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John Surtees Interview


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#1 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 03:30

His first interview since the tragic loss of Henry.

http://www.autosport...rt.php/id/77554

They will be establishing a "Henry Surtees Foundation" and all donations should be made to the charity "Headway".

I have no doubt improvements will be looked into and some additional safety measures will be developed.

My thoughts and Best Wishes go to the Surtees family in this challenging time.

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#2 fanboy

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 03:35

I feel sorry for him but we need objective, rational professionals to be working on safety, and Surtees snr is not that. I really hope rational heads prevail and we dont see a terrible knee jerk reaction that with undermine the sport.

Edited by fanboy, 05 August 2009 - 03:36.


#3 David M. Kane

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 04:11

Fanboy:

With all due respect have you ever been in a serious racing accident? It hurts a lot btw...

#4 Yellowmc

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 04:23

I feel sorry for him but we need objective, rational professionals to be working on safety, and Surtees snr is not that. I really hope rational heads prevail and we dont see a terrible knee jerk reaction that with undermine the sport.


He may not be at the head of it all but this is a guy who won championships on both 2 and 4 wheels in an era where deaths were common in all motorsports. He has far more knowledge, understanding and now the personal attachment in relation to safety within motorsports.

#5 fanboy

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 05:08

Fanboy:

With all due respect have you ever been in a serious racing accident? It hurts a lot btw...


With all due respect, I dont need to be shot to understand bullets hurt.

#6 Tolyngee

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 05:19

With all due respect, I dont need to be shot to understand bullets hurt.


True, but it couldn't now though, either... could it?

#7 pRy

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 08:10

Fanboy:

With all due respect have you ever been in a serious racing accident? It hurts a lot btw...


I'm not too sure what point you're trying to make with this reply. Fanboy expressed the opinion that if any changes are to be made, they need to be clearly thought over and not an emotional knee jerk reaction, and I agree with that opinion. What we don't need is an emotional response to what appears to have been a couple of freak accidents, although changes to the tyres wouldn't do any harm at all. Serious racing accidents will always happen and they will always hurt.

#8 undersquare

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 09:02

For some reason it often needs an emotional impetus to get rational changes under way. Like when Derek Warwick's brother was killed again an old-fashioned earth bank. Quite right that it shouldn't be a knee-jerk reaction, but there must be a reaction. Doing nothing would be the greatest insult, just to accept it and wait for the next time. There are things that can be done to make it less likely, and they should be done.

#9 kar

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 09:13

For some reason it often needs an emotional impetus to get rational changes under way. Like when Derek Warwick's brother was killed again an old-fashioned earth bank. Quite right that it shouldn't be a knee-jerk reaction, but there must be a reaction. Doing nothing would be the greatest insult, just to accept it and wait for the next time. There are things that can be done to make it less likely, and they should be done.


I agree. But I also, in part, agree with Arrow's point. You need emotional impetus to force through change. But change needs to be the result of cold-blooded science and research. Not hasty reactionarism.

The methodical, science driven approach of the FIA institute is the best model to follow. How to deal with, albeit freak, head impacts needs research. Yeah, it is rare it happens, but if research and safety development can improve the survival rate in the few accidents of this type that occur - then that is a good thing.

Remember too, helmet makers only recently were railing against FIA design regulations. It cost them too much. It takes, very sadly, accidents like Henry's and Felipes to remind everyone why the regulations are so stringent - and expensive.

#10 slideways

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 09:19

You need emotional impetus to force through change. But change needs to be the result of cold-blooded science and research. Not hasty reactionarism.


Exactly right. The precursors have been there for years. More recently with the DC/Wurz incident and quiet a few near misses in the lower categories. Once someone actually gets hurt the sense of urgency and motivation to stop it from happening again kicks people into action.

#11 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 09:37

I thought his comparison from days gone by, versus the sport today was interesting. I dont think anything knee-jerk will occur, but there are plenty of people within the sport it seems that are keen to investigate options and hopefully find some solutions.

It will be interesting to see what they come up with...

#12 pRy

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:44

For some reason it often needs an emotional impetus to get rational changes under way. Like when Derek Warwick's brother was killed again an old-fashioned earth bank. Quite right that it shouldn't be a knee-jerk reaction, but there must be a reaction. Doing nothing would be the greatest insult, just to accept it and wait for the next time. There are things that can be done to make it less likely, and they should be done.


I agree that doing nothing is not the right approach but doing something just for the sake of doing something is illogical.

