Former Formula One World Champion, John Surtees, has said that he hopes that lessons will be learned from his son’s death, to make racing safer.
Henry Surtees was tragically killed during a Formula Two race at Brands Hatch last month, after a loose wheel from another competitor’s car hit him on the head at speed.
In his first interview since his son’s death, given to the BBC , the 1964 World Champion attempted to come to terms with the reasons behind his son’s accident and said that he hoped progress would be made in improving driver safety.
“Why did that wheel come off and why was it able to travel at that velocity? asked Surtees.
“There are things to be learnt.
“Bernie Ecclestone was on the phone this morning talking to me about that very same thing.
“So we have got to make certain that his death isn’t in vain. There will be progress – this is the way that motorsport and competitive people are.”
Surtees also took time to reflect on the injuries sustained to Felipe Massa, six days later, during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Brazilian driver suffered a fractured skull in a similar accident to Surtees, as the Ferrari driver was struck on the helmet by a piece of bodywork.
“It is freakish, these coincidences, and out of it will come something better,” he said.
“I lived through a period when there were absolute tragedies to drivers, partly because of the circuits but partly because of the cars of the time.
“It wasn’t until the larger money came into motorsport that you got the safety levels you have today.
“Motor racing compared to other things is so very safe, that is the irony of it.”
Surtees had been present at Brands Hatch to watch his son’s final race.
“I reached down into the cockpit on the starting line at Brands Hatch, and we shook hands,” he said.
“We bid each other farewell, as it turned out.
“At the moment it is a big emptiness,” he said. “I still expect him to bounce through the door.
“We will just have to live with it and make sure we remember the good times.”
Henry was buried, last week, after a moving funeral service, conducted at Worth Abbey near Crawley, in West Sussex. At his funeral, the family had asked for donations to go to brain injury charity Headway.
The Surtees’ family are currently considering the creation of a foundation in Henry’s name.