Murray Walker passes away at the age of 97
March 14 2021 , 1:18 pm
Legendary Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker has died at the age of 97.
Walker commentated on his first grand prix for the BBC at Silverstone in 1949 and became a full-time F1 commentator in 1978.
He became synonymous with F1 through his commentary, first with the BBC and then ITV, before retiring in 2001.
“Murray has been with me for my whole life and I don’t think anybody thought this day would come, but sadly it has,” said 1996 F1 champion Damon Hill.
One of Walker’s most famous lines was, “I’ve got to stop now, because I’ve got a lump in my throat” as Britain’s Hill won the 1996 Japanese Grand Prix – and with it his only World Championship.
Hill added: “Maybe old soldiers never die? His legacy and his memory is so strong, and what he gave to so many Formula 1 fans and number of people he affected, he became bigger than the sport, so we have got a lot to be thankful to Murray for.
“He could emote the events that happened in our sport. The shocking moments and the dramatic moments all have Murray’s reaction to them and he made those events stick in your mind forever.
“And he allowed himself not to be the know-it-all commentator, but the fan who, at times, got over excited.”
Walker, who is survived by his wife of more than 60 years Elizabeth, was appointed an OBE in 1996 for his services to broadcasting and motor racing.
His co-commentators included the late James Hunt, who was F1 world champion in 1976, and the pair built up a memorable partnership.
He also had a popular partnership with former grand prix driver Martin Brundle, who paid tribute on social media.
“Wonderful man in every respect,” said Brundle. “National treasure, communication genius, Formula 1 legend.”