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Page last updated at 19:05 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 20:05 UK

Probe into fatal Surtees accident

Motorsport legend mourns his son

Formula Two officials have confirmed a detailed investigation will be launched into the accident which claimed the life of teenage driver Henry Surtees.

The son of 1964 Formula One world champion John Surtees died in his car at Brands Hatch on Sunday after being struck by a loose wheel.

The 18-year-old suffered a major head injury in the accident.

F2 chief executive Jonathan Palmer said: "We will do everything possible to understand what happened and why."

Surtees was knocked unconscious by the loose wheel from the car of Jack Clarke while travelling at 120mph during a Formula Two race at the Kent circuit.

This is the saddest time in my 35 years of motor racing

F2 chief executive Jonathan Palmer

His car ploughed on into the tyre barrier, but Palmer confirmed that the fatal injury occurred in the collision with the wheel and not the impact at the following corner.

In a statement released on Monday, former grand prix driver Palmer vowed lessons would be learned in the wake of yesterday's tragedy.

"There will of course be a detailed investigation into the accident that claimed Henry's life and we will see what can be learnt from this freak accident," he said.

"Henry had joined Formula Two for this first season of the new championship and looked very likely to be a winner in F2 in the future and maybe even F1.

"This is the saddest time in my 35 years of motor racing and my deepest sympathies are with father John, mother Jane and their daughters Edwina and Leonora, together with other family and friends."

John Surtees, famously the only man to win world titles on both two wheels and four, earlier paid a moving tribute to his son.

He said: "Henry had followed his heart from the time he first sat in a kart.

"Despite bad luck in his motorsport, 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.

"Most importantly he was a nice person and a loving son. He will be deeply missed."

Motor sport's world governing body, the FIA, also extended its sympathies to the Surtees family in a statement released on Monday.

"Following yesterday's tragic accident, the FIA extends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Henry Surtees," it read.

"Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time."

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see also
Surtees 'aimed to emulate father'
20 Jul 09 |  Kent
Surtees' son killed in race crash
20 Jul 09 |  Kent

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