Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda dies aged 70

1 month ago DieselGasoil Comments Off on Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda dies aged 70

Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda has died at the age of 70, his family has said.

The Austrian – a three-time world champion and the only man to have won the drivers’ title for both Ferrari and McLaren – passed away on Monday.

In a touching statement, his family said the racer-turned-flight entrepreneur would “remain a role model and a benchmark for all of us”.

Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda dies aged 70
Image:
Lauda, seen with Lewis Hamilton, was a regular at F1 races in recent years
Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda dies aged 70
Image:
Lauda is considered one of the all-time great F1 drivers

Lauda won his first F1 championship in 1975, and was on course to retain his title the following year until a horror crash at the German Grand Prix at the famous Nurburgring.

He suffered severe burns to his head and face and suffered lung damage from inhaling toxic gases when his Ferrari burst into flames during the race, which came a week after he had urged his fellow drivers to boycott the event over safety concerns at the track.

Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda dies aged 70
Image:
Lauda celebrates winning the British GP at Brands Hatch in 1982
Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda dies aged 70
Image:
Lauda was rarely seen without a cap due to severe burns he suffered after a crash at the Nurburgring

The burns he suffered were the reason he was hardly ever seen without a cap from that point onward, as he wanted to hide the scarring.

Lauda made a successful return to F1 after his recovery and narrowly missed out on successive championships thanks to British driver James Hunt.

More from World

The pair forged one of the fiercest rivalries in motorsport history and it inspired the award-winning 2013 film Rush, starring German actor Daniel Bruhl as Lauda.

Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda dies aged 70
Image:
Lauda (left) forged a memorable rivalry with British racer James Hunt
Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda dies aged 70
Image:
Lauda celebrates winning the British GP at Brands Hatch in 1982

Lauda won his second championship in 1977 and his third in 1984, before retiring in 1985.

He had originally hung up his helmet six years prior to focus on his airline, Lauda Air, which he founded in 1979.

Lauda owned the company until 2000, when it became part of Austrian Airlines, and it ceased to exist in 2013, but he went on to take over Amira Air in 2016 and rename it to LaudaMotion.

Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda dies aged 70
Image:
The Mercedes team – featuring Lauda – celebrates winning a constructors’ championship
Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda dies aged 70
Image:
Lauda with German F1 star Sebastian Vettel

Aside from his airline businesses, Lauda took on several management roles within F1 following his retirement, including becoming the non-executive chairman of the Mercedes team in September 2012.

He took part in negotiations that saw Lewis Hamilton sign a three-year deal with Mercedes in 2013, and the Briton has since won four championships.

Lauda remained a consistent presence at F1 races in recent years, but took time away from the sport after undergoing a successful lung transplant in Vienna last summer.

Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda dies aged 70
Image:
Lauda addresses a news conference presenting his airline Laudamotion
Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda dies aged 70
Image:
Lauda with fellow F1 legend Michael Schumacher in 2010

He was married to Birgit Wetzinger, who was a flight attendant for his airline and donated a kidney to him when one he received from his brother in 1997 failed.

Lauda had five children – two sons with his first wife, Mathias and Lukas, another son, Christoph, and Ms Wetzinger gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, in 2009.

More follows…