Murray Walker tributes LIVE: Murray Walker mourned after death of F1 commentator as motorsport pays tribute – latest

Motorsport is mourning the death off legendary F1 commentator Murray Walker, who has passed away at the age of 97.

Tributes for the broadcasting icon have been pouring in as Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle said: "He was to so many of us fans of F1 the voice that epitomised the sport we love."

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  • William Pugh

    But Walker's calling was beyond the boardroom and back at the race tracks when he still spent his time at the weekend.

    Working across many different series, he eventually got his shot in F1, when he gave his first commentary, fittingly it was the 1949 British GP at Silverstone.

    He eventually got the gig full time at the BBC in 1978 and was lead commentator until the broadcaster lost the rights to ITV in 1997.

    Walker also jumped ship and continued to commentate until the 2001 United States Grand Prix.

    Walker would still do regular TV work for F1. In 2015, he presented an F1 show with Suzi Perry while in 2016 he joined Channel 4's coverage.

     

  • William Pugh

    WAR STORIES

    In an interview with the Guardian in 2007, Walker said: "I was in a tank regiment during the war.

    "When I came out I had delusions of grandeur that I would be able to show my father how a motorcycle should really be raced.

    "I was all right, but I wasn't good enough to satisfy myself because I had started in business and I was doing fairly well.

    "I obviously wasn't committed because the business won the day and the hobby didn't because I think I knew in my heart of hearts that I wouldn't be top man."

    Instead, Walker carved out a career in advertising and headed up the team that came up with the 'a Mars a day helps you work rest and play' slogan.

    He also is credited with coining the 'Opal Fruits: made to make your mouth water' marketing tagline…

  • William Pugh

    MURRAY WALKER – DEAD AT 97

    By SunSport's F1 correspondent Ben Hunt

    Murray Walker the legendary F1 commentator, has passed away at the age of 97.

    The Brit was THE voice of motorsport and headed up the UK's F1 coverage from 1976 until 2001.

    Walker was known for his enthusiasm and was a true gent and will be fondly remembered for his humorous slip-ups, dubbed 'Murrayisms'.

    A statement from F1 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."

    Born in 1923, Walker was surrounded by racing as his father, Graham, raced motorcycles for Rudge, Sunbeam and Norton. He spent most weekends growing up at race tracks watching his father compete before trying to race himself while juggling a career in advertising.

    Murray Walker has died aged 97Credit: Rex Features
  • William Pugh

    'PASSION AND POSITIVITY'

    Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team said Murray Walker's attitude towards F1 was unmatched.

  • William Pugh

    'THE VOICE OF FORMULA ONE'

    Gary Lineker described Walker as a broadcasting great in his own touching tribute to the 'voice of F1'.

  • William Pugh

    'NATION'S FAVOURITE'

    The British Racing Drivers' Club announced the sad news slightly more than one hour ago and described him as a 'motorsport legend'.

  • William Pugh

    'SPARKLE AND PRIDE'

    Former F1 presenter Jake Humphrey has added to the thousands of touching messages being posted online about iconic commentator Walker.

    The BT Sport frontman described Walker as 'setting the standard'.

  • William Pugh

    'KNOWLEDGEABLE BEYOND WORDS'

    The home of British F1 Silverstone has also tweeted their own tribute to the legendary commentator.

    Silverstone's managing director Stuart Pringle's message was posted on their Twitter account.

  • William Pugh

    RIP MURRAY

    Former driver and F1 commentator Martin Brundle was one of the first to pay tribute to Murray Walker who has died aged 97.

    The 61-year-old called Walker a 'wonderful man' and a 'national treasure'.

  • Ben Hunt

    DAY TWO IS DONE – MERCEDES ARE BACK IN BUSINESS

    Valtteri Bottas tops the timesheets on the softest tyre. It looks as though Mercedes' problems are over.

    Excellent work from Pierre Gasly once again as we are now two thirds through testing.

