Murray Walker’s voice has trailed off. The legendary commentator, the undisputed voice of Formula 1 in the United Kingdom for his role as a narrator between 1976 and 2001, has died this Saturday at the age of 97.
The BRDC announced this afternoon the death of the charismatic journalist, a reference both for the British public for whom he narrated and for enthusiasts around the world who have been interested in the historic careers of this sport.
Born in 1923, Walker discovered the world of motorsport as a child at the hands of his father, who was first a renowned motorcycle racer and later magazine editor and BBC radio commentator for this specialty.
After serving in a tank regiment during World War II, Murray tried to make his way into motorcycling, explaining in 2013 that perhaps to emulate the successes of his father. He did not succeed, but with the leap to journalism, he became a legend.
In the 1970s he narrated occasional Grand Prix, junior category races, and touring car competitions until in 1978 he was commissioned by the BBC to be the full-time Formula 1 narrator.
Walker then formed a commendable tandem with champion James Hunt, who was his commentator. A rare couple who gave away some memorable television moments for how different they were.
Hunt worked with Walker until his death in 1993. From then on he was replaced by fellow pilot Jonathan Palmer, with whom he shared the cabin until the end of the 1996 season, which was when the rights to Formula 1 passed from the BBC to the ITV.
His last full season as a storyteller was 2001, although he had remained involved in the sport ever since and had not lost an iota of appreciation from the paddock.
His storytelling style, characterized by involving the viewer and trying to make him share his love for sports, and sometimes committing the odd little endearing slip, made him an extremely popular figure who will now remain forever linked to history. of this category.
“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the death of Murray Walker, OBE and associate member of the BRDC,” wrote the British Racing Drivers’ Club this afternoon.
“A friend, a true motoring legend, the nation’s favorite commentator and a contagious smile. Murray will be missed. His brand and voice will live on in the motor and our hearts forever.”