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And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

Henry Surtees killed in F2 Crash

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Formula 2 whizz-kid, Henry Surtees

Formula 2 whizz-kid, Henry Surtees

The fledgling Motorsport, Formula 2, claimed the life today of racer Henry Surtees, 18.

He was running in 20th position when disaster struck ahead of him.  Jack Clarke had hit a wall, causing his car to disintegrate.  As it did so one of his wheels flew high and struck Mr Surtees on the top of his head.  As his car consequently hit the barrier we could see his hands were not on the wheel.

Henry's car

The accident took place at Brands Hatch, and Mr Surtees was treated at it’s medical centre.  Once stabilized he was flown to the Royal London Hospital, from where he was later pronounced dead.

HANS system

The HANS system was developed to protect the neck in the case of impact.  It can protect the neck from compression but it is little use in the case of impact to the skull.  Mr Surtees crash helmet will be examined, but it was never designed to withstand the impact of a heavy wheel falling on it from a great height.

Formula Two Chief Executive, Jonathan Palmer, issed this statement as Henry was flown to hospital but before it was known he had died.

“I would like to express my great sadness that Henry has been injured today. An accident like this would obviously raise high levels of concern and we await further news on Henry’s condition from the hospital. This is clearly a very worrying time for John and Jane Surtees. Our thoughts are with them and we will be providing all the support we can.”

Possibly the last photo taken of Henry

Possibly the last photo taken of Henry

Henry Surtees was a man struck down just as his career was taking off.  The son of former F1 champion John Surtees, he had started out racing carts on minor tracks.  He won the junior Gearbox championship in 2005 before moving on to cars proper.  His first race was in the Ginetta Junior series before moving up to FormulaBMW, where he delivered some success.  From there he took a brief two-race stint in Formula Renault before moving up to the maiden series of Formula Two.  Only yesterday he scored a podium finish in third place.

Formula 2 is managed by Motor Sports Vision and the cars are manufactured by Williams F1.  They are an accredited member of the FIA.

I would lke to take this opportunity to pass on my sincerest condolences to Mr Surtees’ family.


Written by Nick Gilmartin

July 19, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Posted in Motorsport

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