Murray Walker, the voice of Formula One, died on Saturday aged 97.
Walker’s broadcasting career spanned more than 50 years before he retired from commentating in 2001 and his mistakes – later nicknamed ‘Murrayisms’ – helped to earn him his status as a national treasure.
Walker’s passion for motor racing shone through on the microphone and here, the PA news agency looks at some of those ‘Murrayisms’.
While commentating on Nigel Mansell, Walker noted: “Mansell is slowing down, taking it easy. Oh no he isn’t – it’s a lap record!”
Commentating on an Ayrton Senna victory, Walker said: “This would have been Senna’s third win a row, if he’d won the two before.”
Interviewing Mansell one time, he said: “Nigel, will you first of all carefully and slowly take your hat off. You’ve got an enormous bump on your head – can you let me see it?” As the driver tentatively removed his baseball cap, Walker poked at the bump, saying: “Right up there. Oh, I’m sorry.” Which left Mansell laughing through the pain.
Another memorable quip from Walker was: “There are seven winners of the Monaco Grand Prix on the starting line today, and four of them are Michael Schumacher.”
Waiting for the race lights to come on ahead of one grand prix, Walker started counting: “Three lights, four lights, five laps….pause!”
Giving some background information, he said: “This is an interesting circuit, because it has inclines. And not just up, but down as well.”
He once proclaimed: “There is nothing wrong with his car, except that it is on fire!”
Another time, he said: “And there’s no damage to the car. Except to the car itself.”
On a wet track, Walker announced: “Here in Malaysia, it doesn’t rain here by the bucketful, it rains by the ocean.”
On another occasion, he said: “I’m ready to stop my startwatch.”
Walker famously said: “Unless I’m very much mistaken – which I am!”
During one grand prix, as Michael Schumacher exited the pitlane, the race monitor Walker had in front of him had “Schumacher out” on the screen. The driver was quite high up in the running and Walker started shouting down his mic: “Schumacher out! Michael Schumacher is out of the race!” Before his co-commentator Martin Brundle calmly replied: “I think that’s Schumacher out of the pits, Murray.”
During a safety car stint, he said: “Only a few more laps to go and then the action will begin. Unless this is the action, which it is!”
There was some slight confusion as Walker saw double, saying: “And Damon Hill is following Damon Hill.”
“Unless I’m very much mistaken” later became the title of his autobiography.
Well known throughout his career for his “isms”, Walker could laugh at himself too and during a TV advert for Pizza Hut, he ordered food alongside Hill and announced: “Hmm, pasta.” Before Hill corrected him, saying: “It’s pizza, Murray!”
He was always polite, adding: “Excuse me while I interrupt myself.”
Outside of F1, Walker commented: “And the first three cars are all Escorts, which isn’t surprising as this is an all-Escort race.”
Walker always brought a smile to those watching the races, and will be remembered fondly. As he once said: “That’s history. I say history, because it happened in the past.”