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John Surtees Urges the FIA to Learn from His Son's Death

Losing a son is never easy, and former F1 champion John Surtees is experiencing plenty of that these days. As his 19-year old son Henry lost his life during an F2 race a few weeks ago, John is still able to look at it as a lesson to be learnt by the entire motorsport world.

Henry Surtees was hit by a wheel coming from one of his rivals' car during the Brands Hatch race a few weekends ago, and later hit a tire barrier at full speed. His death was recorded later in the hospital, as there was nothing the doctors could do to prevent it.

Looking back at that unfortunate accident, father John sent a warning to all FIA-sanctioned series to improve their safety standards in the future. Investigating the incident – alongside what happened to Felipe Massa during the Hungarian GP – and taking the necessary measures is something Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley should consider top priority for the moment, argued Surtees.

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. There are things to be learnt. Bernie Ecclestone was on the phone this morning talking to me about that very same thing,” said Surtees in an interview with the BBC South News.

The Brit also reckoned that these latest incidents – his son's death, Massa's accident and Fernando Alonso's losing a wheel during the Hungarian GP – came as a shock for the motor racing world, especially since it happened in a time when safety standards are at a very high level in all FIA-sanctioned competitions.

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,” added Surtees.


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