Three times world champion and F1 legend Niki Lauda died at 70. He had undergone a lung transplant last August followed by another stint in hospital for a bout of influenza in January this year.
Who is Niki Lauda?
Andreas Nikolaus “Niki” Lauda was an Austrian Formula One driver, a three-time winning F1 World Drivers’ Champion, in 1975, 1977 and 1984, and an aviation entrepreneur. He was the only driver in F1 history to have been champion for both Ferrari and McLaren, the sport’s two most successful constructors. He was born in Vienna, Austria.
He won the F1 world championship three times in the ’70s and ’80s. He was not only a racer, but also a licensed Pilot and an entrepreneur as he started his own airline company – Lauda Air. He drove his first F1 race at the age of 22.
Even after his retirement, Niki Lauda didn’t leave motor-racing altogether, taking on management roles with the company Ferrari, followed by Jaguar, and most recently Mercedes. The Austrian was instrumental in convincing Lewis Hamilton to leave McLaren for the German outfit.
Niki Lauda was one of the most talented and renowned racers of F1. He won his first title in 1975 racing for Ferrari. The same year, he was badly burnt while defending his title from challenger, rival and friend James Hunt in a near-fatal fiery crash at the fearsome Nürburgring Nordschleife.
“In deep mourning, we announce that our beloved Niki has passed away peacefully with his family on Monday,” a statement from Lauda’s family published by Austrian media confirmed. “His unique achievements as an athlete and entrepreneur are and will remain unforgettable. His tireless zest for action, straightforwardness and courage remain an example and a benchmark for all of us. He was a loving and caring husband, father, and grandfather away from the public.”
We hope that his soul may rest in peace