Surtees urges improvements in safety

John Surtees has said that he hopes lessons will be learned from the death of his son Henry to continue to make motorsport safer

Surtees urges improvements in safety

The 18-year-old son of the 1964 Formula 1 world champion died from head injuries after being struck by a wheel and tyre in a Formula 2 race at Brands Hatch last month.

Following Felipe Massa's accident in Hungary last weekend, when he was hit on the helmet by a spring at more than 160mph, Surtees is eager for changes to be made to reduce the risk of similar incidents in future.

"Why did that wheel come off and why was it able to travel at that velocity? There are things to be learnt," Surtees told BBC South News. "Bernie Ecclestone was on the phone this morning talking to me about that very same thing.

"We have got to make certain that his death isn't in vain. There will be progress - this is the way that motorsport and competitive people are."

Surtees said that Massa had already spoken to him following Henry's accident, before the Hungarian Grand Prix, and that both incidents were "freaks" by modern safety standards.

"It is freakish, these coincidences, and out of it will come something better. I lived through a period when there were absolute tragedies to drivers, partly because of the circuits but partly because of the cars of the time. It wasn't until the larger money came into motorsport that you got the safety levels you have today.

"Motor racing compared to other things is so very safe, that is the irony of it."

Surtees also spoke about his son in his first interview since Henry's death on July 19.

"I reached down into the cockpit on the starting line at Brands Hatch and we shook hands," he added. "We bid each other farewell, as it turned out.

"At the moment it is a big emptiness, I still expect him to bounce through the door. We will just have to live with it and make sure we remember the good times."

The family is in the process of setting up the Henry Surtees Foundation and asked for donations at his funeral to go to brain injury charity Headway.

shares
comments
Racing review: All the results
Previous article

Racing review: All the results

Next article

Sims takes Aston Martin prize test

Sims takes Aston Martin prize test
Load comments
The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under Plus

The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under

Joey Mawson made waves in the middle of the last decade, beating future Haas Formula 1 driver Mick Schumacher - among other highly-rated talents - to the 2016 German F4 title. A run in F1's feeder GP3 category only caused his career to stall, but now back in Australia Mawson's S5000 title success has set that to rights

General
May 8, 2021
The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing Plus

The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing

OPINION: The greed-driven push for a European Super League that threatened to tear football apart is collapsing at the seams. Motor racing's equivalent, the football-themed Superleague Formula series of 2008-11, was everything that the proposed ESL never could be

General
Apr 21, 2021
The F1 and Indy 'nearly man' that found contentment in Japan Plus

The F1 and Indy 'nearly man' that found contentment in Japan

Having had the door to F1 slammed in his face and come within three laps of winning the Indianapolis 500, the collapse of a Peugeot LMP1 shot meant Japan was Bertrand Baguette's last chance of a career. But it's one which he has grasped with both hands

General
Feb 27, 2021
The female all-rounder who arrived "too early" Plus

The female all-rounder who arrived "too early"

From Formula 3 to truck racing, Dakar and EuroNASCAR via a winning stint in the DTM, there's not much Ellen Lohr hasn't seen in a stellar racing career that highlights the merit in being a generalist. But she believes her career came too early...

General
Feb 17, 2021
How Radical's latest machines fare on track Plus

How Radical's latest machines fare on track

The lightweight sportscar manufacturer has not rewritten the rulebook with its latest machines, but the new SR3 XX and SR10 still provide a step forward on its previous successful models

General
Feb 8, 2021
The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction Plus

The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction

The forthcoming Netflix film linking the world of underworld crime and motorsport plays on a theme that isn't exactly new. Over the years, several shady figures have attempted to make it in racing before their dubious dealings caught up with them

General
Jan 31, 2021
How a GP is thriving in a COVID-free territory Plus

How a GP is thriving in a COVID-free territory

The New Zealand Grand Prix's mix of rising talent and big-name stars thrilled the crowds (yes, remember crowds?) assembled for the Toyota Racing Series meeting at Hampton Downs last weekend and left distant observers craving a repeat

General
Jan 26, 2021
How a much-changed Macau GP kept the party going Plus

How a much-changed Macau GP kept the party going

OPINION: The 67th edition of the Macau Grand Prix might have been a largely muted affair to the outside world without its international influx and star line-ups, another victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organisers deserve huge credit for keeping the party going

General
Nov 24, 2020