Gerard ‘Jabby’ Crombac
Flat-cap wearer, pipe smoker. Anglophile and incurable motor racing addict. this Frenchman was the doyen of Formula One journalists.
Crombac died in November. having notched up an incredible 56 years reporting the sport. He first came to prominence at Motor Sport’s sister publication Autosport, and contributed to the very first issue in August 1950. During the ’50s he became good friends with Colin Chapman and raced Lotus chassis in France. Later he was close to Jim Clark, who shared Crombac’s flat in Paris for a while.
Crombac owned and edited the respected French monthly SportAuto, and was competitions director at Matra for a while. His death leaves a void in the motorsport media and F1 as a whole. MS
A mainstay of the BRM Formula One team for virtually all of its existence. Alec Stokes died in November, aged 80.
From 1947 the start of the V16 era, until the team’s closure in 1977 he was responsible for the design of its transmissions and gearboxes, becoming chief draughtsman. He also designed marine and other transmissions for the rest of the Owen group and wrote several significant books on the subject. After BRM folded he worked for Lotus cars. With his excellent recall, he continued right to the end to provide technical information and help for owners, restorers and racing historians through Hall & Hall, based at the same BRM premises on Folkingham airfield where he had worked for so long. GC
Count ‘Gughi’ Zanon
The man who was instrumental in the career of Ronnie Peterson died in Turin recently at the age of 78.
Giuseppe Zanon di Valgiurata first became involved in the business side of Formula One in the early 1960s but became better known for his passion in helping set young drivers on the road to the top.
Zanon most famously supported the young Peterson in his March days and is even said to have funded the Swede’s return to Lotus in 1978. Along with his cousin (Count Vittorio) he later supported Michele Alboreto. Other drivers sported the branding of Lavazza coffee machines. owned by Zanon’s wife. He even helped Ayrton Senna Zanon assisted in buying him out of his Toleman contract in ’84. MS