British F1 legend John Surtees dies at 83

Rachel Hardy
March 11, 2017

His family announced that he had died on Friday aged 83 after a short illness, his legend assured by virtue of being the only man to have won world championships in Formula One and on motorbikes. He had been suffering from respiratory problems.

Surtees, of Britain, was the only person to claim both Formula One and motorcycle Grand Prix titles. Those years he also became the first rider to win three-consecutive Isle of Man TT Senior TTs.

Born in February of 1934 as the son of a London motorcycle dealer, Surtees had an early start with racing on motorcycles by entering grassroots competitions at the age of 15.

'We deeply mourn the loss of such an incredible, kind and loving man as well as celebrate his unbelievable life.

Surtees won the motorcycle world championship in 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1960, before switching to Formula One, where he won the title in 1964 for Ferrari. Taking part in four weekends, a sole podium at the British Grand Prix was enough to see the then 26-year-old finish 14th in the World Championship.

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He was runner-up in the 1966 season behind Jack Brabham and then, exhausted of political infighting, walked away from the Italian team.

Surtees in his Ferrari F1 vehicle.

He raced until 1972, also competing at Le Mans and in Can-Am, before retiring to run his own race team and, eventually, a bike shop and auto dealership. It saw him bow out of the sport on a relative low.

The Englishman's F1 career spanned 12 years and also included stints at Lotus, Cooper, Lola, Honda, BRM and finished with his own team, Surtees, in 1972. John Surtees continued his evolvement with racing afterward establishing himself as a pillar for motorsports racing and has received several awards including the Segrave Trophy and induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

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