Murray Walker reveals he “didn’t exactly welcome” James Hunt

But admits, “When he got rid of the nastiness and stopped racing, he was a really decent chap"

During Formula 1’s glory years of the 80s Murray Walker and James Hunt were an unbeatable double act. But, it wasn’t always rosy.


“To begin with there was a fraught atmosphere. I didn’t exactly welcome him. I was old enough to be his father and I didn’t approve of a lot of things he did: drinking, smoking, womanizing, all to great excess,” Walker tells Radio Times magazine.

“After he’d stopped racing and lost a lot of money and a gigantically expensive divorce cleaned him out, a really nice bloke took over. And after that we got on really well,” he adds.

And while Walker says Hunt had a “terrifying temper” and could give the engineers “a tremendous tongue-lashing”, he had a softer side too.

Walker explains, “James was a great budgerigar fancier. He once took me to his aviary; he’s got dozens of budgies, knew them all by name, and was a very keen showman.”

On new hit film Rush, which relives Hunt’s tussle with Nikki Lauda in the 1976 World Championship, Walker says:

“They’ve caught all the racing stuff absolutely perfectly. Bu they’ve taken some artistic licence with the story. Lauda and Hunt weren’t bitter enemies; they were great friends who at one point shared a flat together.”

Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times magazine (on sale Tuesday) plus check out Murray Walker at 90, Sunday 4:00pm, Radio 5 Live. 

Picture: Don Smith