File:Andreas Nikolaus Lauda 2011.jpg|
Lauda in 2011
Andreas Nikolaus Lauda|
22 February 1949
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Active years||1971 – 1979, 1982 – 1985|
|Teams||March, BRM, Ferrari, Brabham, McLaren|
|Races||177 (171 starts)|
|Championships||3 (1975, 1977, 1984)|
|First race||1971 Austrian Grand Prix|
|First win||1974 Spanish Grand Prix|
|Last win||1985 Dutch Grand Prix|
|Last race||1985 Australian Grand Prix|
Andreas Nikolaus "Niki" Lauda (born 22 February 1949) is an Austrian former Formula One driver who was three times F1 World Champion, winning in 1975, 1977 and 1984. He is currently the only driver to have been champion for both Ferrari and McLaren, the sport's two most successful constructors. More recently an aviation entrepreneur, he has founded and run two airlines (Lauda Air and Niki). He was also a consultant for Scuderia Ferrari and team manager of the Jaguar Formula One racing team for two years. He is currently working as a pundit for German TV during Grand Prix weekends and acts as non-executive chairman of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team.
Lauda was seriously injured in a crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, during which his Ferrari burst into flames and he came close to death after inhaling hot toxic fumes and suffering severe burns. However he recovered and returned to race again just six weeks later at the Italian Grand Prix. Scars from the injuries he suffered have left him permanently disfigured.
- 1 Early years in racing
- 2 Ferrari 1974–1977
- 3 Brabham and first retirement 1978-1981
- 4 McLaren comeback and second retirement 1982–1985
- 5 Helmet
- 6 Roles beyond F1
- 7 Personal life
- 8 Film
- 9 Racing record
- 10 Bibliography
- 11 References
Early years in racing
Lauda became a racing driver despite his family's disapproval. After starting out with a Mini, Lauda moved on into Formula Vee, as was normal in Central Europe, but rapidly moved up to drive in private Porsche and Chevron sports cars. With his career stalled, he took out a £30,000 GBP bank loan, secured by a life insurance policy, to buy his way into the fledgling March team as a Formula Two (F2) driver in 1971. Because of his family's disapproval he had an ongoing feud with his family over his racing ambitions and abandoned further contact. He was quickly promoted to the F1 team, but drove for March in F1 and F2 in 1972. Although the F2 cars were good (and Lauda's driving skills impressed March principal Robin Herd), March's 1972 F1 season was catastrophic. Lauda, in despair and deep debt, briefly contemplated suicide but finally took out another bank loan to buy his way into the BRM team in 1973. Lauda was instantly quick, but the team was in decline; his big break came when his BRM teammate Clay Regazzoni left to rejoin Ferrari in 1974 and team owner Enzo Ferrari asked him what he thought of Lauda. Regazzoni spoke so favourably of Lauda that Ferrari promptly signed him, paying Niki enough to clear his debts.
After an unsuccessful start to the 1970s culminating in a disastrous start to the 1973 season, Ferrari regrouped completely under Luca di Montezemolo and were resurgent in 1974. The team's faith in the little-known Lauda was quickly rewarded by a second-place finish in his début race for the team, the season-opening Argentine Grand Prix. His first Grand Prix (GP) victory – and the first for Ferrari since 1972 – followed only three races later in the Spanish Grand Prix. Although Lauda became the season's pacesetter, achieving six consecutive pole positions, a mixture of inexperience and mechanical unreliability meant Lauda won only one more race that year, the Dutch GP. He finished fourth in the Drivers' Championship and demonstrated immense commitment to testing and improving the car.
