On March 13, it was confirmed that the legendary voice of Formula One, Murray Walker, had passed away.
The news of his death summoned thousands of tributes from motorsport fans across the globe, who remembered him for his incomparable talent and contagious smile.
Peter Collins spoke to Straight to the Grid and shared some wonderful memories of his first time meeting Walker, whose voice filled the living rooms of millions during his commentary career that spanned 50 years.
He said; “I knew I had ‘arrived’ in Formula One, when on the 30th of August, 1998, just before the start of the Belgian Grand Prix, I met up with Murray Walker on the gantry behind the commentary positions.
“Murray asked what I had heard in relation to the performance of the Jordans that weekend?
“So why would that be of any great significance you might well ask. Well, here was Murray Walker, the most iconic broadcaster in F1 history, trusting me enough as a possible source of information just before we entered our respective broadcast booths at the Spa Francorchamps circuit.”
The two first met back in 1995, in an exchange that Collins said “wasn’t quite as comfortable”:
“It came at the opening round of the 1995 world championship.
“RTE’s then F1 producer Michael O’Carroll, already knew Murray by the time we showed up in the paddock that year.
“The exchange went something along these lines of; ‘Hello Murray’, ‘Aah Michael how are you?’ ‘Well, we’re here and that’s all that matters.'”
“Then Michael began the introductions. ‘This is our Murray, Murray, our commentator Peter Collins.’ ‘Hello Peter,’ he said, ‘are you looking forward to it?'”
“Slightly awestruck, I mused, he sounds just the same as he does on television, while at the same time responding with some incoherent gobbledegook:
“‘Car…fast…corner…Jordan…Irish…’ I exaggerate of course, but Murray responded as if I had just revealed the secret to Ferrari’s latest aerodynamic development.
“In other words, he was understanding and responded to my faltering nervous babble with the same enthusiasm with which he called his races.
“Those who knew Murray much better will testify to his many fine traits. He was a lovely man and a legendary broadcaster.
“May he Rest In Peace.”