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Boullier pays tribute to Francois Guiter

NEWS STORY
10/11/2014

McLaren boss Eric Boullier has paid tribute to countryman Francois Guiter, driving force behind French motorsport in the 70s and 80s.

As marketing manager with the Elf oil company when it was established in the late 60s, Guiter saw the possibility to use motorsport to promote the company, initially investing in Matra and subsequently Renault's racing programmes.

He subsequently came up with the idea of the Volant Elf competition which was to produce numerous legendary French drivers over the years, not least Alain Prost, the country’s first F1 world champion.

"On behalf of all at McLaren, I want to pay tribute to Francois Guiter, one of the greatest Frenchmen in the history of Formula 1, who sadly died at the weekend at the age of 86," said Boullier.

"Via his stewardship of the involvement in Formula 1 of the French petrochemicals corporation Elf from 1967 until 1989, Guiter achieved far more than the traditional remit of a marketing manager, which was his initial job title.

"In fact, it would be fair to say that he was the prime mover behind the nurturing of a number of young French racing drivers of that era, ushering most if not all of them into Formula 1, and ensuring that they won grands prix by the dozen in the 1970s and 1980s.

"I am referring to guys such as Francois Cevert, Patrick Depailler, Jacques Laffite, Jean-Pierre Jarier, Rene Arnoux, Patrick Tambay and of course Alain Prost, who became France's first world champion in 1985, and then repeated the feat in 1986, 1989 and 1993, all bar the last of those four triumphs achieved with McLaren, incidentally.

"I did not know Francois Guiter well - he had retired before I started work in motorsport - but I have admired him all my life. Truly, he was a motorsport legend, and today all at McLaren join me in paying him tribute, and in offering condolences to his family, his friends, and the French motorsport community in general.

"May he rest in peace."

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