With Paul Warwick's crash, his front suspension failed, thats why he crashed. Yet they decided to change the corner and put a chicane there. I never quite understood that myself. Sure, it slows down the corner, but will it prevent future suspension failures? No. So why change the corner? Maybe they weren't happy about the run off or something and the chicane was the only option, but even then, if a driver suffers a suspension failure coming down the hill, he is going to go straight on anyway, regardless of a chicane. And Paul was thrown from the car, again, was that due to the corner or a seat/belt design issue?

Sometimes I think change happens not because it is a genuine safety evaluation, but because it reduces the potential for fingers to be pointed if a similar crash happens soon after. In general I think safety is and always has been a high priority in motorsport and circuits are constantly being changed due to safety concerns, tyre barriers modified, kerbs fixed, that sort of thing. It's not like safety has ever stood still really.. you just don't hear much about it until something bad happens... which sadly, will always happen. Racing will never be 100% safe. But it's pretty safe today. Massa and Kubica are two living examples of that.

Edited by pRy, 05 August 2009 - 10:46.


#13 Coral

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 11:45

I agree that safety in motorsport has to be looked at following the Henry Surtees tragedy and Massa's accident, but I don't think there will be any knee-jerk reactions, at least I hope not. It is true that Knickerbrook Corner was spoiled because of the chicane that was put in following Paul Warwick's death, but I don't blame Derek for wanting it changed. Derek was completely devastated by his little brother's death and he did not want it to have been in vain. John Surtees is exactly the same. It's easy to say "freak accidents happen in motorsport and we just have to accept it", but it's not so easy to accept when you are the one who has lost your son or brother.

I can't imagine what John must be going through but my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

Edited by Coral, 05 August 2009 - 11:47.


#14 alfa1

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 14:48

They will be establishing a "Henry Surtees Foundation" and all donations should be made to the charity "Headway".



A few weeks ago I was listening to a report on the radio that pointed out the massive number of charity organisations that exist nowdays.

In Australia, there is a charity for every 437 people, all under the umbrella of the 700,000 not-for-profit organisations.
A google search tells me that the USA has 1.9 million !!!! charity organizations.

As the guy on the radio said, a large number of foundations are set up by well meaning parents of tragically lost children, but it would actually be better all around if they instead pitched in to help an existing charity rather than start yet another one and fight everyone else for a thinner slice of the pie.

Edited by alfa1, 05 August 2009 - 14:55.


#15 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 20:05

A few weeks ago I was listening to a report on the radio that pointed out the massive number of charity organisations that exist nowdays.

In Australia, there is a charity for every 437 people, all under the umbrella of the 700,000 not-for-profit organisations.
A google search tells me that the USA has 1.9 million !!!! charity organizations.

As the guy on the radio said, a large number of foundations are set up by well meaning parents of tragically lost children, but it would actually be better all around if they instead pitched in to help an existing charity rather than start yet another one and fight everyone else for a thinner slice of the pie.


I think he has done that hasnt he? He advised donations to go to "Headway" which is an exisiting charity already? I have no idea what they intend to do with the foundation, but would suspect it will help up and coming drivers?

#16 Andy Davies

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 20:35

I think he has done that hasnt he? He advised donations to go to "Headway" which is an exisiting charity already? I have no idea what they intend to do with the foundation, but would suspect it will help up and coming drivers?


Yes Headway is an existing charity that helps rehabilitate people who've suffered head injuries, based on my experience it's a well worthwhile cause making a real difference to people's lives.

Andy

#17 blackgerby

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 21:19

I feel sorry for him but we need objective, rational professionals to be working on safety, and Surtees snr is not that. I really hope rational heads prevail and we dont see a terrible knee jerk reaction that with undermine the sport.


There's nothing in that interview that suggests anything kneejerk at all.


#18 JPW

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 21:23

I have no idea what they intend to do with the foundation, but would suspect it will help up and coming drivers?

Nope it has nothing to do with up and coming drivers unless they have brain injury.

Sometimes its better to check than to suspect :rolleyes:

http://www.headway.o...;contentid=1447

#19 undersquare

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 21:47

I agree that doing nothing is not the right approach but doing something just for the sake of doing something is illogical.

With Paul Warwick's crash, his front suspension failed, thats why he crashed. Yet they decided to change the corner and put a chicane there. I never quite understood that myself. Sure, it slows down the corner, but will it prevent future suspension failures? No. So why change the corner? Maybe they weren't happy about the run off or something and the chicane was the only option, but even then, if a driver suffers a suspension failure coming down the hill, he is going to go straight on anyway, regardless of a chicane. And Paul was thrown from the car, again, was that due to the corner or a seat/belt design issue?

