Murray Walker, ‘The voice of Formula 1’, dies at the age of 97

2021 F1 season

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Murray Walker, the much-loved, long-serving Formula 1 commentator, has died at the age of 97, the British Racing Drivers’ Club has announced.

Walker was the BBC’s lead Formula 1 commentator throughout the eighties and nineties, a role he continued when ITV took over as the sport’s broadcaster in 1997. He stepped down from the role in 2001, then aged 77.

He also commentated junior single-seater categories, touring cars and motorbike racing. But it was his long-running association with grand prix racing which earned him the nickname ‘the voice of Formula 1’.

“It is with great sadness we share the news of the passing of BRDC Associate Member Murray Walker OBE,” said the club in a statement.

“A friend, true motorsport legend, the nation’s favourite commentator and a contagious smile. Murray will be sadly missed, his mark and voice will live on in motorsport and our hearts forever.

“We thank Murray for all he has done for our community.

“Sending our love and thoughts to Murray’s family and friends in this difficult time.”

In a statement, Formula 1 said: “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.”

Martin Brundle, who served as Walker’s co-commentator between 1997 to 2001, paid tribute to a “wonderful man in every respect.

“National treasure, communication genius, Formula 1 legend.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 60 comments on “Murray Walker, ‘The voice of Formula 1’, dies at the age of 97”

    1. Will always miss Murray, will never forget his watching F1 with his commentary with fond memories, was an excellent source of entertainment at times with the Murrayisms but fantastic passion for F1. Go go gone :(

    2. R.I.P to the voice of F1 for around 30 years or so. Even to fans outside UK, he managed to be part of our F1 world even when internet wasn’t a part of our life…

    3. Rest in peace you true legend of the sport!
      Your voice, passion, and love for F1 will be immortalised in all the races you commentated over, and in the hearts of all the fans who watched those same races with you!

    4. I think it’s hard to be a hardcore F1 fan and never have heard the enthusiastic voice of Murray Walker. You could really feel he loved the sport, and had significant knowledge of it. Unlike many after him, you could hear that he was blessed with the ability to convey passion without forcing a persona.

      Rest in peace, Murray. The Grand Prix in the heavens now has a worthy announcer.

    5. Thank you Murray, thank you.

    6. Oh man those are awful news. Rest in peace, legend. You’ll be missed. I swear I’ve never heard anyone being able to comment anything and make it amaizing.

        1. That made me laugh out loud and my eyes water at the same time. Thanks for sharing.

    7. Aww, I thought he was indestructible! Pleased he had 20 happy years of retirement, and forever grateful to be attracted to racing by a man who knew exactly how to promote it. Rest! In! PEACE!

    8. I am a lucky man, I met Murray Walker at the first US Grand Prix at Indianapolis. He was walking outside the paddock unrecognized by many. I went over and said hello, and we talked for some time until he had to leave “for work”. He was interesting, humorous and above all he didn’t come across with the untouchable attitude of a celebrity. I met him a couple of years later and he remembered our conversation – we didn’t have long to talk this time, but again I felt fortunate to share that time with a personal hero.

      RIP Murray

    9. What a sad day. My dad passed earlier this morning. Interesting it was the same day.

      1. My condolences on your loss @ppzzus

      2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        13th March 2021, 20:33

        Sorry to hear that @ppzzus

      3. @ppzzus
        Sorry for your loss. May both of them rest in peace.

    10. I started watching F1 in the late ’90s with Murray and Martin Brundle providing the commentary for ITV. His unbridled passion for motorsport was one of the things that got me hooked on F1 as a child. I can’t be the only one.

      …and now I’ve got to stop, because I’ve got a lump in my throat.

      1. Stuart Mullage
        13th March 2021, 19:07

        …and now I’ve got to stop, because I’ve got a lump in my throat.

        A beautiful statement.

      2. couldn’t have picked a more suitable quote!

