The only gay Formula 1 contestant lived a mysterious and mysterious life, and everyone knew. Britain’s Mike Pettler managed to compete against the biggest player in the sport in the early 1970s and then suddenly disappeared.
Butler started in Formula 1 between 1971 and 1973, but his life after that was mysterious. Even his closest friends did not know anything about the last 14 years of his life, and they only knew about the death of a British man who had AIDS at the age of 48 in 1988. A year passed away.
Weirdness of fate is that he was a member of F1 at a time when the Musketeers, led by James Hunt, were notorious for seduction, and this wasn’t even hidden under a veil. For this reason, a competitor stood out so well with his homosexuality at the time, mainly because there were no organizations like Racing Pride yet, which launched it in 2019.
What kind of person he was himself was told by ex-boyfriend and journalist Ian Phillips BBC Sport-Nach.
“Mike fired everything about himself on the field, he didn’t have great talent, but he worked hard. I knew it was hot, but in my world it just didn’t matter.” Remember.
For Betler, a relatively straight track led to the racing circus, where he had impressive success in Formula 3 in the late 1960s and then managed to win a race in Formula 2 as well. Phillips met him again in the F2 era.
“He was very quiet, especially compared to Hun or Mike Hailwood. He was an incredibly friendly guy, but on the inside he had very serious decisions and took the race very seriously.”
Seriously, in the eyes of the competitors, he was a very tough and aggressive contestant and didn’t really want to overtake him. He tried every way to stop them from passing, sometimes even exceeding the limits of regularity. Thus only his comrades awarded him the nickname “Blocker,” meaning blocking and lifting.
For Beettler, the lead was made by the 1971 British Grand Prix, where he was able to start in the Mars Special. His racing career was funded by a stockbroker friend, who he himself could call a March semi-factory pilot. He also managed to compete in the Canadian Grand Prix in the factory team colors as teammates Niki Lauda and Ronnie Peterson. He completed the other races of his career in a private car.
“He might not have been ready for Formula 1 when he introduced himself, but an amazing team supported him. Instead, he made up for it with his ambitions. Every time he gets out of the car, he bleeds and his eyes swell.” Follow Phillips.
With the exception of two races, he completed the 1972 season all the time, but the most successful season was 1973. Then he achieved his best result, finishing seventh in the Spanish Grand Prix. He graduated a total of five times during his career in the top ten, but since only the top six got points at that time, his career ended without a point. The UK oil crisis erupted in 1973, his team had no money to keep up, and he himself permanently retired from racing at the age of 34.
After retirement, he settled in the United States, spending most of his time in San Francisco and Los Angeles. However, his American life to this day is vague and unclear, but reports found his accounts in business.
“I think as gay, it was much easier to live the life you want in America because homosexuality is still a big secret in London. He probably wanted to find his generation that lives with him freely and openly. But after Formula 1, it has completely disappeared. I don’t know if There was someone outside his family who called him. On December 29, 1988 I got a call from an unknown number. This is what they said on the phone, “I am Mike Pettler’s sister, and I am sad to learn that she died of AIDS in Los Angeles.” And that great man … Close memory.
Everyone in the ring was aware of Butler’s homosexuality, but he never received negative comments from others. Everyone before the other. Since his death, with his encouragement in part, many motorsport riders have gone out and assumed he was gay. This is the case with former Le Mans category winner Danny Watts, but there was also such a competitor in the W Series as Abbie Eaton.
The Beuttler legacy is attributed to an organization called Racing Pride, which aims to openly support gay riders. Its founder is Richard Morris, who was also a car racer, and his ambassador, Matt Bishop, is an Aston Martin spokesperson.