Triple world champion Niki Lauda dies at 70.

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Swami, May 21, 2019.

  1. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Legend

    Message Count:
    8,107
    Trophy Points:
    4,142
    Occupation:
    Civil Servant
    Location:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Ratings:
    +7,887
    Medals:
    4
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Absolutely devastated to learn this morning of the passing of the great Niki Lauda, along with Fangio, Clark, Stewart, Prost and Hakkinen, one of the very greatest F1 drivers of all time.

    Niki Lauda, Austrian Formula 1 legend, dies at 70

    [​IMG]Image copyright AFP
    Image caption Niki Lauda underwent a lung transplant nine months ago
    Three-time Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda has died at the age of 70.

    The legendary Austrian, one of the best-known figures in motor racing, took the title for Ferrari in 1975 and 1977 and McLaren in 1984.

    For many, he will be remembered for his remarkable recovery and return to racing after being badly burned in a crash in the 1976 German Grand Prix.

    Lauda, who underwent a lung transplant in August, "passed away peacefully" on Monday, his family said.

    After his career as a racing driver, he became an airline entrepreneur and, most recently, a non-executive chairman for the Formula 1 Mercedes team, instrumental in bringing in British driver Lewis Hamilton, who has won five world championships.


    "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 said.

    On 1 August 1976, one year after winning his first title, he suffered third-degree burns to his head and face and inhaled toxic gases that damaged his lungs after his vehicle burst into flames at Nurburgring.

    He was given the last rites in hospital but made an almost miraculous recovery and returned to racing, still bandaged, just 40 days later.

    British former F1 champion Jenson Button has called him a "legend" while McLaren said Lauda would be "enshrined in our history".


    [​IMG]
    Lauda's rivalry with British driver James Hunt, the 1976 world champion, was portrayed in the acclaimed film Rush in 2013.

    He underwent two kidney transplants, the second kidney donated in 2005 by his then-girlfriend Birgit Wetzinger, a former flight attendant for his airline whom he married in 2008.

    [​IMG]
    Image caption Lauda photographed in March 1976
    [​IMG]Image copyright Getty Images
    Image caption Lauda seen here with Mario Andretti in his first race after the accident
    Besides their twins, a boy and a girl born in 2009, Lauda also had three sons from previous relationships.

    In January, Lauda spent some 10 days in hospital while suffering from influenza.

    Swami
     
  2. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Legend

    Message Count:
    8,107
    Trophy Points:
    4,142
    Occupation:
    Civil Servant
    Location:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Ratings:
    +7,887
    Medals:
    4
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Niki Lauda obituary: 'A remarkable life lived in Technicolor'
    [​IMG]
    By Andrew Benson

    [​IMG]
    In addition to his success in Formula 1, Lauda was a pilot and set up two airlines
    Niki Lauda, who has died aged 70, was a three-time Formula 1 world champion, non-executive chairman of the world champion Mercedes team, and one of the biggest names in motorsport.

    He was also a pilot and successful businessman, who set up two airlines and continued to occasionally captain their planes into his late 60s.

    But he will be remembered most for the remarkable bravery and resilience he showed in recovering from a fiery crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix at the fearsome Nurburgring.


    Lauda, then leading the World Championship - having won his first title a year earlier, suffered third-degree burns to his head and face that left him scarred for life, inhaled toxic gases that damaged his lungs, and received the last rites in hospital.

    Yet he returned to racing just 40 days later - finishing fourth in the Italian Grand Prix. By the end of the race, his unhealed wounds had soaked his fireproof balaclava in blood. When he tried to remove the balaclava, he found it was stuck to his bandages, and had to resort to ripping it off in one go.

    It was one of the bravest acts in the history of sport.

    At the time, Lauda played down his condition. Later, in his disarmingly frank autobiography, he admitted he had been so scared he could hardly drive.

    "I said then and later that I had conquered my fear quickly and cleanly," Lauda wrote in To Hell And Back. "That was a lie. But it would have been foolish to play into the hands of my rivals by confirming my weakness. At Monza, I was rigid with fear."

    Lauda drove that weekend because he felt it was the "best thing" for his physical and mental wellbeing. "Lying in bed ruminating about the 'Ring," he said, "would have finished me."

    The accident ended the notorious Nurburgring's time as a Formula 1 circuit.

    Lauda had been warning for some time that the circuit was too dangerous for F1. Its 14 miles twisting through the Eifel mountains meant the emergency services were stretched too far, he said, and any driver who had a serious crash was therefore at a disproportionately high risk in an era that was already extremely dangerous.

