15/4/1933 - 26/8/2005
Michele Dubosc was the first ever professional time keeper in Grand Prix Racing. In the days before computers the art of timing in Formula 1 was a much more complicated business than it is today. Michele Dubosc died 17 years ago, she was 72 , She would have been 89.
Michele Dubosc was born in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, her father was an agricultural engineer. Her introduction to motor sport came from her godfather Robert Brunet who raced before the War.
Brunet was a French GP driver. He drove Alfa Romeos, Bugattis and Maseratis during the early 30s, supported by a rich French Countess. He took Michele to watch the Mille Miglia in 1956 and she was hooked.
Some friends persuaded Michele take up rallying. The difficulty was she didn't have a driving licence. She took her test and passed first time. The problem now was that you had to have held a icence for over a year. She then modified it and entered the rally of the Forests with Jean-Claude George as co-driver.
She met up Claudine Boucher, and though she was supposed to continue her work. When she was asked to compete in the Tour of Corsica she accepted. She asked her boss for eight days off and when he refused, much to her fathers annoiance, she resigned.
With Annie Soisbault, she continued to compete in rallies racing as a co-driver with a variety of celebrated names as Henri Pescarolo, Marie-Claude Beaumont, Annie Soisbault and Bernard Consten until she met Jose Rosinski, racing driver and journalist, in 1961. He had bought a Cooper Formula Junior and he asked her to ack as his timekeeper. To find out more about this art she got help from Ken Tyrrell and Gerard Crombac, the master of the lap-chart, which he combined with the art of timing. If Crombac was the king, Dubosc was the undisputed queen.
Rosinski joined Alpine and Michele Dubosc went with him. In 1965 she joined Matra as their timekeeper, moved to F2 im 1966 and to F1 in 1968. She was also involved in the Matra sports car programmes, culminating in victories in 1973 and 1974. Recognised for her professionalism and her love of life, Dubosc famously timed and lap-charted the entire Le Mans 24 Hours on several occasions. The chronométreuse would completely stopped drinking anything a good day before the race such was her dedication to the task of timekeepingwas that there was no question of her leaving the wall and her charts for even one minute!
Michele Dubosc was the first ever professional time keeper in Grand Prix Racing. In the days before computers the art of timing in Formula 1 was a much more complicated business than it is today.
She achieved fame when the organisers of the Long Beach Grand Prix messed up the timekeeping and couldn't present a grid. Bernie went to Michèle to get her times which were 'made official' and the grid was formed.
After Matra withdrew from F1, Dubosc stayed on to work with other F1 teams, while still being paid by Matra. Thus she could be seen sitting on piles of tires at Tecno, Hesketh and finally Ligier.
The stopwatch stopped for Dubosc on Friday August 26 2005 after a long illness.
She played a significant role in Formula 1 for 20 years, without forgetting the 25 years spent at Matra, Michele was recognised for her professionalism, her honesty, her kindness and her love of life. On top of her stool or on a pile of tires, stopwatch in one hand, lap chart in the other, Dubosc was an icon of the circuits.