Till Ron Howard-directed flick ‘Rush’ hit the scene, not many outside the motorsport circle knew about Nikki Lauda.
Lauda’s three world titles, his life-threatening rivalry with James Hunt and that potentially fatal crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix have all been part of the F1 legend. Through ‘Rush’, those stories caught the imagination of the public. Deccan Herald caught up with the 64-year-old on Saturday.
Your take on Sebastian Vettel and his dominance...
He is doing a wonderful job. He will be world champion tomorrow and that is my clear statement. He is sensational.
Have increasing safety measures stolen the sport of its charm?
Not at all. A lot has changed since my time. Everything has developed in a big way. Next year will be even better because the new cars are coming in. So, it will be very thrilling.
They do not lack character either. They are just different drivers today because they don’t need to worry about being killed (laughs). It is very simple. It is much easier today but it is a normal development for F1. I think it is very good.
Do you think the Indian GP has a future?
They are doing a good job, to be honest. The Indian GP is really good. It won’t be around next year but that is not a problem because it will return the year after. I think they will continue to do a good job.
Are you happy with the track?
It’s a very nice track. Very high standards.
Could you tell us more about ‘Rush’...
I saw the movie like you guys did. I have to say that the reception worldwide has been phenomenal. There are no negative comments. The movie has already made 72 million dollars, so it is great that people are enjoying it.
Did you ever think your rivalry with Hunt would turn into a movie?
No! I was surprised myself when they approached me. It was a tough rivalry especially with my accident in the middle. It took many years to write a movie about it. It’s not a movie about F1 to be honest. It’s about two guys fighting with each other and therefore it is well received today.
Does any rivalry compare to the one between you and Hunt?
No! Nothing that dramatic... where one guy nearly got killed.