The motosport world has found out yesterday, that Niki Lauda, triple F1 champion, has sadly passed away. Austrian legend was 70 and is considered as one of the greatest drivers in history. He died in his sleep, at the University Hospital of Zurich.
Lauda began his career in 1971 in March, where he had to buy out his place in the Formula 2 team. He was quickly promoted to F1, but the second season was terrible for the team. Austrian decided to move to BRM, but he needed another loan to secure the seat. In 1974 his teammate, Clay Regazzoni, was hired by Ferrari and recommended Lauda for the second place in the team, so both of them left BRM.
In Italian team he enjoyed the most successes, but he also survived a tragedy, which could end his career. In 1975 and 1977 he won two titles, but in 1976 in rivalry with Hunt from McLaren he had to give in because of the crash on Nurburgring. His Ferrari burst into flames, he left the car alive, but he suffered from serious face burns. Only 6 weeks later Lauda came back to racing, but he couldn’t win against Hunt in the title race.
Years 1978-1979 he spent in Brabham, but then decided to retire, for the first team. He started racing again in 1982 in McLaren car, in which he won the championship in 1984, becoming the only driver to won the title with both Ferrari and McLaren. He eventually retired a year later.
In the following years he still has been connected with Formula One. He received an offer of consulting role in the Maranello team. In 2001 he became the team principal in Jaguar, but parted company with the team a year later. In 2012 he was appointed non-executive chairman in Mercedes.
[photo: F1 Facebook]