The 1975 F1 season started slowly for Lauda, but after nothing better than a fifth-place finish in the first four races he then won four out of the next five races in the new Ferrari 312T. His first World Championship was confirmed with a third-place finish at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza; Lauda's teammate Regazzoni won the race and Ferrari clinched their first constructor's championship in 11 years; Lauda then picked up a fifth win at the last race of the year, the United States GP at Watkins Glen. He also became the first driver to lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife in under 7 minutes, which was considered a huge feat as the Nordschleife section of the Nürburgring was 2 miles longer than it is today. Never one to be awed by the trappings of success, Lauda famously gave away any trophies he won to his local garage in exchange for his car to be washed and serviced.
Unlike 1975 and despite tensions between Lauda and di Montezemolo's successor, Daniele Audetto, Lauda dominated the start of the 1976 F1 season, winning four of the first six races and finishing second in the other two. By the time of his fifth win of the year at the British GP, he had more than double the points of his closest challengers Jody Scheckter and James Hunt, and a second consecutive World Championship appeared a formality. It would be a feat not achieved since Jack Brabham's victories in 1959 and 1960. He also looked set to win the most races in a season, a record held by the late Jim Clark since 1963.
A week before the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, even though he was the fastest driver on that circuit at the time, Lauda urged his fellow drivers to boycott the race, largely because of the Script error: No such module "convert". circuit's safety arrangements. Most of the other drivers voted against the boycott and the race went ahead. On 1 August 1976 during the second lap at the very fast left kink before Bergwerk, Lauda was involved in an accident where his Ferrari swerved off the track, hit an embankment, burst into flames and made contact with Brett Lunger's Surtees-Ford car. As opposed to Lunger, Lauda was trapped in the wreckage. Drivers Arturo Merzario, Lunger, Guy Edwards and Harald Ertl arrived at the scene a few moments later, but before they were able to pull Lauda from his car, he suffered severe burns to his head and inhaled hot toxic gases that damaged his lungs and blood. As Lauda was wearing a modified helmet, the foam had compressed and it slid off his head after the accident, leaving his face exposed to the fire. Although Lauda was conscious and able to stand immediately after the accident, he later lapsed into a coma.
Lauda suffered extensive scarring from the burns to his head, losing most of his right ear as well as the hair on the right side of his head, his eyebrows and his eyelids. He chose to limit reconstructive surgery to replacing the eyelids and getting them to work properly. Since the accident he has always worn a cap to cover the scars on his head. He has arranged for sponsors to use the cap for advertising.
With Lauda out of the contest, Carlos Reutemann was taken on as his replacement. Ferrari boycotted the Austrian GP in protest at what they saw as preferential treatment shown towards McLaren driver James Hunt at the Spanish and British GPs.
Surprisingly, Lauda returned to race only six weeks (three races) later, appearing at the Monza press conference with his fresh burns still bandaged. He finished fourth in the Italian GP, despite being, by his own admission, absolutely petrified. F1 journalist Nigel Roebuck recalls seeing Lauda in the pits, peeling the blood-soaked bandages off his scarred scalp. He also had to wear a specially adapted AGV crash helmet so as to not be in too much discomfort. In Lauda's absence, Hunt had mounted a late charge to reduce Lauda's lead in the World Championship standings. Following wins in the Canadian and United States GPs, Hunt stood only three points behind Lauda before the final race of the season, the Japanese GP.
Lauda qualified third, one place behind Hunt, but on race day there was torrential rain and Lauda retired after two laps. He later said that he felt it was unsafe to continue under these conditions, especially since his eyes were watering excessively because of his fire-damaged tear ducts and inability to blink. Hunt led much of the race before his tires blistered and an inevitable pit stop dropped him down the order. He recovered to 3rd, thus winning the title by a single point.
