Andreas Nikolaus "Niki" Lauda was an Austrian Formula One driver and aviation entrepreneur.
65 Facts About Niki Lauda
Niki Lauda was a three-time Formula One World Drivers' Champion, winning in 1975,1977 and 1984, and is the only driver in Formula One history to have been champion for both Ferrari and McLaren, two of the sport's most successful constructors.
Niki Lauda was an aviation entrepreneur who founded and ran three airlines: Lauda Air, Niki and Lauda.
Niki Lauda was a consultant for Scuderia Ferrari and team manager of the Jaguar Formula One racing team for two years.
Niki Lauda emerged as Formula One's star driver amid a 1975 title win and leading the 1976 championship battle.
Niki Lauda recovered sufficiently to race again just six weeks later at the Italian Grand Prix.
Niki Lauda was born on 22 February 1949 in Vienna, Austria, to a wealthy paper manufacturing family.
Niki Lauda's paternal grandfather was the Viennese-born industrialist Hans Lauda.
Niki Lauda was quickly promoted to the Formula One team but drove for March in Formula One and Formula Two in 1972.
Niki Lauda took out another bank loan to buy his way into the BRM team in 1973.
Niki Lauda was instantly quick, but the team was in decline; although the BRM P160E was fast and easy to drive it was not reliable and its engine lacked power.
Niki Lauda's popularity was on the rise after he finished third at the Monaco Grand Prix that year, resulting in Enzo Ferrari becoming interested.
The team's faith in the little-known Niki Lauda was quickly rewarded by a second-place finish in his debut race for the team, the season-opening Argentine Grand Prix.
Niki Lauda finished fourth in the Drivers' Championship and demonstrated immense commitment to testing and improving the car.
Niki Lauda then picked up a fifth win at the last race of the year, the United States GP at Watkins Glen.
Niki Lauda became the first driver to lap the Nurburgring Nordschleife in under seven minutes, which was considered a huge feat as the Nordschleife section of the Nurburgring was two miles longer than it is today.
The Ferrari pit changed the destroyed tyre and Niki Lauda managed to make it to the podium in 3rd behind Reutemann and Laffite after Hunt retired and Pryce had to slow down because of a fuel leak.
Niki Lauda was known for giving away any trophies he won to his local garage in exchange for his car to be washed and serviced.
Niki Lauda looked set to win the most races in a season, a record held by the late Jim Clark since 1963.
On 1 August 1976, during the second lap at the very fast left kink before Bergwerk, Niki Lauda was involved in an accident where his Ferrari swerved off the track, hit an embankment, burst into flames, and made contact with Brett Lunger's Surtees-Ford car.
Niki Lauda said, 'Honestly, I do not know, but to open your seatbelt was so difficult, because you were pushing so hard against it, and when it was open, I got you out of the car like a feather.
Niki Lauda suffered extensive scarring from the burns to his head, losing most of his right ear as well as the hair on the right side of his head, his eyebrows, and his eyelids.
Niki Lauda chose to limit reconstructive surgery to replacing the eyelids and restoring their functionality.
Niki Lauda arranged for sponsors to use the cap for advertising.
Niki Lauda missed only two races, appearing at the Monza press conference six weeks after the accident with his fresh burns still bandaged.
Niki Lauda finished fourth in the Italian GP, despite being, by his own admission, absolutely petrified.
Niki Lauda had to wear a specially adapted crash helmet so as not to be in too much discomfort.
Hunt and Niki Lauda were friends away from the circuit, and their personal on-track rivalry, while intense, was cleanly contested and fair.
Niki Lauda later said that he felt it was unsafe to continue under these conditions, especially since his eyes were watering excessively because of his fire-damaged tear ducts and inability to blink.
Niki Lauda recovered to third, thus winning the title by a single point.
Niki Lauda disliked his new teammate, Reutemann, who had served as his replacement driver.
Niki Lauda was not comfortable with this move and felt he had been let down by Ferrari.
Decades later, Niki Lauda won a BMW Procar exhibition race event before the 2008 German Grand Prix.
