Francois Guiter

Francois Guiter was never one to blow his own trumpet but he played a huge role in the success of France in motor racing in the 1970s and 1980s. Guiter's reticence may have something to do with his background. In the early 1950s he was a diver with a shadowy organisation called the 11eme Choc, a commando unit run by the SDECE, France's secret service. He went on to become a wellknown underwater film maker in the early 1960s, producing more than 20 films. When the Elf oil company was established in 1967 Guiter was name as its marketing manager and he decided to use the sport to promote the new oil company and began investing large sums of money into Matra's racing and later into the Renault racing programs. It was Guiter who came up with the format for the Volant Elf competition which provided France with a string of top line racing drivers in the 1970s and 1980s. Elf supported Tyrrell heavily in the 1970s and then became a partner in the Renault F1 programme. When he retired from Elf Guiter was retained as a consultant while also returning to film making in 1989 creating a film business with his son Jean-Claude, producing films about racing. Guiter was also important in the spread of television coverage in F1.