On This Day in #F1 : 30th September 2001 – Murray Walker

Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler Carlo Carluccio

– 2001: Go! Go! Go! Go! Formula One’s legendary commentator Murray Walker hung up his microphone in style after the 2001 United States Grand Prix.

Two weeks had passed since the Monza GP, and almost 3 weeks since the sad events that unfolded in New York on the morning of Tuesday 11th September. There was some speculation regarding the running of the US Grand Prix, as it would be the first major sporting event held on American soil since the tragedy. The fans that attended embraced the sport and said their thanks with countless banners throughout the 185,000 crowd.

Murray Walker’s last commentary would cover the final victory of Hakkinen’s career. A fitting end to two great F1 careers.

His decision was based on the fact he was 78 years of age and he would rather leave than be asked to leave. Throughout 2001, he had chosen a lighter work schedule and avoided the races he didn’t particularly enjoy.

While the future of Mika Hakkinen had been on everyones lips for the previous few weeks, at Indy the focus of all conversations was the retirement of Walker as TV’s front man.

A special send off was organised by the Williams team on the Friday night marking the end of an era. Colleagues who had worked with Walker, team bosses, Ecclestone and all the drivers were present. It spoke volumes for his personality and professionalism that everyone attended.

The evening included personal memories from a number of different people.

Coulthard: “He has created great television out of sometimes boring races and makes every event seem like losing your virginity.”

Irvine: “It was amazing. He can makes the most boring race sound great. I used to get excited because he did make mistakes, but it did really annoy me”

Some of my favourites include,

You can cut the tension with a cricket stump.

Eight minutes past the hour here in Belgium – presumably eight minutes past the hour everywhere in the world.

And now, excuse me while I interrupt myself.

Are they on a one stopper? Are they on a two? And when I say they, who do I mean? Well, I don’t know. It could be anybody.

Do my eyes deceive me, or is Senna’s Lotus sounding rough?

But for me it has to be,

Murray: So Bernie, in the seventeen years since you bought Mclaren, which of your many achievements do you think was the most memorable?

Bernie: Well I don’t remember buying Mclaren.

Straight from the horses mouth, some more Murray-isms to enjoy:

An extraordinary career, he was recognised within Britain and other countries around the world that received their commentary from the BBC service as the “voice of F1”.

Yet he could also speak in measured tones if the circumstances required him too.

A humble and self deprecating man, this last clip exemplifies perfectly what his voice could bring to the most solemn of sports.

Thirteen years on and he is still missed.

13 responses to “On This Day in #F1 : 30th September 2001 – Murray Walker

  1. very much missed.the voice that got me into f1 and hearing him on any commentary is simply magical.

  2. On this day and every day, it’s a good day for a Murrayism, dang it, I used to have a screensaver I made with Murray and Mika quotes and the odd Brundleism but I trashed that backup accidentally.. guess I might make another.

    I know he’s a impossible act to follow, but crikey, cannot one other than Bundle work on a bit of style? Kravitz is value, just grew the confidence with his ability to always sound a art of the real business end, and he and Brundle are my fallback excuse for paying Murdoch. But it’s just not overall done well enough.

    Is anyone else any good out there? I mean who i’d not usually hear, on Brit telly?

  3. I used to daydream if having Mika in the box with Murray, it might go something like:

    “I know what I’m seeing and what I’m not seeing, is anything here I don’t see what I should be and what should be what I just can’t see, what do you think Mika?”


  4. Sorely missed. Impermeably linked to F1. I always imagined that his voice was connected to the throttle. Hard to believe it’s 13 years since his dulcet (?), ok, shrill tones graced our airwaves. Miss the Murrayisms, too, my fave being “Ferrarilliant” as Schumacher took the title (was it 2000? I forget).
    Thanks for the reminder, CC.

  5. All of my best F1 memories include Murray’s exuberant voice and passion… His voice is etched across all the great moments for me…

    Many, many years ago, when playing back yard Rugby with my older brother (who was F1 mad too), we’d even taunt each other with a Murray toned style…

    Eg: (With Murray’s voice)

    “And SiS scores another try… Yes yes yes, the third one of the game! What a dominant display…” and so on…

    Much to the annoyance of the other…

  6. Reblogged this on Still I surprise… and commented:
    A very nice reminder for older Formula One fans, and a lesson to new Formula One fans as to who was, is and always will be the Voice of Formula One. The rest, at least so far, are just pretenders…

    To finish, despite the article being re-blogged here (thanks wordpress re-blog button!), if you have not already visited The Judge 13 website, please do. It’s a top site for Formula One daily news, insider whispers, opinions, fan features, weekly podcasts, analysis and debate.

    • I dislike that this happens – above automated comment… makes me feel like I have stolen something, whereas I am promoting it. Anyway, good write up Carlo. Liking the OTD’s more and more, even when you’ve bagged Schumacher! 😉

  7. I do miss the great voice of Formula 1- its especially poignant when you see the ‘youngsters of today’ who do not have the benefit of Murray commentating every two weeks getting excited listening to the great Murray Walker on old broadcasts. He made every race an occasion. As a youngster myself I preferred F1 over 500cc motorbike racing purely because of the theatre Murray brought to the races.
    No amount of HD, fancy graphics, special films or user experience features that we have in todays coverage bring a comparable amount of excitement that Murray Walkers commentary of old would bring to each race.

    On a seperate note, does anyone who follows the BBC coverage just find Ben Edward’s ‘excitable’ commentary forced and irritable? Everytime I hear him go ‘lights out! awaaay we gooo’ my teeth grind to the point that Ive managed to snap a couple of them off. I spend each race silently praying that he wont say that irritating race start catchphrase again. It pisses me off more than Seb’s finger. Much more.

  8. Great article. I think my favourite Murray memory is the 92 Monaco grand prix. At the time, and due to various technical reasons, I couldn’t see the F1 pictures on my tv screen, but I could still hear the commentary, and I would sit and listen to Murray with a pen and paper to keep track of who was where.
    Anyway, as anyone who remembers that particular race, the first 3/4ths wasn’t all that exciting as Mansell drove away from Senna, and I actually dozed off in my seat – which was rare. And then something woke me. Something was happening, I didn’t know what, all I knew was that it was amazing and exciting. I opened my eyes and realised I had been asleep, and that Murray was shouting with excitement as Mansell pitted to replace a tyre, and then spent the last few laps crawling all over the back of Senna trying to take back the win. Thankfully Murray woke me up from my slumber or I would have missed the whole thing. Thanks dude.

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