Honda website
Honda website

SEPTEMBER 28, 2001

A race of farewells

THE United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis is going to be a poignant event for many reasons but within the F1 community it will have added significance as it marks the end of two extraordinary careers in Grand Prix racing. Murray Walker, the man who had commentated on F1 for countries across the world via the BBC and more recently ITV is retiring after an involvement with F1 which goes back more than 50 years. Murray (78) did his first Grand Prix commentaries in 1949 before Formula 1 even existed and until 1978 did occasional races for the BBC when the regular commentator Raymond Baxter was not available. His full-time involvement in F1 came in 1978 when the BBC began showing every F1 race and the Murray Walker and James Hunt commentary team became the most popular in the world as the BBC transmissions were shown in English-speaking countries such as India, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The other retirement is that of McLaren team coordinator Jo Ramirez (60) who started in F1 in 1981 as a mechanic to his friend Ricardo Rodriguez, the two men having grown up together in Mexico. The highly-rated Rodriguez was killed at the end of 1962 but Ramirez stayed in Europe and went on to work for both Maserati and Lamborghini.

In 1966 he moved to England to work with Ford and later with Dan Gurney's Eagle F1 team. After the F1 team closed down Jo spent three years with Gurney involved in CanAm, Indycar and TransAm racing but in 1971 returned to Britain to work as chief mechanic for Jo Siffert with the legendary John Wyer Automotive Gulf Porsche sportscar team.

The following year he returned to F1, working with Jackie Stewart and Francois Cevert at Tyrrell. In 1975 he was hired to be the team manager of South America's own F1 team - Copersucar-Fittipaldi and there followed stints as team manager of the Shadows, ATS and Theodore teams before he joined McLaren in December 1983.