John Surtees – A Motorsport Legend
The world of motorsport was in shock on Friday following the news of the death of former Formula One driver John Surtees at the age of 83.
The Englishman was the only driver to win a world championship in four wheels and on two wheels. Surtees began his motor racing career in 1952 at the age of 18, making his debut at the 1952 Ulster Grand Prix where he finished in sixth place earning one point while riding for Norton in the 500cc class.
In 1953 he entered into the Isle of Man TT in the 125cc, the 350cc and the 500cc but failed to start the event.
Surtees went on to win the 500cc motorcyle championship in 1956, 1958, 1959 and again in 1960. In 1960, Surtees moved to four wheels when he joined Lotus, making his Formula One debut at that years Monaco Grand Prix.
In only his second Formula One race, his home race, the British Grand Prix, Surtees finished on the podium in second place. In only his third Formula One event, the Portuguese Grand Prix, Surtees secured his first pole position.
In 1961, Surtees moved to the Yeoman Credit Racing Team, in 62 he moved to the Bowmaker Racing team before moving to Ferrari in 1963.
Surtees ended the 63 season in fourth place in the championship and scored his first Formula One victory at the German Grand Prix. In 1964, Surtees became the first driver to win both the motorcycle world championship and the Formula One world championship as he took two wins in Germany and the Italian Grand Prix he also secured a third place finish at the British Grand Prix.
Surtees took his last victory for Ferrari at the 1966 Belgian Grand Prix, from the French Grand Prix onwards Surtees drove for the Cooper car company and took three podium finishes including victory in Mexico.
In 1967 and 1968, Surtees drove for the Honda Racing team winning the 1967 Italian Grand Prix.
In 1969 Surtees drove for the Owen Racing Organisation securing a podium finish at the United States Grand Prix.
From 1970 to 1972, Surtees competed with his own team and recorded a top five finish at the 1970 Canadian Grand Prix and the 1971 Dutch Grand Prix.
John Surtees will be greatly missed by the world of motorsport, but his achievements and his legacy with work on improving safety in the sport will live on.