A legend and a fighter: Niki Lauda, Austrian Formula 1 driver dies age 70
After teaming with Ferrari back in the 70s, Lauda won both the 1975 and 1977 championship. He also won in 1984 when he teamed with McLaren
Lauda became a legend in 1976 when his car caught on fire and he suffered severe third degree burns after a crash in the German Grand Prix and then returned to racing after only a six week recovery period
His comeback and perseverance spoke to the world in the movie Rush
The former-driver died just eight months after a double lung transplant
Niki Lauda, the Formula One legend has passed away at 70 earlier today. He was forever immortalised in the movie Rush, which was a winner among fans of F1. The film told the story of the rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt, as well as showed Lauda’s overwhelming commitment to the sport.
Born in 1949 to a wealthy Vienna industrial family, Lauda could’ve had his whole life sorted for him, but he didn’t follow his father’s footsteps, instead he carved his own career out of a long-standing dream to become a racing driver. First appearing in the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix, the racer then went on to secure a fifth place finish at the 1973 Belgium Grand Prix.
Just two years later, he went on to win the 1975 championship with Ferrari. Facing tough competition from McLaren's James Hunt, Lauda’s arch-rival at the time, he appeared on course to defend his title in 1976 when he crashed at the Nürburgring during the German Grand Prix. It was this horrific moment that truly showed the world what made the Austrian man special.
After gaining third degree burns, the F1 driver refused to put down the racing helmet for good and instead came back six weeks later with a fourth place finish at Monza. He then went on to win another championship the following year, and another in 1984 with McLaren.
Sadly, Lauda passed away at the age of 70, peacefully and with his family. The news comes just eight months after his double lung transplant.
The entire F1 community has come together to pay its respects and tributes are flowing in from both fans and drivers.
Very saddened to hear of the passing of Niki Lauda. His unique straight shooting, no bullshit interviews will be missed in a paddock that rarely ever has those qualities. RIP #NikiLauda pic.twitter.com/YxUAlxjP8G— Charlie Rosco (@Charlie_Rosco) May 21, 2019
I never took for granted any chance to chat with Niki Lauda. When he spoke you listened. A true great, bravery beyond belief and a funny and tough guy. Love to all his family xx #nikilauda— Lee McKenzie (@LeeMcKenzieTV) May 21, 2019
Beautifully worded tribute to a giant and a gentleman: #NikiLauda
"....his driving was characterised by elegant stylishness, all economy of effort and fluidity..."
BBC Sport - Niki Lauda obituary: 'A remarkable life lived in technicolour' https://t.co/uBIZ4T1MW5— John Simpson (@JohnSimpsonNews) May 21, 2019