Peter Gethin

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Peter Gethin
Peter Gethin.jpg
Gethin at the 1971 Dutch Grand Prix
Born (1940-02-21)21 February 1940
Died 5 December 2011(2011-12-05) (aged 71)
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality United Kingdom British
Active years 19701974
Teams McLaren, BRM, Hill
Races 31 (30 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 1
Podiums 1
Career points 11
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1970 Dutch Grand Prix
First win 1971 Italian Grand Prix
Last win 1971 Italian Grand Prix
Last race 1974 British Grand Prix

Peter Kenneth Gethin (21 February 1940 in Ewell, Surrey, United Kingdom – 5 December 2011[1]) was a British racing driver from England. He participated in 31 World Championship Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on 21 June 1970. He won the 1971 Italian Grand Prix in the fastest average speed in Formula One history, but this was his only podium finish. Gethin also participated in numerous non-Championship Formula One races, winning the 1971 World Championship Victory Race and the 1973 Race of Champions.

Gethin also raced for Team McLaren in the 1970 Canadian-American Challenge Cup series, driving the McLaren M8D that had been driven by Dan Gurney in the first three races of the season. Gethin won one race and finished third in the 1970 championship. In 1974 Gethin won the Tasman Series, a Formula 5000 series held in Australia and New Zealand. Gethin drove a Chevron B24 Chevrolet. Gethin later ran a Formula 3000 team.[2]

Career[edit]

McLaren driver[edit]

1970[edit]

Gethin made his debut in F1 for McLaren at the 1970 Dutch Grand Prix, replacing the team's founder, Bruce McLaren, who had been killed at the Goodwood Circuit earlier in the month. He joined a three car team which also included Andrea de Adamich and Dan Gurney. He qualified strongly at Zandvoort, taking 11th, 2.110s behind Jochen Rindt's pole time for Lotus. He was nine tenths of a second ahead of his more illustrious but ageing team mate Gurney. He engaged in a good fight early in the race with Henri Pescarolo's Matra, but soon got the better of the Frenchman and was still running in 10th when he had an accident on lap 19.

Gethin missed the French and British Grands Prix, as former McLaren legend and 1967 world champion Denny Hulme drove the car, but he returned for the German Grand Prix. He qualified less impressively, being only 17th, and a tenth of a second behind Hulme, who had remained with the team on Gethin's return at the expense of Gurney. It was a disappointing race, as Gethin dropped to the back early on and retired after just 3 laps with a throttle failure.

The Austrian Grand Prix at the Österreichring was next, and it was another disappointing qualifying session for Gethin, who was down in 21st and comprehensively trounced by his team mates Hulme and de Adamich. As other drivers fell by the wayside in the race, however, Gethin climbed consistently up the order, and was running as high as 8th before he was passed by Ignazio Giunti's Ferrari and Jo Siffert's March late on, but it was his first grand prix finish as he came home 10th.

Gethin was again the rearmost of the McLaren cars at Monza for the Italian Grand Prix, but it was an improved performance, as he was 17th and as close as he had been to the pole time, 2.050 seconds behind Jacky Ickx's Ferrari. He started well in the race and was quickly up to 13th after good passes on team mate de Adamich and Ronnie Peterson's March. However, both Gethin and de Adamich soon suffered technical problems, and dropped to the back of the field, where they would stay until the end of the race, apart from brief periods ahead of Giunti and Tim Schenken's De Tomaso when they were experiencing their own problems. Due to the sheer attrition of the race, de Adamich was 8th at the end and Gethin 9th, although the Englishman was 8 laps down and therefore not classified.

The Canadian Grand Prix at Mont-Tremblant saw the season leave Europe and head towards its finale in the Americas, and it saw a resurgence in Gethin's form, as he out-qualified both de Adamich and Hulme, coming 11th just 1.7 seconds behind Jackie Stewart's pole time. He played the race strategy well, and did not have to make any moves on the track, save one against Pescarolo. He was behind Hulme for a while, but the Kiwi retired with wheel problems. This left Gethin free to take 6th and his first points in F1.

Hoping to continue this form, they arrived in Watkins Glen for the United States Grand Prix. It appeared that Gethin's Canada pace had not been carried over, as he was back behind Hulme and in 21st on the grid, 3.05 seconds behind Ickx on pole, although he was ahead of de Adamich. He raced strongly in the first half of the race, crucially getting ahead of the Brabhams of Jack Brabham and Rolf Stommelen, but both were able to pass him before too long. Tim Schenken and Clay Regazzoni, who was recovering from technical problems, also exposed his deficiencies in racecraft, leaving him 14th and last, and this was where he finished, 8 laps down on winner Emerson Fittipaldi in the Lotus.

The season concluded with the Mexican Grand Prix at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City, and Gethin was back on form, qualifying a season best 10th, over half a second ahead of Hulme. He raced strongly again, keeping the faster car of 1964 world champion John Surtees, in the car bearing his name, behind for a number of laps. However, the McLaren's reliability issues reared their ugly head again, and he slowed and finally stopped with engine failure on lap 28.