Lauda's previously good relationship with Ferrari was severely affected by his decision to withdraw from the race, and he endured a difficult 1977 season, despite easily winning the championship through consistency rather than outright pace. Lauda disliked his new teammate, Reutemann, who had already served as his replacement driver while he had been out of contest. Lauda was not comfortable with this move and felt he had been let down by Ferrari. "We never could stand each other, and instead of taking pressure off me, they put on even more by bringing Carlos Reutemann into the team." Having announced his decision to quit Ferrari at season's end, Lauda left earlier because of the team's decision to run the unknown Gilles Villeneuve in a third car at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Brabham and first retirement 1978-1981
Having joined Brabham in 1978 for a $1 million salary, Lauda endured two unsuccessful seasons, notable mainly for his one race in the Brabham BT46B, a radical design known as the Fan Car: it won its first and only race at the Swedish GP, but Brabham did not use the car in F1 again; other teams vigorously protested the fan car's legality and Brabham team owner Bernie Ecclestone, who at the time was maneuvering for acquisition of Formula One's commercial rights, did not want to fight a protracted battle over the car, but the victory in Sweden remained official. The Brabham BT46 Alfa Romeo began the 1978 season at the third race in South Africa. It suffered from a variety of troubles that forced Lauda to retire the car 9 out of 14 races. Lauda's best results, apart from the win in Sweden and one in Italy after the penalization of Mario Andretti and Gilles Villeneuve, were a 2nd in Montreal and Great Britain, and a 3rd in the Netherlands. At the 1979 Canadian Grand Prix, after a second season marred by retirements and poor pace, Lauda informed Brabham that he wished to retire immediately, as he had no more desire to "drive around in circles". Lauda, who in the meantime had founded Lauda Air, a charter airline, returned to Austria to run the company full-time.
McLaren comeback and second retirement 1982–1985
In 1982 Lauda returned to racing. After a successful test with McLaren, the only problem was in convincing then team sponsor Marlboro that he was still capable of winning. Lauda proved he was still quite capable when, in his third race back, he won the Long Beach Grand Prix. Before the opening race of the season at Kyalami race track in South Africa, Lauda was the organiser of the so-called "drivers' strike"; Lauda had seen that the new Super Licence required the drivers to commit themselves to their present teams and realised that this could hinder a driver's negotiating position. The drivers, with the exception of Teo Fabi, barricaded themselves in a banqueting suite at Sunnyside Park Hotel until they had won the day.
Lauda won a third world championship in 1984 by half a point over teammate Alain Prost, due only to half points being awarded for the shortened 1984 Monaco Grand Prix. His Austrian Grand Prix victory that year is so far the only time an Austrian has won his home Grand Prix. Initially, Lauda did not want Prost to become his teammate, as he presented a much faster rival. However, during the two seasons together, they had a good relationship and Lauda later admitted that beating the talented Frenchman was a big motivator for him. The whole season continued to be dominated by Lauda and Prost, who won 12 of 16 races. Lauda won five races, while Prost was able to win seven Grands Prix. However, Lauda, who was able to set records for most Pole Position in a season during the 1975 season, rarely matched his teammate in qualifying. Despite this, Lauda's championship win came in Estoril, when he had to start in eleventh place on the grid, while Prost qualified on the front row. Prost did everything he could in Portugal, starting from second and winning his 7th race of the season. But Lauda's calculating drive (which included setting the fastest race lap), passing car after car, saw him finish second behind his teammate which gave him enough points to win his third title. His second place was a lucky one though as Nigel Mansell was in second for much of the race. However, as it was his last race with Lotus before joining Williams in 1985, Lotus boss Peter Warr refused to give Mansell the brakes he wanted for his car and predictably the Englishman retired with brake failure on lap 52. As Lauda had passed the Toleman of F1 rookie Ayrton Senna for third place only a few laps earlier, Mansell's retirement elevated him to second behind Prost.
1985 was a poor season for Lauda, with eleven retirements from the fourteen races he started. He did not start the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps after crashing and breaking his wrist during practice, and he later missed the European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch; John Watson replaced him for that race. He did manage 4th at the San Marino Grand Prix, 5th at the German Grand Prix, and a single race win at the Dutch Grand Prix where he held off a fast finishing Prost late in the race. This proved to be his last Grand Prix victory and also the last Formula One Grand Prix held in the Netherlands. After announcing his impending retirement at the 1985 Austrian Grand Prix, he retired for good at the end of that season.
