Henry Surtees, son of 1964 F1 World Champion John Surtees, has died following an accident in an F2 race at Brands Hatch earlier today.
In an awful reminder that motorsport remains a dangerous sport, the 18-year-old was clouted over the head by a rogue tyre during a hotly-contested race at the Kent track. The incident came to pass as another driver, Jack Clarke, left the circuit at Westfield Bend. In Clarke’s ensuing collision with the barriers, in which he was unhurt, one of his wheels left his car and bounced across the track.
Surtees had the misfortune to be rounding the bend just as Clarke’s wheel was crossing it, and by chance the heavy wheel made direct contact with Surtees’ head. The first sign that something was amiss came as Surtees failed to negotiate the next corner, and instead crashed tamely into the barrier.
Surtees was treated by medical staff as soon as he came to a halt, and was admitted to hospital with severe head injuries. A short time later the confirmation came that Surtees – a promising young talent – had died from the blunt force impact sustained in the accident.
His father John Surtees holds the record for having won the world championship on both two wheels and four, and had recently talked up his son’s chances of making it to the pinnacle of motorsport. Today’s terrible accident will serve to remind the racing world that no-one is immune from the danger of motor racing, and that driver safety must be put above all other concerns.
John Surtees issued the following statement: “Henry had followed his heart from the time he first sat in a kart.
“Despite bad luck in his motorsport, he had shown himself to be one with the possibilities of reaching the very top. Despite his young age he had shown maturity, technical understanding and speed.
“Most importantly he was a nice person and a loving son. He will be deeply missed.”
Motor sport’s governing body, the FIA, also expressed their condolences to the Surtees family.
“Following yesterday’s tragic accident, the FIA extends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Henry Surtees,” it read.
“Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.”
The Forumula1.com team sends their sincere condolences to Henry’s family and friends.
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