Here are some facts about the late F1 driver Niki Lauda

Picture credit: AFP

Three-time Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda passed away at the age of 70 on Monday.

The Austrian was a three-time world champion and his demise has left a big void in the motor racing world. He was known for being a total gentleman off the track but extremely competitive on it.

DH lists a few facts about the Austrian:

He was born Andreas Nikolaus Lauda on February 22, 1949, in Vienna.

He won the drivers’ world title with Ferrari in 1975 and 1977 and with McLaren in 1984.

He fetched the title for Ferrari after a gap of 10 seasons. Ferrari had last won the title in 1964 through Briton John Surtees.  

The most famous battle on the track was his rivalry with British driver James Hunt, who was driving for McLaren, in the 1976 season. Lauda had a horrific accident in the German Grand Prix in Nurburgring. Lauda suffered severe burns, including to his lungs, and very nearly died. This accident left his forehead and the right side of his head severely injured and disfigured.

The movie Rush is based on the 1976 World Championship.

He raced from 1971 and stopped racing after the 1979 season. He returned to racing in 1982 and raced till 1985.

His career included 25 wins, 54 podiums, 24 pole positions and 24 fastest lap times.

He was inducted into the International Motorsport Hall of Fame in 1993.

Lauda joined Ferrari in a managerial position in 1993 through the efforts of Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo. He was the team principal of Jaguar F1 Team in 2001 and joined Mercedes as non-executive chairman in 2012.

Lauda was nicknamed the rat, Super Rat and King Rat due to his prominent buck teeth.

He married Marlene Knaus in 1976 and had two sons – Mathias and Lukas. The couple split in 1991. Lauda married Brigit Wetzinger, who was a flight attendant in his airline Lauda Air. He had another son, Christoph, through an extra-marital relationship.

Wetzinger gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl.

Wetzinger donated a kidney to Lauda after the one donated by his brother in 1997 failed.

Lauda successfully underwent a lung transplant in Austria, it was announced in 2018.

He started a second airline named Niki, which was later merged with Air Berlin. He sold a majority of shares of his earlier airline Lauda Air to Austrian Airlines. Lauda took over Amira Air, a chartered airline, and renamed it LaudaMotion.

Lauda held a commercial pilot’s licence and was the captain of his airline occasionally.

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