Formula 1 Legend Niki Lauda Passes Away At 70
Lauda took home the Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship title in 1975 and 1977 for Ferrari and in 1984 for McLaren
Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda has died at the age of 70.
The Austrian driver, born Andreas Nikolaus Lauda, “passed away peacefully” on Monday, according to a statement released by his family. His tragic passing comes just eight months after he underwent a lung transplant.
“His unique achievements as an athlete and entrepreneur are and will remain unforgettable, his tireless zest for action, his straightforwardness and his courage remain a role model and a benchmark for all of us,” his family’s statement read.
Lauda took home the Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship title in 1975 and 1977 for Ferrari and in 1984 for McLaren. However, arguably the most famous point of his career saw him make his racing comeback after being badly burned during a crash in the 1976 German Grand Prix. The crash in Nurburgring saw Lauda’s car burst into flames, and left the sportsman with third-degree burns to his head and face. He also inhaled toxic gases which damaged his lungs, but returned to the racing track, still bandaged, just 40 days later.
Following his racing career, Lauda went on to become an airline entrepreneur, and then worked as a non-executive chairman for the Formula 1 Mercedes team.
After news of his death was made public, tributes quickly poured in from the racing world, with Formula 1 representatives writing on Twitter: “Rest in peace Niki Lauda. Forever carried in our hearts, forever immortalised in our history. The motorsport community today mourns the devastating loss of a true legend. The thoughts of everyone at F1 are with his friends and family.”
Reps for McLaren, Ferrari and drivers including Jenson Button, Giedo van der Garde and Romain Grosjean also took to social media with tributes to the star.
Lauda is survived by wife Birgit Wetzinger, their twin son and daughter, born in 2009, and three sons from previous relationships.