When I was a youngster in F1, a while back now, it was a very different world, with a much smaller group of media (although in truth the last two years have been like the old days in terms of numbers).
The different nationalities didn’t overlap much in those days. It was less international but I remember being aware of some of the big names in the French F1 media: Jabby Crombac, Johnny Rives and Jean-Louis Moncet.
I was also aware of Alain Boisnard, the archetypal French cameraman. I don’t remember if he had a cigarette dangling from his lip, but if he didn’t, he should have done. He knew how to live.
Alas, time catches us all in the end and Alain died a few days ago, at the grand old age of 87.
Boisnard was a groundbreaker in many ways, thanks in part to the money that his friend Francois Guiter of Elf paid him to produce films about racing. Alain and Guiter had worked together on underwater films and Guiter reckoned that Alain would come up with good stuff. He was right. Anyone who knows the Elf F1 films, knows Boisnard, perhaps without knowing his name. He put cameras on cars at a time when it was almost impossible to do, but he made it work. The fact that he had a day job, making movies, about cops and spies and so on, is often forgotten. At weekends he was an F1 film maker.
I was too timid of my French to ever talk to such an imposing fellow, but I was aware of his presence and his abilities. I wish now that I had because I’m sure he had a million great stories to tell. His wife Anne, who died in 2015, was also a well known figure in F1, becoming the timekeeper of the Renault F1 team, until the age of the time-keeper was over.