Death in motor sport has thankfully become something of a rarity in recent years, which given the fact that drivers pound their bodies and machines around circuits at terrifying speed is a true testament to the tireless work on improving safety. However, despite the decline in frequency of the sport seeing one of its competitors perish, it is all too shocking when it does. This evening, Henry Surtees passed away. Henry was just eighteen years old. The motor sporting world has lost one of its rising talents.
Henry Surtees, son of 1964 Formula One world champion John, was struck in the head by a stray wheel and tyre which had come from the car of Jack Clarke who suffered his own accident in this afternoon’s Formula Two race at Brands Hatch. Surtees was knocked unconscious and his car didn’t make the following corner. Marshals and medics were quick on the scene at Sheene Corner, and removed Henry from the car before taking him to the medical centre. Having been stabilised at the track, Henry was airlifted to the Royal London hospital. A spokesperson for the hospital later announced the untimely death of the young racing driver.
Henry had been competing in the inaugural rebirth season of Formula Two, a low-cost series set up by the FIA to help drivers progress through the ranks of motor sport. Undoubtedly the accident will be very thoroughly investigated, but reasons as to how and why can wait. This evening the Surtees family are grieving the sudden loss of their son, a driven individual who although young, had achieved so much already.
My sincere condolences to the Surtees family at this difficult time.