Picture: www.justgiving.com

London – British Formula 4 driver Billy Monger has had his lower legs amputated after an horrific crash at the Donington Park circuit on Sunday, series organisers said on Wednesday.

The 17-year-old, who smashed at speed into the back of another car that had halted on the track, was trapped in the wreckage for more than 90 minutes before being extricated and flown to hospital.

"Due to the injuries sustained and despite every effort, Billy has sadly had both lower legs amputated," the FIA sanctioned junior series, the first step on the single-seater ladder after karting, said in a statement.

"He has been kept in an induced coma while undergoing surgery, from which he is expected to be woken in the next few days."

A crowd-funding site on Justgiving.com was set up to raise funds for the teenager's medical treatment and recovery. The page aimed to raise 260 000 pounds (R.4.4 million) had already hit 315 000 (R5.33m) within a day of going live.

Three-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, among other drivers, rallied to the support of a teenage British motor racing driver who had both legs amputated in a horrific high-speed crash.

"I have only just seen the news of this tragic incident," tweeted Mercedes star Hamilton with a link to the fund-raising site. "Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, @BillyMonger."

Sergio Perez, a rival of Hamilton in the F1 championship, also appealed for help.

"Let's help our fellow and his family thru this tough times! @BillyMonger," tweeted the Mexican Force India driver.

"Just watched the crash of @BillyMonger and can only say that life is so cruel...let's all help this young lad," commented former F1 racer Johnny Herbert, who suffered severe foot injuries in a junior series crash at Brands Hatch in 1988.

Reuters & AFP