Henry Surtees dies after F2 crash

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

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.

55 comments on “Henry Surtees dies after F2 crash”

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  1. My deepest condolences to Henry’s family.

    Why can’t these cars be safe enough.He is so young.

  2. John Beamer
    20th July 2009, 7:19

    There is clearly an issue with the tyres in F2. Surtees also lost a wheel – it didn’t appeared to be tethered. It seems to me as though a well tethered tyre would have stopped this tragic accident

  3. Motor racing is dangerous and this looked to be the type of freak accident that is very difficult to predict. The only consolation to be had in these circumstances is that Henry Surtees died doing what he loved doing.

  4. sad and very tragic news. its so ironical that he died driving a williams designed car. may your young soul rest in peace. 18 is not the age to die. i’m devastated :(

  5. this has absolutely broken me. i’m unable to do anything. i feel so numb. i feel just like may 1st 1994. i dont feel like doing anything. i dunno why? but i had tears rolling down when i saw that video. he is the most unluckiest driver. john himself survived horrible crashes in the 60’s, yet his son died in 2009. i dunno. maybe i’ll stop following motorsport from now. i really dunno. i dont wanna blame anyone, but god. god is an idiot, who didn’t show mercy upon this young boy. god you are a loser. :(

  6. i think the time has come for motorsport, including formula 1 to have closed cockpits. this is absolutely appealing, to watch hear & experience. even though i’ve never heard of henry, i feel very very sad.

  7. Sincere condolences to the Surtees family – my thoughts are with them, their friends, and Jack Clarke whose car the wheel came from.

    Such a terrible accident, there was nothing that could have been done by either driver – just very very unlucky. Such a tragic loss of a life so young.

    What concerns me is how easily the wheels came off both cars – I thought a lot had been done about the wheel tethers in motorsport after the two accidents involving marshals in 2001/2002 in F1.

    RIP Henry.

  8. alan johnstone
    20th July 2009, 10:53

    another sad reminder the sport i love can be so cruel ,how very sad a young life lost in such a freak accident ,motor sport by its very nature harbours risks ,we all no that ,such a freak accident thankfully is very very rare but thats no consolution to the surtees family ,john himself raced at a time when the risk were so much greater ,deaths were all too common ,but henrys crash beggars belief ,alan johnstone,

  9. RIP Henry,

    but freakish accident. They driver who hit the tree ( !!! ) seems to have had a more massive crash than Henry. Unfortunate that the wheel of his car would cause such a huge accident,

  10. Really sad to hear… He should be so unlucky to have that tyre hit him on the helmet!

    I go with others, who suggest a closed cockpit for all open wheel series… I think it is far beyond our discussions (to have it or not), even if we don’t like it or even if it adds any further disadvantage to the racing, it is absolutely necessary for the safety of those who race out there!

    Can’t they come up with a better regulations for suspensions, that would prevent these tyres from cutting loose from the car during accidents?

  11. Chris Smith
    20th July 2009, 11:28

    I was lucky enough to work for JS in the 70’s and many drivers were killed in that era. Improvements over the decades has made the risks more manageable but to experience such a tragic loss by a freak accident is just awful. My sincere condolences to the John and his family.

  12. Williams 4ever
    20th July 2009, 13:12

    Tragic Incident. Sincere Condolances to the Surtees Family on their loss

  13. Bigbadderboom
    20th July 2009, 14:18

    My deepest condolences to Henry’s family, tragic and terrible, my thoughts are with them.

  14. What sad sad news, first race weekend I see of F2 a familiar name doing well.. then this weird accident. Condolances to everybody close to this boy.

  15. Condolences to the Surtees family. A terrible tragedy in taking part in that which has given them so much.

    If there was a problem with the tethers then I hope an investigation will reveal any failings. However one must consider that any tether is not of infinite strength or capability. There will always be unpredictable forces for which no tether is sufficient. These are the inherent dangers of motor racing.

  16. Henry will be rememebered as a very lovely young man with a huge disire for life and for a future in motor racing. I was very lucky to have known Henry from a baby and watched him grow into a gorgeous child and then an amazing teenager. Everyone is deverstated at such a great loss, he will be greatly missed by all of us who knew him and the motor racing industry. RIP x

  17. Very sad….so young.He was just getting his career started.I know if I had my way that I would leave this planet doing what I love but,it doesn’t make it any easier on the ones that love you.

    My condolences to the Surtees family.
    R.I.P. Henry

  18. My condolences to the Surtees family…

  19. does anybody know what actually killed him? they say it was hitting the wall but i believe he must of died instantly! does anybody know fore sure?

  20. A few days have passed, and interesting how we still didn’t hear anything from Max & FIA about the incident. This is the FIA Formula 2 series afterall.

    This is so sad and cruel.

    RIP Henry.

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