Former F1 title winner John Surtees has paid tribute to his son Henry after the 18-year-old lost his life in a Formula Two accident at Brands Hatch.
Henry Surtees was competing in the second race of the weekend at Brands Hatch – having taken a maiden podium in the first race on Saturday – when he was involved in a freak accident exiting Westfield; being struck on the head by a wheel which had broken away from Jack Clarke's car when he went off into the barriers.
The teenager was knocked unconscious by the impact and his car went off into the barriers at Sheene before coming to rest. Medical crews were quickly at the scene and Surtees was treated at both the side of the track and at the circuit medical centre before being airlifted to the Royal London Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
However, despite the best efforts of medics, Surtees Jr was pronounced dead on Sunday evening from his injuries.
Despite his young age, Surtees Jr had already shown his talent in a range of formulae from karting through to Formula BMW, Formula Renault and Formula Three and his father said he was sure he could have gone all the way to the top.
“Henry had followed his heart from the time he first sat in a kart,” Surtees – the only man to win world titles on two and four wheels – said in a statement. “He treated seriously the balance between motorsport and school, having just finished his A-Levels.
“The world beckoned and he was thriving on the freedom to concentrate on his motorsport.
“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.”