Former Australian Grand Prix Chief Ron Walker has died at the age of 78 following a long battle with cancer.
Walker was the head of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC), starting out the role in 1993, where he played a crucial role in moving the race from Adelaide to Melbourne in 1996. The Grand Prix is still hosted at Albert Park to this date.
Outside of Motorsport, Walker was a key business figure in managing sporting events with Melbourne, as well as enjoying media interested and having a political career, being the Lord Mayor of Melbourne from 1974 to 1976.
The Australian enjoyed a close relationship to former CEO of F1, Bernie Ecclestone before retiring from his role in 2015 after the Grand Prix took place.
“Formula 1, on behalf of all those who knew and worked with Ron Walker, wishes to express its deepest condolences for his recent passing,” read a statement from F1.com.
“He was a huge supporter of the sport for many decades, and was instrumental in bringing the Grand Prix to Melbourne at the start of each season of the FIA World Championship.”
The Current chairman of the AGPC, John Harnden paid tribute to Walker, who praised him for a man “who passionately loved Melbourne”
“Ron Walker was a great Australian and Victorian, who passionately loved Melbourne. He had an enormous impact on the city and state from his early days as Lord Mayor, through to shaping the landscape of sport and major events in Victoria. His legacy is unparalleled.” said Harden.
Tributes have been paid to Walker on Social Media, with former Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber posting images with him on his official Instagram account.
View this post on Instagram
My racing journey simply would not have been possible without this incredible man Ron Walker. Both professionally and privately he took me under his wing 20 years ago. Myself and my family will never forget Ron and the positive impact he had on us… Rest easy my friend 😔😔😔
Ron Walker (1939 – 2018)