Eurocup standings after the latest rounds at Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps circuit (26-27).

Australia’s Oscar Piastri took his third victory of the season to add to his two wins at Silverstone, UK in May and this has helped draw him level at the top of the leaderboard with France’s Victor Martins.

However, Italian Lorenzo Columbo also took a win at Spa and he remains in contention in third overall.