Tributes paid to 'voice of Formula One' Murray Walker after commentator dies aged 97

13 March 2021, 22:10 | Updated: 13 March 2021, 22:11

F1 legend Murray Walker dies aged 97
F1 legend Murray Walker dies aged 97. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Tributes have poured in celebrating the life of Murray Walker, the voice of Formula One, who has died aged 97.

The British Racing Drivers' Club announced the news on Saturday evening and thanked him for "all he has done" during his decades-long career.

His broadcasting career spanned more than 50 years, having worked for the BBC and ITV before retiring from commentating in 2001.

The BRDC said in a statement: "It's with great sadness we share the news of the passing of BRDC Associate Member Murray Walker OBE.

"A friend, a true motorsport legend, the nation's favourite commentator and a contagious smile.

"We thank Murray for all he has done for our community. RIP our friend."

Martin Brundle, who commentated alongside Walker in the final years of his career, led the tributes on social media.

Writing on Twitter, Brundle said: "Rest In Peace, Murray Walker.

"Wonderful man in every respect. National treasure, communication genius, Formula One legend."

Reacting to the news, F1 tweeted: "We are immensely sad to hear that Murray Walker has passed away.

"His passion and love of the sport inspired millions of fans around the world. He will forever be a part of our history, and will be dearly missed."

World champions Mercedes tweeted: "He was the voice of F1 to millions and his love, passion and positivity for our sport were unmatched. You will be truly missed, Murray Walker."

McLaren, Britain's most successful F1 team, said on Twitter: "Like millions of F1 fans, all of us at McLaren are deeply saddened by the news that Murray Walker has passed away.

"He brought our sport to generations by sharing his passion and knowledge with humour and humility. Our thoughts are with all who had the fortune to know him."

The Williams team paid tribute to Walker, who was in the commentary box during the outfit's glory years in the 1980s and 90s.

"We are truly saddened to hear of Murray Walker's passing," read a tweet from the team.

"Murray was the voice of F1 for so many, and provided commentary on many of this team's most iconic moments.

"His passion for the sport was infectious, and never failed to make people smile."

A second post added: "Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this difficult time. We will miss you Murray and we can only sign off by drawing on one of his most legendary pieces of commentary...

"And we've got to stop. Because we've got a lump in our throat."

Damon Hill, who won the drivers' championship with Williams in 1996, tweeted: "God's Speed Murray and thanks for so much. The Legend will never die."

David Croft - the current lead commentator on Sky Sports' F1 coverage - posted: "Rest in Peace Murray Walker, a gentleman and a legend in every sense of the word.

"It was an honour to know you, a delight to spend time in your company and inspiring to listen and learn from you.

"THE voice of Formula 1 and always will be. Thankyou xx"

Three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart, 81, told the PA news agency: "There will never be another Murray Walker.

"He is one of those people that will be remembered forever, and not too many commentators could expect that to happen after their life.

"It is a great loss. We are all at a certain age where we are seeing friends and colleagues slip away which is very sad, but in the case of Murray, he will never be forgotten."

Ferrari paid tribute on Twitter, writing: "One of the legendary voices of @F1 has passed away. We are grateful to him for adding to the excitement of our battles on the track."

Current Williams driver George Russell tweeted: "The voice of F1 and a true legend of our sport. His legacy will forever live on. Rest in peace, Murray."

1996 world champion Hill told the PA news agency: "Murray has been with me for my whole life and I don't think anybody thought this day would come, but sadly it has.

"Maybe old soldiers never die? His legacy and his memory is so strong, and what he gave to so many Formula One 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."

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton also paid tribute, saying: "So sad to hear of Murray's passing. I remember growing up hearing your voice over the races.

"You made the sport so much more exciting and captivating. The iconic voice of our sport and a great man, thank you for all you did, you will never be forgotten. Rest in peace."