This is meant to be one of the most exciting times of the season as the new cars take to the track for the first time, but tonight the Formula One paddock and indeed the entire motorsport community and beyond are in mourning after the passing of legendary commentator Murray Walker.
Walker, who celebrated his 97th birthday last year is widely regarded as one of the best commentator ever and the outpour of emotion when the announcement was made only highlights this further.
The British Racing Driver’s Club released a statement which read;
“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 nations 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.
“RIP our friend.”
Martin Brundle, former F1 driver and current Sky Sports F1 commentator shared on twitter; “Rest in Peace Murray Walker. Wonderful man in every respect. National treasure, communication genius, Formula One legend.
We last heard the iconic voice of Murray Walker when he was interviewed prior to the F1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silvestone, when Simon Lazerby had to cut him off due to time constraints, but it just showed F1 fans that he still had the love for the sport which he was the voice off for so many years.
The Silverstone Circuit Managing Director, Stuart Pringle, also released a statement; “It is with great sadness that I have to inform Silverstone’s fans that Murray Walker died earlier today. He was to so many of us fans of F1, the voice that epitomised the sport we love.
“Knowledgeable beyond words and with a passion that occasionally got the better of him in commentary, he brought the sport and some of its greatest moments to life in a way that ensured they remained seared in our memories for ever.
“Much will be written about the impact that Murray had on the sport and we will make a more fulsome tribute in due course, but for the time being rest in peace Murray and thank you.”
The legacy he leaves is some of inspiration and I am sure that his passing will be dealt with in the appropriate way by the F1 paddock, to honour the man that they grew up with on their TV screens.
Walker commentated on his first race, the 1949 British Grand Prix for the BBC and in 1978 he would become a full-time F1 commentator.
He worked for both the BBC and ITV before retiring from full-time commentary in 2001.