It is with great sadness that RaceDepartment report the passing of former Formula One World Champion John Surtees at the age of 83. It has been confirmed that the former Formula One and motorbike World Champion has passed away following a short illness according to a statement on the British champions Henry Surtees Foundation Facebook page. “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our husband and father, John Surtees CBE,” read a statement. “John, 83, was admitted to St Georges Hospital, London in February with an existing respiratory condition and after a short period in intensive care he passed away peacefully this afternoon. His wife, Jane and daughters, Leonora and Edwina were by his side. “John was a loving husband, father, brother and friend. He was also one of the true greats of motorsport and continued to work tirelessly up until recently with The Henry Surtees Foundation and Buckmore Park Kart Circuit. “We deeply mourn the loss of such an incredible, kind and loving man as well as celebrate his amazing life. He has set a very real example of someone who kept pushing himself at his peak and one who continued fighting until the very end. “We would like to thank all the staff at St George’s Hospital and The East Surrey Hospital for their professionalism and support during this difficult time for us. Thank you also to all of those who have sent their kind messages in recent weeks.” Surtees is often regarded as one of the most versatile racing drivers of his generation, with a celebrated career in motorbike racing netting the Englishman an impressive four World Championship trophies between 1956 and 1960. With an impeccable record of success on two wheels the Englishman then turned his attention to the world of Formula One, very quickly adding experience to his obvious raw pace and showing immediately strong form against the established stars of Grand Prix racing. Surtees would go on to capture the Formula One World Championship in 1964, just four years after making his car racing debut and would go on to contest 111 Grand Prix, securing six victories. Following the conclusion of the 1972 Italian Grand Prix Surtees would step down from active Grand Prix driving duty, however the popular gentleman Brit would remain active in Formula One motorsport managing a team that would continue to carry his own name and later he would become the figurehead of the short lived Team GB A1 Grand Prix operation. Although never knighted for his services to British motor racing, John Surtees was one of the truly finest ambassadors for motorsport and the UK. A true gentleman, and outstanding racing driver and a talented all-rounder on anything two and four wheeled. John Surtees was the kind of man that makes me proud to be British. God bless John, it's been an honour and a pleasure.