James Hunt was one-half of the BBC’s F1 commentary team in the early 1980s and 1990s. He was also a former F1 champion having won his one and only title with McLaren in 1976. He retired in 1979 citing a lack of competitive machinery was not worth risking his life for at a time when safety was comparatively primitive compared to today’s standards. He joined Murray Walker in the commentary box for the 1980 season and remained a calm side-kick to Walker’s tornado-like approach for 13 years. As commenting partnerships go, it has never been bettered.
Initially, Walker and Hunt did not get on but gradually the partnership grew into one of mutual respect. Although Walker has never been shy of realistically critiquing Hunt’s lifestyle choice over the years. Hunt’s lifestyle and temperament during his sporting career were generally considered to be hedonistic. But listening to his commentary you would never have known. He sounded like a draconian professor at times.
His style was highly articulate, cutting, and to the point. No one was out of his line of calmly delivered and accurate fire. James Hunt died in his sleep at the age of 45 from a heart attack in 1993.