Niki Lauda's final Formula One Grand Prix drive was the inaugural Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide, South Australia. After qualifying 16th, a steady drive saw him leading by lap 53. However, the McLaren's ceramic brakes suffered on the street circuit and he crashed out of the lead at the end of the long Brabham Straight on lap 57 when his brakes finally failed. He was one of only two drivers in the race who had actually driven in the non-championship 1984 Australian Grand Prix, the other being the man who would not only win in Adelaide in 1985 but would take Lauda's place at McLaren in 1986, 1982 World Champion Keke Rosberg.
In 1993 Lauda returned to Formula One in a managerial position when Luca di Montezemolo offered him a consulting role at Ferrari. Halfway through the 2001 season Lauda assumed the role of team manager of the Jaguar Formula One team. The team, however, failed to improve and Lauda was made redundant, together with 70 other key figures, at the end of 2003.
In September 2012 he was appointed non-executive chairman of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team. He took part in the negotiations of signing Lewis Hamilton to a three-year deal with AMG Mercedes.
Lauda's helmet was originally a plain red with his full name written on the sides and the Raiffeisen Bank logo in the chin area. He wore a modified AGV helmet in the weeks following his Nürburgring accident so as the lining would not aggravate his burned scalp too badly. In 1982, upon his return for McLaren, his helmet was white and featured the red "L" logo of Lauda Air instead of his name on the sides, complete with branding from his personal sponsor Parmalat on the top. For 1983–1985, the red and white were reversed to evoke memories of his earlier design.
Roles beyond F1
Lauda returned to running his airline, Lauda Air, on his second Formula One retirement in 1985. During his time as airline manager, he was appointed consultant at Ferrari as part of an effort by Montezemolo to rejuvenate the team. After selling his Lauda Air shares to majority partner Austrian Airlines in 1999, he managed the Jaguar Formula One racing team from 2001 to 2002. In late 2003, he started a new airline, Niki. Lauda holds a commercial pilot's licence and from time to time acted as a captain on the flights of his airline. Lauda Air ceased operations in July 2013.
He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993 and since 1996 has provided commentary on Grands Prix for Austrian and German television on RTL. He was, however, rapped for calling Robert Kubica a "polacke" (an ethnic slur for Polish people). It happened on air in May 2010 at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Niki Lauda has written five books: The Art and Science of Grand Prix Driving (titled Formula 1: The Art and Technicalities of Grand Prix Driving in some markets) (1975); My Years With Ferrari (1978); The New Formula One: A Turbo Age (1984); Meine Story (titled To Hell and Back in some markets) (1986); Das dritte Leben (1996). Lauda credits Austrian journalist Herbert Volker with editing the books.
Lauda is sometimes known by the nickname "the rat", "SuperRat" or "King Rat" because of his prominent bucked teeth. He has been associated with both Parmalat and Viessmann, sponsoring the ever present 'cappy' he has worn since 1976, used to hide the severe burns he sustained in his 1976 accident. Lauda said in a 2009 interview with the German newspaper Die Zeit that an advertiser was paying €1.2m for the space on his famous red cap.
Lauda has two sons with first wife, Marlene Knaus (married 1976, divorced 1991): Mathias, a racing driver himself, and Lukas, who also acts as Mathias's manager. Lauda has a son, Christoph, through an extra-marital relationship. In 2008 he married Birgit Wetzinger, who is 30 years his junior and was a flight attendant for his airline. She donated a kidney to Lauda when the kidney he received in a transplant from his brother, years earlier, failed. In September 2009 Birgit gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl: Max and Mia.
The 1976 F1 battle between Niki Lauda and James Hunt was dramatized in the 2013 film Rush, where Lauda was played by Daniel Brühl. Lauda himself made a cameo appearance at the end of the film. At this point Lauda said of Hunt's death, "When I heard he'd died age 45 of a heart attack I wasn't surprised, I was just sad." He also said that Hunt was one of his small number of friends, a smaller number of people he respected and the only man he had ever envied.
