The 2001 season will be ITV commentator Murray Walker's final season commentating on the happenings of the F1 fraternity and he has elected to miss five races in order for his successor to be chosen and get up to speed.

He told ITV Sport: "I certainly don't want to go. In fact, it is the last thing I want for I love what I do and consider myself wonderfully lucky to be able to do it. But although I do not feel it, I am literally, at nearly 78, an old man who has been commentating on F1 for some 52 years."

"I go to the gym twice a week in an effort to keep fit but age withers and it is going to wither me. Right now I feel very comfortable about keeping up with everything both at and away from the circuits but the time is going to come when I cannot."

He added, "No one can look into the future and I certainly can't but I just have a gut feeling that now is the time to go. At the end of this season that is."

"I have therefore agreed with ITV that I will miss five races this year so that my successor can be chosen and get up to speed. I thought James Allen did a really excellent job at Sao Paulo and so did Ted Kravitz, a super bloke who is usually with Martin (Brundle) and I in the commentary box but who very confidently and capably took James's place in the pit lane in Brazil."

"I won't be at either of the German races at Hockenheim and the Nurburgring, at Hungary or Canada but I know that what I currently do will be in very good hands at all of them. The excellence of James's commentary at Brazil is underlined by the fact that not once did I find myself frustratedly shouting at the screen!"

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