    Aston Martin and McLaren will also be pleased with their second day performances.

    Lando Norris's time was set on the medium tyres while Daniel Ricciardo looked strong in the morning.

    As for concerns, Ferrari don't look particularly strong and Carlos Sainz is not yet up to speed.

    Fernando Alonso was down in 10th in his return for Alpine while Haas look like they could struggle with their battle with Williams.

    Bottas – 1:30.289
    Gasly +0.1
    Stroll +0.1
    Norris +0.2
    Giovinazzi +0.4
    Leclerc +0.5
    Latifi +1.3
    Perez +1.3
    Ricciardo +1.9
    Alonso +2.0
    Tsunoda +2.3
    Schumacher +2.5
    Sainz +2.7
    Mazepin +2.8
    Hamilton +3.1
    Vettel +8.5

  • Ben Hunt

    BOTTAS NOW GOES QUICKEST

    Mercedes are back on top. After a tricky two days, the Finn has now popped to the top of the timesheets.

    He's completed 53 laps and is trying to make up for lost time.

  • Ben Hunt

    IT HAS TAKEN TWO DAYS BUT FINALLY MERCEDES SHOW THEIR PACE

    Valtteri Bottas goes into the top four and has now completed 39 laps.

    After a difficult start where the Finn has a gearbox issue, Mercedes now look like they are back on track.

  • Ben Hunt

    RED FLAG – SESSION STOPPED

    The engine cover from Sergio Perez's Red Bull has come loose and broken on track.

    The session has been stopped while the marshals recover some of the debris.

    Red Bull will now need to find out what caused that failure while they fix the new cover in place.

  • Ben Hunt

    RELIABILITY IS LOOKING GOOD

    Aside from the gearbox failures on Bottas and Vettel's cars, there has been a refreshing about of reliability.

    Yes, much of the aero parts are carried over, but the news power units all look rather strong this year.

    Remember, teams only allowed to use three engines this season without penalty.

  • Ben Hunt

    SOLID FROM ALPHATAURI AND ALFA ROMEO

    The Red Bull B team finished 2020 so strongly and this year they are boosted by a new Honda engine, which has been rushed through ahead of schedule.

    They are looking quick and reliable out on track and stepping out from Red Bull's shadow.

    Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi is also enjoying himself. Currently fourth quickest on track and having done 93 laps.

  • Ben Hunt

    "PROMISING SIGNS" FOR FERRARI

    CHARLES LECLERC is confident Ferrari are showing "promising signs" as they look to bounce back from last season.
    The Italian team endured their worst finish in forty years as they were sixth in the constructors' championship.
    But after a winter of tweaking their car design, Leclerc says they are making improvements.
    He said: "The impressions were good again. Yesterday we went through all the programme in the morning, but the conditions are very very tricky.
    "It's very warm, and very windy, so it's very difficult to make a comparison with last year for now.
    "And it's all relative to the others: how much they improved compared to us.
    "But yeah, there are some promising signs, but we can't know until the first qualifying."
    The big issue Ferrari faced last year was their under-strength engine, which Leclerc was also an improvement this season.
    He added: "Everything feels quite good. But again, it's very difficult to comment now, nobody's pushing everything to its limit, especially in these conditions.
    "So for now it's early days. But everything feels good and, as I said, stacks up with what we expected."

  • Ben Hunt

    NAKITA MAZEPIN HAS A CLOSE SHAVE

  • Ben Hunt

    SERGIO PEREZ IS ON TRACK

    There is a big hype around the Mexican driver who has joined Red Bull.

    He obviously finished the season strongly at Racing Point and looking to get up to speed with his new team.

    I expect him to use as much time as he can in this session to get to grips with this car.

    His first practice race start was not good. But he is now away and ready to put in the laps.

