Henry Surtees, the son of former F1 World Champion John Surtees, has died following an accident during the second FIA Formula Two Championship race of the weekend at Brands Hatch.
The 18-year-old was involved in a freak accident during the race when he was struck on the head by an errant wheel that had broken away from the car of Jack Clarke after he went off into the barriers on the exit of Westfield.
The impact saw Surtees knocked unconscious and his car went off the road into the tyre barriers at Sheene before coming to a halt on the side of the circuit. With the race red-flagged, Surtees was treated by medical teams at the scene before being taken to the medical centre where he was prepared for transfer by air ambulance to the regional trauma centre at the Royal London Hospital.
Despite the best efforts of medical staff, Surtees died from his injuries early on Sunday evening.
Born in 1991, Surtees soon started following in the footsteps of his father – the only man to win world titles on four-wheels and two-wheels – when he launched a karting career at the age of eight and rose through the ranks to secure the Junior Gearbox crown in 2005.
The following year saw Surtees move into car racing with an entry into the Ginetta Junior Championship, finishing third in the standings at the conclusion of his maiden season outside of karts.
His career took a turn towards single-seaters in 2007 with an entry into the final year of the Formula BMW UK Championship where he finished seventh in the standings after a campaign that saw him pick up eight podium finishes and victory at Donington Park. Surtees also finished second in the rookie standings behind Swede Marcus Ericsson. As well as his FBMW commitments, Surtees contested the final two races of the Formula Renault UK Championship and the annual Winter Series prior to a full-season assault on Formula Renault in 2008.
That season saw Surtees finish twelfth in the championship standings, while he also made his debut in Formula 3 with an entry in the National Class for the season finale at Donington Park. Running with the same Carlin team that had taken him into single-seaters in Formula BMW, Surtees celebrated his debut with class victory in the opening race before following it up with second in race two. A second assault on the Formula Renault Winter Series saw Surtees take second in the standings behind James Calado.
With F2 returning to the motorsport arena for the 2009 season, Surtees took the opportunity to move up the motorsport ladder. After taking his maiden pole position at Brno, Surtees had secured his first podium finish in the opening race of the weekend at Brands Hatch.
extends its sympathies to Henry's family and friends at this difficult time.