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banner Saturday, 29 September, 2001, 11:03 GMT 12:03 UK
F1's tribute to Murray
Murray Walker receives his Lifetime Achievement award from Bernie Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone salutes the voice of F1
Michael Schumacher and Bernie Ecclestone were among Formula One celebrities at a dinner to mark the end of Murray Walker's 52-year career in commentary.

Guests were treated to memorable moments from Walker's time behind the microphone, and various attempts by drivers to mimic his infamous style.

"I am overwhelmed," said Walker, who is retiring after Sunday's United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis.


He made even the most boring race sound exciting
David Coulthard

"Four people said they were sorry they could not be at the party - but I did not even know there was going to be a party."

The 77-year-old was given one of the original bricks used to build the Indianapolis Speedway in 1911 as a present from circuit chief Tony George.

"Murray is not going to retire - this is a gap year," said Ecclestone, referring to McLaren's Mika Hakkinen, who is taking a sabbatical in 2002.

"Murray will have a pass for life, no worries."

Formula One driver Martin Brundle, who has worked closely alongside Walker, says he will really miss the 77-year-old.

"I am not looking forward to the race when he puts the microphone down," he said.

"It is going to be a difficult time - he has been like a second father to me.

McLaren's David Coulthard
Walker was an influence on Coulthard's early career
"I have been commentating for five years, which is 100% of my career - but it is just 10% of his."

And David Coulthard revealed Walker was a significant influence on his career as a Formula One driver.

"Murray is as big a name as Ferrari, McLaren or Bernie Ecclestone," said Coulthard. "There is no question about that.

"No-one will be able to follow him.

"I can remember tuning into BBC2 listening to Murray's commentary on the Grand Prix highlights programmes when I was a kid.

"His enthusiasm for F1 added to its interest for a lot of viewers and helped in the growth of the sport.

"And he made even the most boring race sound exciting."

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Murray Walker
"I want to go out while I'm still ahead"
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