  • Ben Hunt

    STILL STRUGGLING WITH THIS LIVERY

  • Ben Hunt

    FERRARI OUT ON TRACK

    And it is Charles Leclerc who is now out on track. He's used to this car and will be eyeing up the long runs, as his teammate Carlos Sainz didn't look comfortable.

    Sainz, who arrived at Ferrari from McLaren over the winter is slowly getting up to speed with their car.

  • Ben Hunt

    DAY TWO, PART TWO OF F1 TESTING

    The clock is ticking down as we pass the halfway stage of F1 testing. Only three days this year – usually it is eight, and more in the past.

    So not long to iron out any problems, as Mercedes and Aston Martin are finding.

  • Ben Hunt

    HALF WAY ON DAY TWO AND McLAREN AGAIN LOOK GOOD

    The Woking-based team top the timesheets thanks to Daniel Ricciardo's excellent laps.

    It was very impressive from the team who have a new engine supplier in Mercedes.

    Speaking of Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton spun off and he is clearly struggling with set-up issues.

    And a big concern for Merc will also be the gearbox failure in Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin.

    Aston are a customer of Mercedes and the problem limited the German to just nine laps.

    It comes after Valtteri Bottas suffered a gearbox issue the previous day. So that's to gearboxes in two days that need stripping apart and investigating.

  • Ben Hunt

    VETTEL NOW ON TRACK

    After a gearbox change, he is now back in the car and on track but like Bottas yesterday, he has lost a lot of time.

  • Ben Hunt

    MORE WOE FOR LEWIS HAMILTON

    LEWIS HAMILTON's dreadful start to the season continued when he spun off in Bahrain and was left stuck in the gravel.
    The world champion cut a dejected figure after losing control of his Mercedes at low speed.
    Hamilton lost grip at Turn 13 and slid slowly backwards into the gravel at under 80mph.
    Hamilton tried to drive away but his car was beached on the stone and needed rescuing from a pick-up truck.
    Former F1 driver Martin Brundle said: "It's so unusual to see Lewis looking at a stricken car these days.
    "But he's not exactly the only driver to be flying off the road today."
    Fellow ex-racer Karun Chandhok added: "It's really rare to see a mistake from Lewis, especially at testing.
    "I'm trying to think of all the pre-season tests I've been to in the last five, six years and I can't think of one time he has been in the gravel.
    "You see the odd thing where he goes off in the run-off area or something – but everyone does that. To see him cause a red flag, I can't think of a moment like that."
    In further embarrassment, his Mercedes was lifted high into the air, exposing the car's floor, which the team had tried to protect from prying eyes.
    It follows on from Friday's session where he finished 10th on the timesheets, while his teammate Valtteri Bottas suffered a gearbox problem.
    It resulted in the team completing fewer miles than any other team when usually they display bullet-proof reliability during testing.
    Bottas had questioned the team's decision not to run a shakedown during an official filming day, something every other team took advantage of.
    And on Friday night Hamilton said: "It wasn't the cleanest of days that we've had but these things are sent to try you.
    "Everyone has worked extremely hard to get us here. We had that mishap in the morning which was very unfortunate for Valtteri in terms of losing time on track and the team is working hard to try and understand what that was.
    "The second session wasn't without its challenges, but we exist to find solutions to the problems we are faced with.
    "We have no choice but to take the positives. I remember in 2007 during testing I had 10 days in the car and now it's getting less and less.
    "We only have a day and a half in the car before the first race, with different tyres and different aero modifications so it's not easy but it's the same for everyone.
    "I'd like to think my nine years' experience with this team will help me get the best out of it."  

  • Ben Hunt

    BIG DEVELOPMENT DOWN AT ASTON MARTIN

    Sebastian Vettel is out of his car, which is sitting in the team's garage.

    There is a suspected gearbox failure. And that if that is true, it will be a big worry for Mercedes, who supply the gearbox.

    Valtteri Bottas lost a chunk of time on Friday due to a gearbox problem. Could this be a similar issue?

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