    What happened on 1 August proved him right. For unknown reasons, Lauda lost control at a flat-out kink before a corner called Bergwerk, hit an embankment and his car burst into flames.

    Trapped in the wreckage, but conscious, he was dragged clear by four fellow drivers - but not before he had suffered severe injuries.

    Lauda carried the scars, including a mostly missing right ear, for the rest of his life and always had a matter-of-fact approach to his disfigurement. It didn't bother him, he said, and if others felt differently, that was their problem.

    His injuries, in fact, were often the butt of his merciless wit.

    Once it was pointed out to him that, owing to the rule that says the original start of a race does not count if there is a restart, he had not officially taken part in the 1976 German Grand Prix. "Oh yes," he said, in his clipped tones, "so what happened to my ear?"

    The accident came at a time when Lauda appeared to be cruising to a second consecutive world title for Ferrari, and his determination to return was founded in his desire to shore up a lead that was rapidly diminishing in his absence from competition, under assault from British McLaren driver James Hunt.

    The compelling narrative of that season was effectively the kick-start for F1's current global popularity. The storyline had something for everyone - the ascetic Austrian racing driver-cum-engineer, renowned for his clinical approach and lack of emotions, driving for Ferrari; the handsome, playboy Englishman bon vivant for McLaren. Lauda's crash and awe-inspiring recovery only added to the frisson.

    By the final round in Japan, Lauda was only three points ahead, and when raceday brought torrential rain, he refused to race, saying it was too dangerous.

    Lauda admitted he was "panic-stricken" - feelings rooted in his crash - but later said he regretted the decision. Ferrari remonstrated with him and tried to convince him to race, but he refused, and Hunt took the third place he needed to win the title by one point.

    Their battle has been turned into a Hollywood film, but it misrepresented them as enemies - in fact, Lauda and Hunt were close friends. So much so they had next-door rooms that weekend in Japan and, on race morning, with Hunt in bed with a girlfriend, Lauda goose-stepped into the room and barked out: "Today, I vin the Vorld Championship."

    [​IMG]
    Hunt (right) narrowly beat Lauda to the world title in 1976
    It was unarguably the most dramatic, inspiring and fascinating part of Lauda's career, but his life was one lived in Technicolor, and remarkable in its entirety.

    He was a singular personality, brusque and matter of fact, but with a wicked sense of humour and independent mind.

    After success in the lower categories, Lauda bought his way into F1 in 1971, against the wishes of his well-heeled family, by way of a bank loan secured against his life insurance policy, and started his career with March. He needed a second loan to move to BRM two years later. It was the move that made his career.

    He impressed team-mate Clay Regazzoni, and when the Swiss was signed by Ferrari for 1974, he recommended Lauda.

    The legendary Italian team had been in the doldrums in 1973, but were about to start a strong recovery under the management of the brilliant Luca di Montezemolo. In 1974, Lauda lost out on the title to McLaren's Emerson Fittipaldi only through inexperience, but that was the precursor to dominating in 1975 in the now legendary Ferrari 312T.

    After narrowly missing out on the title in 1976, Lauda won again in 1977, despite falling out with Enzo Ferrari, whose lack of support following the Nurburgring crash fatally fractured their relationship.

    The atmosphere chilly, amid Lauda's fall-out with the owner and distaste for his new team-mate Carlos Reutemann, Lauda stayed at Ferrari in 1977 only long enough to clinch the title, and pulled out of the final two races before a move to Bernie Ecclestone's Brabham team for 1978.

    The Brabham was beautiful to look at, but its Alfa Romeo engine was uncompetitive, and Lauda began to lose interest in F1. At the Canadian Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the 1979 season, he got out of his car part-way through a practice session and told Ecclestone he was retiring, saying he was "bored of driving around in circles".

    He returned to Austria to run his airline, Lauda Air, full-time. But just over two years later he was back in F1, tempted out of retirement by McLaren boss Ron Dennis, on a $3m salary - by far the largest in the sport at the time.

    Lauda won his third race back - in Long Beach, California - and in 1984 the team were dominant with the new MP4/2, powered by a Porsche engine funded by McLaren's new backer TAG.

    Lauda was out-paced by new team-mate Alain Prost but won five races to Prost's seven, most as a result of the Frenchman's bad luck or retirement, and clinched the title by half a point, the closest margin in history.

