JULY 19, 2009

Henry Surtees 1991-2009

Henry Surtees, the 18-year-old son of Formula 1 World Champion John Surtees, has died after an accident in the Formula 2 race at Brands Hatch. Jack Clarke spun his car at the exit of Westfield, hitting the barriers with the left rear corner of the car. The wheel was torn off and bounced back on to the circuit, hitting Surtees as he arrived at the scene. The car continued on up to Sheene's Curve (formerly known as Dingle Dell) at unabated pace and went straight on into the barriers there. There was no sign of any attempt to brake and the accelerator was jammed on after the impact with the barriers, although the car came to rest as one of the rear wheels had been torn off.

The driver did not move at all in the cockpit after the crash. Medical teams were on the scene immediately and Surtees was taken to the circuit medical centre before being transferred by helicopter to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, one of the foremost trauma units in Britain. His parents John and Jane Surtees were both at the circuit watching the race.

It was perhaps inevitable that Surtees would follow his father into racing. John Surtees was a seven times motorcycle World Champion and won the F1 title in 1964. He went on to run his own F1 team. Henry Surtees was born when his father was 57, but was racing karts at the age of eight. He moved on to single-seater racing in Formula BMW and then moved to Formula Renault in 2008 with Manor Motorsport. He finished 12th in the championship but moved to up to Formula 2 this year and has scored his best result of the year - third - in the race before the accident occurred.

The Formula 2 cars are fitted with wheel tethers and the head protection conforms to the latest F1 standards.

Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.