R.I.P. Henry Surtees


Staff Member
Lest we forget how dangerous motor racing is, 18 year old Henry Surtees, son of John Surtees, has died following an accident during an F2 race.

What started as a normal incident turned bizarre when a loose wheel from Jack Clarke's crashed car bounced onto the track and struck Henry on the head.
Watching the race, it seemed such an innocuous accident but obviously the speed Henry was travelling at, combined with the weight of the wheel resulted in serious injury.
Even more tragic when you think of the era of racing that John Surtees survived and how much safer racing is today.

Does any one know if all modern open wheel cars have tyre teathers as seen in formula one or are they only specific to F1?

It's amazing the number of injuries caused by tyres but can anything more be done to prevent it?
Desperately sad news this morning. My heart really goes out to all his family and friends. Goodness only knows how his father must be feeling.

It's an interesting question about wheel tethers and I don't have the answer. If it leads to an improvement in safety then perhaps some good can eventually come from this tragedy.
cider_and_toast said:
Does any one know if all modern open wheel cars have tyre teathers as seen in formula one or are they only specific to F1?
I don't know about the other series but F2 did apparently comply with the FIA F1 standards.

Palmer explained how the Williams designed F2 chassis’ comply with the FIA 2005 F1 safety standards including the fitment of wheel tethers to reduce the risk of wheels coming off in accidents but also pointed out that such tethers can fail.
Concerning the failure of tethers, I recall seeing a few F1 crashes last year which resulted in wheels coming loose.

Full story: Palmer promises investigation into fatal F2 incident
According to the Formula 2 technical regulations with regards to safety it says that the cars must comply with certain articles listed in the F1 2009 technical regulations. Unfortunatly the regulation dealing with wheel tethers which is Article 14.7 of the FIA Formula one technical regulations is not listed as one that is required in Formula 2. As a result I'm not sure if the cars were fitted with this safety feature? If they weren't and especially in light of Palmers quote it could prove to be a very tragic oversight.

Formula 2 2009 tech regs below:

http://lavande.fia.com/web/fia-public.n ... 5-2009.pdf

Formula 1 2009 tech regs below:

http://argent.fia.com/web/fia-public.ns ... 3-2009.pdf
having re-read Jonathon Palmers statement, there can be no doubt that the cars were indeed fitted with the wheel tethers. As we have seen in F1 these systems are by no means fool proof and you have to wonder what re-design could take place if any. The only thing you could do is make the tether stronger by adding more strands.

Of course we will have to wait for the official investigation however it would seem to be another tragic motor racing accident.
Found this on the BBC text coverage of practice in Hungary and thought it was quite touching:

New boy Jaime Alguersuari has the message 'Ciao Henry' on the side of his helmet, a tribute to Henry Surtees, who died during a Formula 2 race last weekend. The pair drove together in Formula 3 last year. "This weekend was going to be perhaps the best of my life," said the 19-year-old before arriving in Hungary. "But now there is a shadow. My prayers go out to his family and for everyone involved in motorsport it is very sad news. I will try to do my best in the future and for the Surtees family this weekend."
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