Peter Gethin has died after a long illness. He was 71 years of age. Gethin is best remembered for his victory in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in 1971, when he won the slipstream race to the chequered flag, with the top five cars covered by six-tenths of a second.
Born in Epsom in Surrey, Gethin was the son of a wellknown jockey Ken Gethin. Peter preferred horsepower to horses and first an impression in Formula 3 in 1968, by which time he was already in his late twenties. This propelled him into the British Formula 5000 Series with Church Farm Racing. He dominated the series, winning the title in his debut year and again in 1970. Soon after that he moved into F1, being take on by McLaren after the death of team founder Bruce McLaren. He stayed with the team in 1971, but in the middle of the year he was approached by BRM, which was looking for a replacement for Pedro Rodriguez, who had been killed in a sports car race at the Norisring. He switched to BRM and in his second race won at Monza. Not only was it the smallest margin of victory recorded up to that point in Formula 1, but it was also the fastest ever average speed. A month later he won the Victory Race at Brands Hatch.
But the 1972 season was not an easy one for BRM and at the end of the year he left, returning to Formula 5000, winning the Race of Champions and thus becoming the only Formula 5000 driver ever to beat the F1 cars when the two series combined. He made a one-off return to F1 in 1973 at the Canadian GP when BRM dropped Clay Regazzoni and he was back in F1 again in 1974 when Graham Hill took him on for the British GP after Guy Edwards broke his wrist. He won the Tasman Formula 5000 crown in 1974 and remained in F5000 until in 1976 and then decided that he would switch to management and began overseeing the career of rising Italian star Beppe Gabbiani. His last important victory was in a Can-Am race at Road America in 1977 in a Lola. In 1984 he was appointed team manager of the Toleman F1 team for a while and then went back to Formula 3000 and set up Peter Gethin Racing in 1986. In later years he also ran a racing school at Goodwood.