Three time F1 champion Niki Lauda has passed away at the age of 70 years old. Lauda suffered horrific burns after a Ferrari accident in 1976.
One of the best comebacks of all time
Lauda is known for one of the best F1 comebacks of all time, and the Austria Press Agency revealed in a statement that he “passed away peacefully” at the age of 70 years old on Monday. Back in 1976, Lauda narrowly escaped death when his Ferrari crashed at the Nurburgring in Germany. Despite suffering horrific burns, Lauda made a miraculous recovery and returned to the tracks six weeks later, where he finished second to James Hunt. Lauda then went on to win the world title in 1977 and again in 1984, after which he retired.
British racing driver Jenson Button tweeted, “A legend has left us. Rest in peace Niki.” Lauda’s family wrote, “His unique successes as a sportsman and entrepreneur are and remain unforgettable. His tireless drive, his straightforwardness and his courage remain an example and standard for us all. Away from the public gaze, he was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather. We will miss him very much.”
Three time F1 Champion
F1 also mourned Lauda, tweeting, “Forever carried in our hearts, forever immortalised in our history. The motorsport community today mourns the devastating loss of a true legend.” The McLaren F1 team said, “All at McLaren are deeply saddened to learn that our friend, colleague and 1984 Formula 1 World Champion, Niki Lauda, has passed away. Niki will forever be in our hearts and enshrined in our history.”
Career and health
Lauda left the racing industry in 1979, and his rivalry with James Hunt has been made into a film starring Daniel Bruh and Chris Hemsworth. In the last few decades, Lauda underwent kidney transplants twice, once with an organ donated by his brother in 1997 and then by his sister in 2005. In August, Lauda also underwent a lung transplant at the Vienna General Hospital due to a “serious lung illness”. He was released from the hospital four months later but was back in the hospital in January with influenza.
Lauda is survived by his wife Birgit and his children Max, Mia, Mathias, Lukas and Christoph. May he rest in peace!