In late September, during practice for the 1979 Canadian Grand Prix, Niki Lauda cut short a practice session and promptly informed team principal Ecclestone, that he wished to retire immediately, as he had no more desire to "continue the silliness of driving around in circles".
Niki Lauda proved he was when, in his third race back, he won the Long Beach Grand Prix.
The 1983 season proved to be transitional for the McLaren team as they were making a change from Ford-Cosworth engines, to TAG-badged Porsche turbo engines, and Niki Lauda did not win a race that year, with his best finish being second at Long Beach behind his teammate John Watson.
Some political maneuvering by Niki Lauda forced a furious chief designer John Barnard to design an interim car earlier than expected to get the TAG-Porsche engine some much-needed race testing; Niki Lauda nearly won the last race of the season in South Africa.
Niki Lauda won a third world championship in 1984 by half a point over teammate Alain Prost, due only to half points being awarded for the shortened 1984 Monaco Grand Prix.
However, during the two seasons together, they had a good relationship and Niki Lauda later said that beating the talented Frenchman was a big motivator for him.
However, Niki Lauda, who set a record for the most pole positions in a season during the 1975 season, rarely matched his teammate in qualifying.
Prost did everything he could, starting from second and winning his seventh race of the season, but Niki Lauda's calculating drive, passing car after car, saw him finish second behind his teammate which gave him enough points to win his third title.
Niki Lauda's second place was a lucky one though as Nigel Mansell was in second for much of the race.
Niki Lauda had signed an initial letter of intent to leave McLaren team and join Renault for the 1985 season.
The agreement was not implemented and Niki Lauda stayed with McLaren for the 1985 season.
Niki Lauda did not start the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps after crashing and breaking his wrist during practice, and he later missed the European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch; John Watson replaced him for that race.
Niki Lauda did manage fourth at the San Marino Grand Prix, 5th at the German Grand Prix, and a single race win at the Dutch Grand Prix where he held off a fast-finishing Prost late in the race.
Niki Lauda was one of only two drivers in the race who had driven in the non-championship 1984 Australian Grand Prix, the other being 1982 World Champion Keke Rosberg, who won in Adelaide in 1985 and took Lauda's place at McLaren in 1986.
Niki Lauda's helmet was originally painted plain red with his full name written on both sides and the Raiffeisen Bank logo in the chin area.
Niki Lauda wore a modified AGV helmet in the weeks following his Nurburgring accident so as the lining would not aggravate his burned scalp too badly.
In 1993, Niki Lauda returned to Formula One in a managerial position when Luca di Montezemolo offered him a consulting role at Ferrari.
Halfway through the 2001 season, Niki Lauda assumed the role of team principal of the Jaguar Formula One team.
Niki Lauda took part in negotiations to sign Lewis Hamilton to a three-year deal with Mercedes in 2013.
Niki Lauda returned to running his airline, Niki Lauda Air, on his second Formula One retirement in 1985.
Similar to Lauda Air, Niki was merged with its major partner Air Berlin in 2011.
Niki Lauda held a commercial pilot's licence and from time to time acted as a captain on the flights of his airline.
Niki Lauda was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993 and from 1996 provided commentary on Grands Prix for Austrian and German television on RTL.
Niki Lauda was criticized for calling Robert Kubica a "polack" on air in May 2010 at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Niki Lauda was associated with both Parmalat and Viessmann, sponsoring the ever-present cap he wore from 1976 to hide the severe burns he sustained in his Nurburgring accident.
Niki Lauda credited Austrian journalist Herbert Volker with editing the books.
Niki Lauda made a cameo appearance at the end of the film.
Niki Lauda had two sons with first wife, the Chilean-Austrian Marlene Knaus : Mathias, a race driver himself, and Lukas, who acted as Mathias's manager.
On 20 May 2019, Niki Lauda died in his sleep, aged 70, at the University Hospital of Zurich, where he had been undergoing dialysis treatment for kidney problems.
Niki Lauda had experienced a period of ill health, exacerbated by his lung injuries from the 1976 accident.
Niki Lauda had undergone a double lung transplant the previous year, in addition to two kidney transplants in years previous.
Niki Lauda is widely considered to be one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time.