Surtees pays tribute after son’s fatal race crash
LONDON (AP)—Former Formula One champion John Surtees paid tribute Monday to his teenage son, who died in a race crash over the weekend.
Henry Surtees was struck by a tire from another car, causing him to lose consciousness and drive into a barrier in an F2 race at Brands Hatch on Sunday. He was airlifted to a hospital in London, where he was pronounced dead.
His father, who won the F1 title in 1964, said 18-year-old Henry had just left school and was focusing on his racing career.
“The world beckoned and he was thriving on the freedom to concentrate on his motor sport,” John Surtees said in a statement. “Despite bad luck in his motor sport, he had shown himself to be one with the possibilities of reaching the very top. Despite his young age he had shown maturity, technical understanding and speed.”
Surtees, the only man to be a Grand Prix world champion on two and four wheels, said Henry had been inspired to race at an early age.
“Henry had followed his heart from the time he first sat in a kart,” said the 75-year-old Surtees, who won his F1 title driving for Ferrari and ran his own race team in the 1970s.
Henry starred last year in the Formula Renault UK Championship and F3 class, earning a promotion to F2 where he got his first podium finish Saturday. He placed third in the opening race at Brands Hatch.
“He treated seriously the balance between motor sport and school. Most importantly, he was a nice person and a loving son. He will be deeply missed,” Surtees said.
Governing body FIA also issued a statement mourning the loss of Surtees.
“Following yesterday’s tragic accident, the FIA extends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Henry Surtees,” the organization said Monday. “Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.”