Niki Lauda, the iconic Austrian Formula 1 driver, passed away yesterday at the age of 70. Lauda defines an era in Formula 1, winning three world titles and, in later years, contributing to the success of the Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team. He died peacefully on Monday.
Lauda first rose to fame following his 1975 Formula 1 title win. He led the 1976 championship until the 10th race when a severe accident at the Nurburgring resulted in severe burns. His story was dramatised in the film Rush which depicted Laura’s stunning return to the Formula 1 championship after just 6 weeks.
In later years, Lauda returned to Formula One in a managerial capacity at Ferrari. In 2001 he joined the ill fated Jaguar Formula One team. In 2012, he was appointed a non-executive chairman of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team.
Lauda was also active outside of the world of Formula 1. He was a figure in the world of air travel too. He founded Lauda Air which he sold to Austrian Airlines in 1999. He moved on to found a new airline named Niki which was merged with Air Berlin in 2011. His latest venture, LaudaMotion which later took back the Niki brand followed the collapse of Air Berlin in 2017. Rebranded as Lauda, the low cost airline still runs in Austria.
Lauda had been experiencing health problems in recent years. He was subject to a lung transplant in August and was hospitalised with Influenza in January. He leaves 5 children.
“You have a brake in your brain that stops you doing stupid things. The older you are, the earlier that brake comes on. When you’re 20 you stop at nothing; when you’re older you’re cleverer than when you’re 20, so your brain brake operates more often!” ~ Niki Lauda pic.twitter.com/kd0o71qRtU
— Earl Karanja (@Earlsimxx) May 21, 2019