Remembering Murray Walker: The Defining Voice Of Formula 1

By Craig Ranson
By Craig Ranson

Managing Director – Bridge Classic Cars

Motorsport legend Murray Walker has died aged 97. Best known for his iconic voice and commentating, Murray became synonymous with Formula 1. Murray is best remembered for his endearing and characterful commentating, leading to colloquialisms and mistakes soon referred to as Murray-isms. One of his most famous lines came about when announcing the Damon Hill became the F1 Champion in 1996; “”I’ve got to stop now, because I’ve got a lump in my throat”.

Damon Hill said in an interview after Murray’s death: “He could emote the events that happened in our sport. The shocking moments and the dramatic moments all have Murray’s reaction to them and he made those events stick in your mind forever. And he allowed himself not to be the know-it-all commentator, but the fan who, at times, got over-excited.”

Murray was passionate about all things with wheels and a motor, from bikes and cars. Although his career started in advertising, he soon brought his ear for catchy slogans to F1 in 1978.

“The iconic voice of our sport and a great man, thank you for all you did, you will never be forgotten,” said Lewis Hamilton.

In a touching video by Formula One, they describe Murray as part of the F1 family, for racers and fans, “It was never work to Murray, it was never just commentating, it was simply telling the world about something he loved. And for that, the world loved Murray too.”

You can read more about Murray Walker here. You can also see his life in pictures here.

According to Eurosport, here at the top Murray-isms:

“Unless I am very much mistaken…. I AM very much mistaken!”

“Mansell is slowing down, taking it easy. Oh no he isn’t IT’S A LAP RECORD.”

“This is an interesting circuit, because it has inclines. And not just up, but down as well.”

“The lead car is absolutely unique, except for the one behind it which is identical.”

“The most important part of the car is the nut that holds the wheel.”

“I know it’s an old cliche, but you can cut the atmosphere with a cricket stump.”

“Tambay’s hopes, which were nil before, are absolutely zero now.”

“And there’s no damage to the car. Except to the car itself.”

“That’s the first time he had started from the front row in a Grand Prix, having done so in Canada earlier this year.”

“Here in Malaysia, it doesn’t rain here by the bucketful, it rains by the ocean.”

“How you can crash into a wall without it being there in the first place is beyond me!”

“Excuse me while I interrupt myself”

“And the first five places are filled by five different cars.”

“And Damon Hill is following Damon Hill.”

“Michael Schumacher is leading Michael Schumacher.”

“Jean Alesi is 4th and 5th.”

“Villeneuve is now twelve seconds ahead of Villeneuve.”

“Frentzen is taking, er, reducing that gap between himself and Frentzen.”

“This has been a great season for Nelson Piquet, as he is now known, and always has been.”

“It’s lap 26 of 58, which unless I’m very much mistaken is half way.”

“I’m ready to stop my start watch.”

“Only a few more laps to go and then the action will begin. Unless this is the action, which it is!”

“I can’t imagine what kind of problem Senna has. I imagine it must be some sort of grip problem.”

“He’s obviously gone in for a pit stop. I say obviously, because I cannot see anything.”

“And the first three cars are all Escorts, which isn’t surprising as this is an all Escort race.”

“He is exactly 10 seconds ahead, or more approximately, 9.86 seconds.”

“Look up there! That’s the sky!”

“There’s nothing wrong with his car except that it’s on fire.”

“I don’t want to tempt fate but Damon Hill is now only half a lap from his first Grand Prix win and… and HE’S SLOWING DOWN, DAMON HILL IS SLOWING DOWN… HE’S… HE’S STOPPED!”

“As you look at the first four, the significant thing is that Alboreto is fifth.”

“He’s the only man on the track, except for his car.”

“You might think that’s not cricket, and it’s not. It’s motor racing.”

“And Michael Schumacher is actually in a very good position. He is in last place.”

“One light, two lights, three lights, four laps, five lights, go, go, go!”

“That’s history. I say history because it happened in the past.”

“There are a lot of IFs in Formula One, in fact IF is Formula One backwards!”

“Anything happens in Grand Prix racing, and it usually does.”

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