    He stayed for one more year, 1985, when he was uncompetitive but still managed to win in the Netherlands - holding off a charge from Prost - before finally calling it a day for good, aged 36.

    Through both his periods in F1, his driving was characterised by elegant stylishness, all economy of effort and fluidity, which matched his belief it was the driver's job to work as hard as possible on the technical aspects of the car, to make it work for him, and let it do the work. It was not spectacular, but it was certainly effective - as proved by Prost himself, and Jackie Stewart, who shared a similar approach and won a further seven titles between them.

    The end of Lauda's driving career, though, did not mean the end of his links with F1.

    [​IMG]
    In 1993, Montezemolo offered him a consulting role at Ferrari, though that did not last long into the management of the team's new boss that year - Jean Todt, who went on to mastermind the dominant Michael Schumacher era.

    In 2001, Lauda took charge of the Ford-owned Jaguar team, only to be sacked at the end of 2002 along with 70 other key figures when the performance failed to improve.

    From then, he largely combined running his new airline Niki - founded in 2003, after the sale of Lauda Air to Austrian Airlines in 1999 - with an analyst's role on the German TV channel RTL's F1 coverage.

    But then, in September 2012, he was appointed a non-executive director of the Mercedes F1 team, a decision made by the Mercedes board, who were unhappy at the team's lack of competitiveness under Ross Brawn, and wanted Lauda as an effective spy in the camp.

    Along with Brawn, Lauda played a key role in the signing of Lewis Hamilton to replace Schumacher at the end of 2012. And in early 2013, he became a 10% shareholder in Mercedes, at the same time as Toto Wolff took on 30%.

    Wolff, initially appointed executive director, replaced Brawn as team boss in 2014, and after that - as Mercedes dominated the sport in the era of turbo hybrid engines - Lauda had attended races and acted as an adviser to Wolff and the Mercedes board.

    In July 2018, he was diagnosed with a severe lung infection and had a double lung transplant. In November, he and the team posted a message on social media with a video of Lauda saying he would be back at work "soon".

    But in January he was diagnosed with pneumonia and taken back into hospital in Vienna.

    Lauda leaves his second wife Birgit, their twins Max and Mia - born in 2009, two sons from his first wife Marlene Knaus - Mathias and Lukas, and a son - Christoph - born from a third relationship.

    Swami
     
  3. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Legend

    Message Count:
    8,107
    Trophy Points:
    4,142
    Occupation:
    Civil Servant
    Location:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Ratings:
    +7,887
    Medals:
    4
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    Sadly the word legend gets bandied about far too liberally nowadays, often in reference to over-hyped footballers and prima-donna wannabe celebrities.

    Let there be no doubt though that Niki Lauda was a true legend and his contribution to motorsport will be felt for generations to come.

    Niki Lauda: Tributes paid after F1 legend dies aged 70




    Share this with

    Copy this link
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/48348202
    Read more about sharing.
    [​IMG]
    The remains of Niki Lauda's Ferrari after a horrific accident during the German Grand Prix in 1976
    Three-time Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda produced the "most courageous act of any sportsman" in returning to racing so soon after a horrific crash, says former team-mate John Watson.

    Austrian Lauda, who won the drivers championship in 1975, 1977 and 1984, died aged 70 on Monday.

    He almost died following a crash in the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.


    Despite suffering severe burns and inhaling hot toxic fumes, he resumed racing 40 days later.

    World champion Lewis Hamilton said he was "struggling to believe you are gone". The Briton added on Twitter: "I will miss our conversations, our laughs, the big hugs after winning races together. God rest your soul.

    "Thank you for being a bright light in my life. I'll always be here for your family should they ever need me. Love you man."

    Watson was a team-mate of Lauda at Brabham and McLaren in the 1970s and 1980s and was one of the first people to attend to him after the crash.

    "I came around shortly after the accident and the other drivers that were there managed to get him out of the cockpit and walked him away," Watson told the BBC.

    "We lay him down and I put his head in my lap and he was able to communicate.

    "Nobody realised the actual damage to Niki. The real danger he was in was not from the superficial injuries that we could see but from the deeper injury which was that to his lung.

    "He'd suffered inhalation of toxic fumes from the burning fibreglass and we didn't appreciate the severity of the injury that he'd suffered.

    "It was only after two or three days that the story came out that it was the lung damage that was the injury putting his life in danger.

    "Racing 40 days after that accident was the most courageous act of any sportsman I've ever seen in my life."


    wrote on Instagram: "The bravest man, I've ever met, not only because he was an F1 world champion in the crazy '70s and had the most incredible comeback in sport's history, but also because of how he treated people.