The season ended with Gethin in 23rd in the world championship, with just 1 solitary point earned in Canada.

1971[edit]

Gethin remained with McLaren for 1971, in a team now reduced to two cars, with Gethin partnering Hulme for another year. The first qualifying session at Kyalami went badly for the Englishman, who finished the session 11th, half a second behind his more illustrious team mate and 1.8 seconds behind pole man Jackie Stewart, driving for Tyrrell. In a race where Hulme was only denied victory by suspension problems four laps from the end, Gethin dropped back very quickly and retired just 7 laps in with a fuel leak.

Peter Gethin during practice of the 1971 German Grand Prix.

The Montjuïc Circuit was the venue for the Spanish Grand Prix, which was next on the calendar. Gethin took a career best 7th, only 0.9 seconds behind Jacky Ickx's Ferrari on pole and over three tenths ahead of Hulme. He fast dropped behind Hulme and the second Ferrari of Mario Andretti, and when things straightened out he was down in 10th, behind François Cevert's Tyrrell and the Lotus of Emerson Fittipaldi as well. However, the retirements of Andretti and Fittipaldi left him 8th, which is where he finished the race – depressingly he had been comfortably outperformed by Hulme, who had taken 5th.

Gethin's first appearance at Monaco which was the next challenge, and Gethin did not impress in qualifying, being down in 14th, 1.6 seconds behind Hulme and almost four seconds behind Stewart's pole time. He dropped a further place on the first lap, to Rolf Stommelen's Surtees. He gradually gained places, however, due to others' retirements and a good overtake on John Surtees. He ran as high as 11th before he hit the barriers on lap 23.

He won the 1971 Italian Grand Prix in the fastest average speed in Formula One history (until the record was broken by Michael Schumacher in the same race in 2003), but this was his only podium finish. There was only 0.01 seconds between him and second placed Ronnie Peterson, also a record). Indeed, he never led an entire lap of Formula One racing,[citation needed] as he passed from fourth to first in the last lap.

Death[edit]

Gethin died at the age of 71 in December 2011 after a long illness.[1]

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 WDC Points
1970 Bruce McLaren Motor Racing McLaren M14A Ford V8 RSA ESP MON BEL NED
Ret
FRA GBR GER
Ret
AUT
10
ITA
NC
CAN
6
USA
14
MEX
Ret
23rd 1
1971 Bruce McLaren Motor Racing McLaren M14A Ford V8 RSA
Ret
ESP
8
MON
Ret
9th 9
McLaren M19A Ford V8 NED
NC
FRA
9
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
Yardley Team BRM BRM P160 BRM V12 AUT
10
ITA
1
CAN
14
USA
9
1972 Marlboro BRM BRM P160B BRM V12 ARG
Ret
RSA
NC
MON
Ret
BEL
Ret
FRA
DNS
GBR
Ret
GER 21st 1
BRM P180 BRM V12 ESP
Ret
BRM P160C BRM V12 AUT
13
ITA
6
CAN
Ret
USA
Ret
1973 Marlboro BRM BRM P160E BRM V12 ARG BRA RSA ESP BEL MON SWE FRA GBR NED GER AUT ITA CAN
Ret
USA NC 0
1974 Embassy Racing with Graham Hill Lola T370 Ford V8 ARG BRA RSA ESP BEL MON SWE NED FRA GBR
Ret
GER AUT ITA CAN USA NC 0

Non-Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1969 Church Farm Racing Team McLaren M14A Chevrolet V8 ROC INT MAD
2
OUL
1970 Team Surtees
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
McLaren M7A
McLaren M10B
Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8
Chevrolet V8
ROC
6
INT
16
OUL
1971 Bruce McLaren Motor Racing
Yardley Team BRM
BRM
McLaren M14A
BRM P160
Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8
BRM V12
ARG ROC
Ret
QUE
8
SPR
2
INT
2
RIN
Ret
OUL
Ret
VIC
1
1972 BRM BRM P160
BRM P160B
BRM V12 ROC
4
BRA
Ret
INT
6
OUL
Ret
REP
Ret
VIC
5
1973 Chevron Racing Cars Chevron B24 Chevrolet V8 ROC
1
INT
1974 Chevron Racing Cars Chevron B28 Chevrolet V8 PRE ROC
10
INT
7

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Peter Gethin, winner of the 1971 Italian Grand Prix, dies aged 71". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). 2011-12-05. Retrieved 2011-12-05. 
  2. ^ "Adrian Campos - Biography". F1rejects.com. 2007-01-07. Retrieved 2011-12-06. 

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
None
European Formula 5000 Champion
1969–1970
Succeeded by
Frank Gardner
Preceded by
Emerson Fittipaldi
Brands Hatch Race of Champions winner
1973
Succeeded by
Jacky Ickx
Preceded by
Graham McRae
Tasman Series Champion
1974
Succeeded by
Warwick Brown