Murray Walker admits commentating on F1 from London studio

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Murray Walker admits commentating on F1 from London studio

Murray Walker's has long been the voice of Formula One, but now the broadcasting legend has admitted that he gave many of his race commentaries from the comfort of a studio in London, rather than from the race venue itself.

Starting his career in the 70s, Walker provided his unique commentary on every season between 1978-2001.

Throughout this time, he regularly made his way to BBC studios in Shepherd's Bush, London rather than going to race destinations, often simply to avoid the jet lag and organised chaos associated with far-flung championship events.

"We would try to give the impression that we were there," said Murray. "You could not say you were there because that would have been a lie," reported The Mirror.

"So I'd say something like: 'I can't see the pits from my commentary position'. Which was true because I would be thousands of miles away!"

The deception worked well, though Walker was nearly rumbled by British F1 legend James Hunt, who joined the BBC as an F1 commentator in 1980 after his retirement from racing.

"James was a very complex character and I was old enough to be his father," said Walker.

"He had a terrifying temper and was very outspoken. He had very strong views on everything."

"We were once covering the South African Grand Prix during the days of apartheid. All of a sudden, and for no particular reason, he launched into an attack on apartheid.

"It was nothing to do with the Grand Prix, nor would it do British-South African relations any good. Our producer pushed a piece of paper across saying: 'Talk about the race!'

"And then James blurted out on air: 'Thank God we're not actually there!'"

Murray was able to gloss over the outburst while seemingly managing to keep the secret. The retired F1 supremo now has no qualms about fessing up, though we doubt this little revelation will detract from his enthusiasm and energy, which he brought to the sport over two decades of commentating.