• February 21 down the years

Ralf lied to enjoy retirement

What happened on February 21 in Formula One history
Ralf Schumacher raced his last season with Toyota in 2007 © Sutton Images
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2008
Ralf Schumacher admitted that he lied to reporters when he told them he would be staying in F1 in 2008, in order to have a quiet end to his career. Sick of being pestered by journalists about his plans for the following year, Schumacher told the press that he would be staying in F1 just to get them off his back. Schumacher said: "I did make those comments, but the situation never changed for me. I just said that [I would remain in F1] because there were a lot of people talking, and the situation was difficult at Toyota, so I just wanted to finish the season in peace." Despite testing for Force India he wasn't offered a drive and in the end settled for a race seat in DTM.

1940
Peter Gethin was born in Surrey. He raced three full seasons in F1 between 1970 and 1972, as well as a couple in the following two years. He had a mixed career with one win coming at the Italian Grand Prix in 1971. It was closest ever finish in F1 history, with Gethin taking victory by just 0.01 seconds from Ronnie Peterson. Finishing within the same second as the two leaders were Francois Cevert, Mike Hailwood and Howden Ganley after a final lap fit for a Hollywood movie. Gethin had been in fourth, but by carefully timing his slipstreaming he managed to inch his way ahead of Peterson as they crossed the line. He only scored two other points in his career, which consisted of stints at McLaren, BRM and Embassy Hill. He ran a racing driver's school at the Goodwood circuit in Chichester prior to his death in December 2011.

2001
Max Mosley offered his opinion on one of the most controversial sporting moments ever in F1. He said that Ayrton Senna should have been excluded for deliberately crashing into Alain Prost at the penultimate round of the 1990 championship at Suzuka, which swung the title in the Brazilian's favour. The crash followed a long and heated personal battle between the two that came to a head at the same race the previous year, when they crashed and Senna was disqualified despite going on to win the race. "Senna should probably have been excluded from the championship for doing something that dangerous," Mosley said. "But I think the feeling was that what happened the previous year was absolutely outrageous - that he genuinely won the race and it was taken away from him quite wrongly. So you couldn't help but have slight sympathy."

1944
The winner of the first grand prix motor race Ferenc Szizs died in France aged 60. He was a locksmith by trade but joined Renault as an engineer in 1900. He quickly rose through the ranks to the manufacturer's testing department, and after riding as mechanic for Louis Renault, became a racing driver. In 1906 he won the first French Grand Prix at Le Mans with an average speed of 62.9 mph. He competed in a handful of other grand prix before setting up his own garage in 1909. He fought in World War I and caught typhoid while serving in Algeria. He later worked for an aircraft company before retiring to the countryside just outside Paris.

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