Sometimes I think change happens not because it is a genuine safety evaluation, but because it reduces the potential for fingers to be pointed if a similar crash happens soon after. In general I think safety is and always has been a high priority in motorsport and circuits are constantly being changed due to safety concerns, tyre barriers modified, kerbs fixed, that sort of thing. It's not like safety has ever stood still really.. you just don't hear much about it until something bad happens... which sadly, will always happen. Racing will never be 100% safe. But it's pretty safe today. Massa and Kubica are two living examples of that.


I must admit I never found out that much about Paul Warwick's crash but I thought he went head on into an earth bank that had been built at right-angles to the track? At this chicane? Anyway the fact is everybody gets used to the way things are, over time, so it seems OK until something or someone shows it isn't. Looking at Brands we could all see how the barrier could be improved in that section before Dingle Dell. It could be made more parallel to the track, especially around the gaps and the trees. Something could be done, but hasn't been, maybe now it will.


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#20 Coral

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 22:12

I think he has done that hasnt he? He advised donations to go to "Headway" which is an exisiting charity already? I have no idea what they intend to do with the foundation, but would suspect it will help up and coming drivers?


Nope it has nothing to do with up and coming drivers unless they have brain injury.

Sometimes its better to check than to suspect :rolleyes:

http://www.headway.o...;contentid=1447


Actually, FlatOverCrest is right, the Henry Surtees Foundation will aim "to support the next generation of drivers".

link

Edited by Coral, 05 August 2009 - 22:15.


#21 pRy

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 08:26

I must admit I never found out that much about Paul Warwick's crash but I thought he went head on into an earth bank that had been built at right-angles to the track? At this chicane? Anyway the fact is everybody gets used to the way things are, over time, so it seems OK until something or someone shows it isn't. Looking at Brands we could all see how the barrier could be improved in that section before Dingle Dell. It could be made more parallel to the track, especially around the gaps and the trees. Something could be done, but hasn't been, maybe now it will.


Knickerbrook is quite a notorious corner really (A few have died there according to wiki).. back before the changes it was a sweeping 5th gear corner at the bottom of the long hill straight, so they took it at quite high speed. We would always sit there watching the races so I was sat just behind the barrier when Paul crashed. Back then I don't think they had any gravel and it was literally just grass and then the tyre barrier. He had lost his front suspension so by the time he got to the bottom of the hill he couldn't turn and just went straight on. The impact was pretty big, a lot of dirt was thrown onto where we were and his car caught fire.

After his crash I think they installed a gravel trap and setup the chicane.

Video here of what the corner was like before 91:

And a video here of what the corner is like in the wet: , we saw plenty of pile ups there over the years when it began to rain.

#22 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 08:36

Nope it has nothing to do with up and coming drivers unless they have brain injury.

Sometimes its better to check than to suspect :rolleyes:

http://www.headway.o...;contentid=1447


Seriously? You send me a PM then turn your PM's off so as not to receive a reply and now this?

I VERY CLEARLY said I have no idea what they intend to do with the foundation, but thanks for finding the link for me, I was going to look but you saved me the trouble.

All you needed to do, was post the link and say "you may find this interesting?"

For someone who preaches about "high and mighty" posts, you have an interesting personal perspective on what YOU think you can post to others.



#23 undersquare

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 09:05

Knickerbrook is quite a notorious corner really (A few have died there according to wiki).. back before the changes it was a sweeping 5th gear corner at the bottom of the long hill straight, so they took it at quite high speed. We would always sit there watching the races so I was sat just behind the barrier when Paul crashed. Back then I don't think they had any gravel and it was literally just grass and then the tyre barrier. He had lost his front suspension so by the time he got to the bottom of the hill he couldn't turn and just went straight on. The impact was pretty big, a lot of dirt was thrown onto where we were and his car caught fire.

After his crash I think they installed a gravel trap and setup the chicane.

Video here of what the corner was like before 91:

And a video here of what the corner is like in the wet: , we saw plenty of pile ups there over the years when it began to rain.


Thanks. Must have been quite traumatic to see that happen in front of you. As you say, the chicane wouldn't address the car failure scenario at all, though I suppose the gravel would help. I remember Derek Warwick speaking out about earth banks.

IIRC there is a relatively straightforward formula the FIA has about barriers in relation to the track, a relationship between angle and distance, tangents and so on. And surface presumably, wet grass hardly counts of course as we saw at Brands.

Edited by undersquare, 06 August 2009 - 09:05.