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

  1. Rob R. said on 20th July 2009, 1:31

    This is terrible. The worst luck in the world…


  2. Melanie said on 20th July 2009, 1:32

    It is a sad day for motorsport, and it shows that motosport can still be dangerous. It was a very unfortunate incident.

    My condolences to the Surtees family.

  3. mkh1 said on 20th July 2009, 1:53

    It is truly sad to hear this news. Even so we all know the risks involved in racing, it’s always tragic when something like this happens.

    My condolences to the family and friends of Henry.

  4. Mark Hitchcock said on 20th July 2009, 4:32

    That’s terrible :(
    Any death in motorsport these days is a shock, especially when it’s someone so young.

    Sincere condolences to the Surtees family.


  5. The Limit said on 20th July 2009, 5:32

    I have just heard the news and viewed the footage, what a horrible freakish accident, 100% freakish. I was quite surprised, as at first it appears the tyre will roll harmlessly without incident. It seems to pick up a bit of speed before Surtees arrives on the scene, before bouncing, fatally at the wrong moment.
    I bet all the other drivers must be feeling this loss too. I could so easily have been them, but turned out to be this poor lad. My deepest sympathy to John Surtees and to their friends, this is a terrible blow to open wheel racing, and is something we have sadly seen all too often in the past.
    I hope this will not affect Brands Hatch too much, as in my opinion the circumstances could have occured anywhere. Its just that the tethers failed to do their job, and thats that.
    RIP Henry……………

  6. wasiF1 said on 20th July 2009, 5:34

    My deepest condolences to Henry’s family.

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

  7. John Beamer said on 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

  8. Tim said on 20th July 2009, 8:37

    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.

  9. mp4-19b said on 20th July 2009, 10:02

    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 :(

  10. mp4-19b said on 20th July 2009, 10:17

    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. :(

  11. mp4-19b said on 20th July 2009, 10:38

    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.

  12. Clare msj said on 20th July 2009, 10:42

    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.

  13. alan johnstone said on 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,

  14. 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,

  15. mani said on 20th July 2009, 11:21

    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?

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