Henry Surtees dies after F2 crash

I’ve just heard the terrible news that Henry Surtees, son of former F1 champion John Surtees, died today following a crash in a Formula 2 race at Brands Hatch. He was 18 years old.

The accident happened in the second of the day’s F2 races. Surtees’ crash helmet struck a wheel which had been lost by another car, which is believed to have knocked him unconscious. His car ran straight on at the next bend, Sheene Corner, and into the barriers.

Formula 2 was re-formed this season having been wound up at the end of 1984. The Brands Hatch rounds were the fifth and sixth races in this year’s championship.

The single-specification cars are built by Williams and the championship is run by ex-F1 racer Jonathan Palmer, who also owns Brands Hatch. Palmer’s son Jolyon races in the championship, as well as Martin Brundle’s son Alex.

My thoughts are with Henry’s family at this terrible time.

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55 comments on Henry Surtees dies after F2 crash

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  1. Spawinte said on 19th July 2009, 22:28

    This is really awful. I just saw it on youtube, hard to believe the tyre could do so much damage through the helmet.

    • Damon said on 20th July 2009, 15:22

      The tyre didn’t do damage “through” the helmet. When hitting his helmet, the tyre pressed his head down with a brutal force – and this must’ve crushed his neck. The head could’ve been not even injured.

      A very tragic accident, so unlucky.

  2. James Brickles said on 19th July 2009, 22:31

    That is really tragic. All my condolences are with the Surtees family.

    Rest in peace Henry :(

  3. Randy said on 19th July 2009, 22:39

    I watched the race live this morning and feared the worst from the moment the accident happened. The cars are fitted with tire tethers. Although the chassis are very safe these days and fires very rare there still exists the possibility of debris strikes in open cockpits. I recently read that Vettel once had a finger almost completely severed in such an incident. My condolences to the family.

  4. SoLiD said on 19th July 2009, 22:43

    Luckely it doesn’t happen so often anymore.
    But very sad, bit of a freak accident :(

  5. StrFerrari4Ever said on 19th July 2009, 22:44

    This is truly sad for motorsport a great young prospect dying due to a tyre hitting him in the head. When I heard about this they said he was unconscious then I saw rumours that he was dead and indeed he was truly sad day and safety of the drivers has to be improved even in the junior series.

    R.I.P Henry Surtees

  6. Sriram said on 19th July 2009, 22:52

    Just terrible. My deepest condolences to Henry’s family.

  7. gabal said on 19th July 2009, 22:52

    A freak accident and a horrible tragedy… RIP

  8. donwatters said on 19th July 2009, 23:04

    My heartfelt sympathies to John and his family.

  9. Tragic. Having seen the accident it was so incredibly unlucky for Surtees, a couple of inches either way and it might not have been so bad.

    With F2 a new series it is tragic for them too, to suffer such a dreadful loss so early on.

    Unfortunately the risks of single-seater racing will never be completely eliminated, but it’s merciful that incidents like this are so rare these days.

  10. Stoo said on 19th July 2009, 23:41

    Terrible incident :(

  11. sato113 said on 19th July 2009, 23:48

    am surprised the tethers didnt work. although there are examples in recent f1- sutil’s wheel in China (2009) flew off in a crash and hit heidfeld’s car. coulthard monaco qualy (2008) and a few more.
    my thoughts are with his family, RIP.

    • mjac said on 20th July 2009, 0:07

      Dreadful news, my condolences to his family and friends.
      The F2 cars are designed with safety as a paramount concern, there is always this risk with open cockpit cars.
      Horrible blow to his family and friends, and also to F2 in it’s debut year. A real shame.

  12. Bartholomew said on 20th July 2009, 0:04

    R.I.P. Henry What a terrible tragedy for John and the family. Surtees is a glorious name to have been continued in the racing world.
    I guess this can happen anytime, really.
    Our thoughts and our prayers with the family

  13. vet4snak said on 20th July 2009, 0:17

    RIP Henry

    It was devastating for the whole motor-sport world. Safety should be of utmost importance for the sport. Hopefully improvements can be made soon.

  14. ajokay said on 20th July 2009, 0:37

    I just had a look on Youtube. That was the most unlucky and unfortuate incident. At that speed it didn’t even look like the tyre hit with any force, or even at all. So incredibly sad.

    rest in peace Henry.

  15. Aaron Shearer said on 20th July 2009, 1:15

    My sincere condolences to the Surtees family.

    Such a tragic loss of life at such a young age. May you rest in peace Henry! :(

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