    11. It’s a strange feeling to feel so sad about the passing of a 97-year-old man I never knew, but I really felt this.

      Murray Walker was the sound of my childhood. The only person I “knew” who loved my favourite thing as much as him. I looked forward to every weekend so I could spend two hours sharing my passion with Murray. I hope he knew how much he meant to so many people.

      What an astonishing life. If there were more Murray Walker’s, the world would be a far better place.

      Rest in Peace to a terrific man, who taught me that “anything can happen in Formula One, and it usually does!”

    12. So many happy childhood memories are soundtracked by his voice, sat between my dad and grandpa both snoozing on a Sunday afternoon, despite Murray’s best efforts to wake them up.

      With imperfection and passion, he is a voice that will remain ringing in the ears of F1 fans forever. Thanks for all the Murrayisms and memories. Race In Peace!

    13. R.I.P the legendary voice of F1.

    14. Have a nice stint amongst the stars, Murray.

    15. RIP Murray. What a life and what a legend, a huge part of my childhood and I’m sure many others. I will always remember his commentary as Damon Hill won the WDC in 1996 which seems apt right now – “and now I’ve got to stop, because I’ve got a lump in my throat.”

    16. As I suspect is the case for quite a few of our readers, my passion for Formula 1 began when I heard Murray Walker commentating on a grand prix – Silverstone 1989 to be exact.

      I had the privilege of meeting him a few times, first at the age of about nine, and, many years later, even interviewing him. He was courteous, charming and entertaining. Having listened to his voice for so many years, it was bizarre to all of a sudden hear it replying to me.

      A while after that I also got to experience what it feels like to walk into a commentary booth, pick up a microphone, and realise just how long a shadow he cast. That was also an education in just how much preparation he must have poured into those seemingly effortless broadcasts – the hallmark of a total professional.

      He was never less than spectacularly enthusiastic and entertaining. Through his work, his passion for the sport inspired mine, and without that there might not even be a RaceFans. It is a sad day indeed to learn of his passing.

      1. @keithcollantine Thank you for sharing that. I was just texting a friend this news and as I said to him and as I always thought, when he was commentating a race you felt like there was nothing more important going on that day. Such enthralling race coverage. Thanks again.

      2. Thank you for sharing Keith. It’s a sad loss but the outpouring from teams, drivers, journalists, fans, pundits and anyone involved with motorsport in any capacity shows how much infectious joy he poured into his work. It’s lovely to see such a celebration of his contributions.

    17. The finest F1 commentator to ever walk this earth, Rest In Peace Murray Walker

      1. Just average nothing more

        1. I’ve never heard him, but he’s got quite a fanbase in the UK so must have been quite special. Rest in peace

    18. The man’s voice was soundtrack to the sport, with his passion, emotion and charm. To me it still doesn’t sound quite like F1 without him! RIP Murray.

    19. « And I’ve got to stop, because I’ve got a lump in my throat »

    20. As many others have commented this man was a legend of the sport and made quite alot of gaffs over the years but the passion always shone through. No one had the voice he had when he got it right aswell. I felt like i was there with him. If he started today he would be getting compared to Jonathan Legard tho especially the older Murray. Ri[ Murray godspeed my friend.

    21. R.I.P. Murray Walker.

    22. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      13th March 2021, 19:34

      Such a beautiful, genuine man, the likes we will never see again. Thank you for all the great memories and being part of the reason I fell in love with the sport all those years ago. His memory and his voice will live on in the minds of Formula One fans.

    23. When I think of great motorsport commentators I think of Bob Jenkins, Leigh Diffey, Mike Joy, Bob Varsha, and Murray Walker to name a few. Murray was on another level

    24. It’s lights out for the final time

      R.I.P

    25. I was hoping we could have been mistaken when this news came through, but alas, it is time.

      What a great life he lived, passionately presenting our favourite sport to us for so long. His commentary style complemented the action on track so strikingly, that many famous moments can’t be re-lived without hearing his voice piercing every frame.

      Rest peacefully Murray Walker, and thank you for all the wonderful memories I will never forget.

