Henry Surtees (l) had his first F2 podium finish on Saturday
The son of motorsport legend John Surtees has been killed in a “freak” accident during a Formula Two (F2) race at Brands Hatch in Kent.
Henry Surtees, 18, was flown to the Royal London Hospital after he was struck by a wheel which flew off Jack Clarke’s car.
Sunday’s race was red flagged while Surtees was removed from the scene.
His father won the Formula One World Championship in 1964 having previously won seven motorcycle world titles.
The accident happened between the circuit’s Westfield Bend and Sheene Curve.
Clarke’s car hit a tyre wall and a wheel came off, hitting Henry Surtees on the head and knocking him unconscious.
The teenager’s car then struck the trackside barriers.
A spokeswoman for South East Coast Ambulance Service said Surtees was taken from the scene by helicopter.
Surtees ‘aimed to emulate father’
On Saturday, Surtees had claimed his first F2 podium finish, coming third in the opening race of the Brands Hatch weekend.
David Croft, the BBC 's Radio 5 Live motorsport correspondent, said it was “a freak, deeply tragic and horrible accident that can happen in what is a dangerous sport”.
He said: "It was such a freak crash.
"A few hundredths of a second later, Henry Surtees would have been fine.
"Sadly, he was coming up to the tyre right at the moment it bounced into the air.
“He was very much an up-and-coming star. Good things were expected of him.”
No-one from Brands Hatch was available for comment.
You tube have some clips of the accident, but felt inappropriate to post here.
Very fast part of the circuit and probably one of the two closest parts of the GP circuit to the surrounding residents (Viking Way, Hever Avenue/Neal Road is the other, both in West Kingsdown). I hope that this does not give creedence to the reduction or elimination of the full GP circuit section.
I’d suggest that the circuit rename the corner after him, but then there would be two corners called Surtees.
There have been too many incidents at Brands over the last year or so
Plus a couple of people that I know who are not reported in the general press who have either been in a coma or had a very big scare.
Jonathan Palmer has been considering making some improvements to the circuit in recent years but politics and business/the credit crunch have got in the way. I dont think they should be delayed any longer and do not want to see this circuit go the way of Croft.
Didn’t know much about Henry, but John Surtees was a great driver, and rider of course.I’m not sure you can blame the track in this instance, as it seems such a “freak” accident, although clearly you can always improve with longer run-off areas etc.
Motorsport is a dangerous activity and you can’t remove all possible risks. It’s come a long way since his father’s day, but let’s be careful not to blame Brands before we have a review and then, if it’s found wanting, try and improve by all means. Sounds more like possible improvements in keeping the wheels attached to me though.
I don’t know about the other accidents, but this one seems like the track didn’t really have anything to do with the fatality. I know in F1 they made a big deal out of making sure the wheels stay attached to the car at all times (doesn’t always work, but usually it does), which would possibly have saved a live on Sunday.
I wasnt blaming the track. I was saying that it might seem that way and people might start to use that as another reason why it should become more restricted. Hence as much as possible needs to be done to show that the circuit has gone out of its way to improve life for its users.
Don’t remember too much press about the track marshall killed by a flying off wheel at the Australian GP a couple of years back. (That’s when they introduced wheel tethers in F1.) But he was simply a husband, a father and a simple Joe that gave his time for free to a sport he loved.
Yes, Henry Surtees death was tragic accident but these things happen in motor racing, and on the road. Mike Hailwood died how? Bill Ivy died how?
My sympathy to the Surtees family, but a bit of perspective is needed. Henry is not the first and won’t be the last to go from a “freak accident”.