Currently reading: 1964 F1 World Champion John Surtees dies aged 83
The only person to have won world championships on two and four wheels has passed away

John Surtees, the 1964 Formula 1 World Champion, has died aged 83.

Surtees passed away at St George's Hospital in London today after being admitted last month for an ongoing respiratory illness. His wife, Jane, and daughters, Leonora and Edwina, were by his side.

Surtees remains the only person to win world championships on two and four wheels, winning seven motorcycle titles on 350cc and 500cc motorbikes between 1956 and 1960, before securing the F1 title four years later.

His subsequent work in motorsport included establishing his own eponymous team, which competed in F1, Formula 2 and Formula 5000 through the 1970s.

His son, Henry Surtees, was born in 1991 and eventually pursued a career through the junior ranks as a racing driver. However, he tragically died in 2009 during a Formula 2 race at Brands Hatch.

In his memory his father established the Henry Surtees Foundation charity, which assists people with brain or physical injuries and can provide them with motorsport-related training.

Most recently, John Surtees was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2016 for his services to motorsport.

Autocar offers its deepest condolences to family and friends of Surtees.


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Chris C 13 March 2017

John Surtees

I also agree that John Surtees was a genuinely nice bloke who achieved a heck of a lot without the ego of somebody like a Schumacher or a Senna. When it comes to being remembered maybe he, and Murray Walker, deserve to have a corner or straight on a major UK circuit named after them in perpetuity?
Greenracer 10 March 2017

Well said 289. Big John

Well said 289. Big John featured all through 'my era' of motorsport. Saw him race quite a few times. No one racing today will ever be able to match what he achieved. And just think of the variety of cars he raced and on proper race circuits and the same for motorcycles. His own Surtees cars were a treat to see too. In the course of my work I visited his factory in Edenbridge. I agree about his lack of a Knighthood, could never understand why that was not to be. Thanks John Surtees for the pleasure you gave fans over the years and RIP.
289 10 March 2017

John Surtees RIP

This is a very sad day....the passing of a Gentleman of the sport. No one else has ever managed the transition from two wheeled championship to four, and probably never will. His charitable works are legendary as is his willingness to speak to fans at events. A kind and generous man. Not wishing to spoil the reflective moment, but this country should hang their heads in shame that they never got round to granting a Knighthood as was well deserved...preferring to scatter them at random amongst individuals still at the start of their sporting careers. Its a national disgrace, and now forever too late to right the wrong.
BertoniBertone 11 March 2017

The honours system....

Given that Sir Phil Green seems still to be attached to his perhaps it's fitting that the true greats don't get knighted at all or, indeed, turn them down in the first place. John Surtees' accomplishments in bikes and cars is and will be unsurpassed: an epitaph far greater than a gong, I feel.
289 13 March 2017

@ BertoniBertone

....well in principal you are right....this behaviour of awarding honours to low lifes like Green just makes a mockery of what the system stands for.