    26. The most likeable person I have never met in my life. A phenomenal commentator, most have tried to imitate him, all have failed, there’s only one Murray Walker.

    27. The startwatch has finally been stopped :(
      Rest in Peace Murray. Thanks for being such a large part of my childhood, a wonderful man.

    28. I’m currently listening to the Beyond the Grid 1000th race podcast featuring Murray recorded in 2019 and it’s incredible how lucid he still was at age 95. You would never know. A sharp mind (apart from the occasional comical gaff near the end of his F1 career), and a great man. A proper legend and great man all round. What a life he’s lived, and one to celebrate, of which I’m doing tonight.

    29. I remember his collaboration with James hunt, you couldn’t get two more different people. I remember his wonderful excitable commentary reflecting his obvious love of the sport.
      R.I.P Murray Walker.

    30. A sad day not just for Forma 1, but, for British motorsport in general. I remember his commentaries from the late 70s.

    31. Murray’s hi-octane commentary was just so much a part of F1. His enthusiasm drew you into the action. Pound to a penny, when folk look back to some ‘golden age of F1’, his voice is a wonderful part of that rose tint. Top step Murray, what a race well won.

    32. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      13th March 2021, 20:41

      Very sad to hear this. He was the soundtrack to my childhood not only from the F1 but the touring cars and rallycross too. His enthusiasm was infectious.

    33. Gutting news but 97, fair play. He will be missed

    34. The Chain, James Hunt & Murray Walker.
      End of an era.
      He had a good innings.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        13th March 2021, 21:07

        97 laps around the sun is a decent stint alright

    35. When I first started watching F1 on the English channels, as a non English speaker I’ve never understood a word of Murray’s commentary. Though he cheered me -and millions around the world- to watch F1 with his golden voice. Only when I grew up and with the help of the internet watching the old races, I knew who he was and I enjoyed his commentary more than I ever did when I was a kid.
      One of the legends of the sport and above all a great man. He was and will always be the voice of F1. Thank you for all the great moments. Rest in peace.

    36. Thank you for the wonderful memories Murray.

    37. In the middle of the 1990:th the Swedish television company broadcasted the British Touring Car Championship with original British commentary by Murray. It was sensational! R.I.P. Murray Walker.

    38. R.I.P. For me he will always be the voice of F1, and he was one of the reasons I started to follow F1 as his enthusiasm was contagious. I always felt that things were just better when Murray was the commentator.

    39. What a sad day. The voice of F1 brought so much life and excitement to the sport. RIP Murray, you’ll be missed.

    40. I remember so many Murray-isms from my days growing up in Australia nad watching the F1’s at 10pm+ at night when I was suppose to be in bed.

      One of the truly best commentators we’ve had in F1

    41. “Yes! Michael schumacher takes the lead of the grand prix of europe!”, nurburgring 1995 I believe, when he chased and passed alesi with a more aggressive tyre strategy, I remember that phrase well from murray, a great commentator, even though I’ve only heard him occasionally, generally I listen to races in italian.

    42. Hats off and thank you so much, Mr Walker !

      Anything can happen in life, and it usually does. Motorsports enthusiasts around the world will be heartbroken at the appalling news of your retirement during the victory lap. But they will also remember that you won the race by the proverbial country mile. Your recognition was richly deserved, and couldn’t have happened to a better person.

    43. Thank you Murray Walker. Rest in Peace.

    44. Farewell to a true legend, who brought our favourite sport even more to life for so many years. Thank you for your part in realising my childhood dream, to work in television broadcasting one day.

      Had the opportunities to meet him twice. The first at a Rallycross event in 1980 where he personally organised and led a tour of the BBC’s OB units. The second at the Spanish Grand Prix 1997. He was just about to enter the ITV production office when my girlfriend and her sister were chanting “Murray! Murray!”

      He turned round and gave us a cheery wave, walked back down the steps and came across to where we were standing. Photos and autographs? No problem whatsoever and we all chatted for a few minutes – I was amazed he remembered we’d met so many years before.

      Rest in peace Murray, you will be sadly missed

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