    "Always honest, straight forward, blunt. Niki told you the truth in your face, no matter how uncomfortable. He was totally unpretentious and incredibly funny. I learned a lot from him and deeply admired him.

    "I know how much you enjoyed flying. Race the sky in peace immortal champ, we'll miss you."

    'A sad day for the entire motorsport community' - reaction from the rest of F1
    Ferrari: "Everyone at Ferrari is deeply saddened at the news of the death of our dear friend Niki Lauda.

    "He won two of his three world championships with us and will always be in our hearts and in those of all Ferrari fans.

    "Our sincere condolences go to all his family and friends."

    Former world champion Damon Hill: "He was a remarkable individual in every way. I was certainly one person that looked at Niki and thought 'I'll never be half the man he was.

    "His career was stylised and characterised by his intelligent approach. When he came up against Alain Prost, he knew he couldn't beat him on speed so he beat him on tactics.

    "He was thoughtful, intelligent, pragmatic and just got the job done."

    Former world champion Jenson Button: "A legend has left us. Rest in peace Niki."

    Red Bull driver Max Verstappen: "Shocked by the loss of Niki Lauda. He was a true legend in our sport and someone I had great respect for. May he rest in peace."

    Red Bull team principal Christian Horner: "Rest in peace to an F1 legend that I was lucky enough to call a friend. A very sad day for the entire motorsport community.

    "All at Red Bull Racing share their thoughts with Niki's family and friends at this time. Godspeed Niki."

    McLaren: "Niki will forever be in our hearts and enshrined in our history."

    Former driver Johnny Herbert: "A real loss to sport and a big hole in our hearts. Courageous, chatty, and extremely funny.

    "I am going to miss you being around the F1 paddock but the legend of Niki Lauda will live on, because you were a very, very special man. Thanks for all the memories."

    Swami
     
  4. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Legend

    Message Count:
    8,107
    Trophy Points:
    4,142
    Occupation:
    Civil Servant
    Location:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Ratings:
    +7,887
    Medals:
    4
    Member Since:
    April 2006

    Lewis Hamilton at Niki Lauda's mass

    Media captionLewis Hamilton at Niki Lauda's mass
    Thousands of people, including Formula 1 stars, have paid their last respects to racing legend Niki Lauda, whose body lay in state in Vienna, Austria.

    His coffin, topped with his red helmet, was carried into St Stephen's cathedral in heavy rain on Wednesday morning.

    A Mass was then held before a private funeral. Lauda died last week aged 70 in Switzerland, where he was treated for kidney problems.

    The Austrian driver won Formula 1 championships in 1975, 1977 and 1984.

    [​IMG]Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
    Image caption Niki Lauda's crash helmet was put on the driver's coffin
    [​IMG]Image copyright Reuters
    Image caption People formed a long queue to pay their tributes to the Austrian legend
    He almost died following a crash in the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.


    Despite suffering severe burns and inhaling toxic fumes, he resumed racing 40 days later.

    Current Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, former drivers Alain Prost, Sir Jackie Stewart and Nico Rosberg were among those who came to Vienna to bid their farewells to Lauda.

    Austrian actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger and Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen were also among those who attended the Mass in Vienna's famous cathedral.

    [​IMG]Image copyright AFP
    Image caption Arnold Schwarzenegger and his girlfriend Heather Milligan
    [​IMG]Image copyright Reuters
    Image caption Former Formula 1 star Alain Prost
    [​IMG]Image copyright Reuters
    Image caption Retired German driver Nico Rosberg
    [​IMG]Image copyright Reuters
    Image caption British Formula 1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart
    [​IMG]Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
    Image caption Crowds applauded as Niki Lauda's coffin was being carried out of the cathedral
    After winning the Monaco Grand Prix last Sunday, Hamilton paid tribute to Lauda.

    "That was for you, Niki. Your fighting spirit was right there with me every step of the way," the British driver wrote in a post on Twitter.

    "I know you are looking down and taking your hat off to us. I miss you, we truly miss you and I hope we did you proud today, legend."

    [​IMG]
    Media playback is unsupported on your device
    Five things to know about F1 legend Niki Lauda

    Media captionFive things to know about F1 legend Niki Lauda
    As non-executive chairman of Mercedes, Lauda helped them win both the drivers' and constructors' title in each of the past five seasons.

    Swami
     

Share This Page