The Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC), the Walker family, and members of the Formula 1® community came together today to honour the late Ronald J Walker AC CBE by officially naming the main straight of the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit the Walker Straight.
Trackside signage adjacent to the start/finish line was unveiled in recognition of Ronald Walker’s unrivalled legacy – the man responsible for bringing Formula 1® to Melbourne.
A one-minute celebration of Walker’s life will also take place prior to the national anthem before Sunday’s Formula 1® 2018 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
AGPC Chairman, John Harnden AM, believes the Walker Straight is a fitting way to acknowledge Walker’s memory.
“Ronald Walker’s contribution to Australia, to Victoria and to Melbourne in particular, is unrivalled and it is important that he is remembered in a special and long-lasting manner,” said Harnden.
“His drive and energy will continue to burn strong within the AGPC family and the Formula 1® community, and this tribute will also ensure there is a permanent legacy at each event.”
Following a State funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral where Walker was remembered by numerous family, friends, political, business and sporting identities, the Walker family today expressed its extreme gratitude for the way his life has been so widely celebrated.
“The support and respect we have received from the motorsport community and so many Victorians has been amazing and we know that Ronald would be proud,” Walker’s wife Barbara said.
“On behalf of the Walker family, we are honoured to have Ronald’s memory live on in this way and know that he would be incredibly appreciative of this moving gesture.”
Minister for Tourism and Major Events, the Hon. John Eren MP, applauded Walker’s dedication to the Victorian major events landscape.
“Ron helped put Victoria back on the map – working to attract the biggest and best events to Victoria.”
“His passion for our great state was at the heart of everything he did, and it’s in great part thanks to Ron that we are now known as the sporting capital of the world.”
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Formula 1®, Chase Carey, also spoke of his respect for Walker.
“We were deeply saddened when word of Ron’s passing reached the Formula 1® world and we would like to again extend our condolences to the Walker family,” said Carey.
“What Ron did for Formula 1® in Australia is truly remarkable.”
Known by many as ‘Mr Grand Prix’, Walker’s dedication to the city he loved extended far beyond the Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix.
His impact on the city and state from his early days as Lord Mayor through to shaping the sporting and major events landscape in Victoria goes unmatched.
Walker was AGPC Chairman from 1994-2015.