Complete Formula One World Championship results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position, races in italics indicate fastest lap)
Formula One non-championship results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1972||STP March Racing Team||March 721||Ford Cosworth DFV V8||ROC||BRA||INT||OUL|| REP
|1973||Marlboro-BRM||BRM P160C||BRM V12|| ROC
|1974||Scuderia Ferrari SpA||Ferrari 312B3||Ferrari flat-12||PRE|| ROC
|1975||Scuderia Ferrari SpA||Ferrari 312T||Ferrari flat-12||ROC|| INT
|1976||Scuderia Ferrari SpA||Ferrari 312T2||Ferrari flat-12|| ROC
|1978||Parmalat Racing Team||Brabham BT45C||Alfa Romeo flat-12||INT|
|1979||Parmalat Racing Team||Brabham BT48||Alfa Romeo V12|| ROC
- "Lauda, Hans". www.aeiou.at (in German). Retrieved 16 May 2010.
- "Sportreport.at – Hall of Fame – die Besten der Besten". www.die-namenlosen.at (in German). Retrieved 16 May 2010.
- BBC Grandstand tv show, Murray Walker report on Niki Lauda announcing retirement, September 1979. Accessed on YouTube 22 November 2013 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAUcHWCRNyk
- Was sind überhaupt Freunde?. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung. 9. Juli 2010.
- Gerald Donaldson. "Formula One Drivers Hall of Fame - Nikki Lauda". Formula One web site. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
- Tom Rubython: In the Name of Glory – 1976 Myrtle Press, 2011, ISBN 978-0-9565656-9-3, p. 163.
- Lang, Mike (1983). Grand Prix! Vol 3. Haynes Publishing Group. p. 137. ISBN 0-85429-380-9.
- Tom Rubython: In the Name of Glory – 1976 Myrtle Press, 2011, ISBN 978-0-9565656-9-3, p. 187
- Malcolm Folley: Senna versus Prost Century, 2009, ISBN 978-1-8460-5540-9, p. 79ff
- Malcolm Folley: Senna versus Prost Century, 2009, ISBN 978-1-8460-5540-9, p. 153
- "Lauda to join Mercedes in advisory role". GPUpdate.net. 2012-09-28. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
- "Hamilton's Mercedes switch was not motivated by money, insists Lauda". MailOnline. 2012-09-30. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
- Zapelloni, Umberto (April 2004). Formula Ferrari. Hodder & Stoughton. p. 17. ISBN 0-340-83471-4.
- "Formel-1-Experte Niki Lauda nennt Robert Kubica "Polacke"". www.shortnews.de (in German). 16 May 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
- "Lauda obraził Roberta Kubicę!". sport.wp.pl (in Polish). 16 May 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
- Lauda, Niki (1987). To Hell And Back. London: Corgi Books. ISBN 0-552-99294-1.
- Kammertöns, Bruno (10 June 2009). "Es ist ein Glück, dass ich schon so viel Unglück erlebt habe". Die Zeit (in German).
- "Austria Post honors Niki Lauda". www.stampnews.com. 20 September 2005. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
- "Kinser, Mansell, Garlits, Lauda, and Muldowney set high standards". ESPN. Retrieved 19 May 2008.
- "Ex-F1 world champion Niki Lauda is father to twins at 60.". MailOnline. 2009-09-19. Retrieved 2010-05-16.
|40x40px||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Niki Lauda.|
|Awards and achievements|
|Austrian Sportsman of the year
| Succeeded by|
|BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year
| Succeeded by|
International Racing Driver Award
| Succeeded by|
|BRDC International Trophy winner
| Succeeded by|
|Formula One World Champion
| Succeeded by|
|Formula One World Champion
| Succeeded by|
|Procar BMW M1 Champion
| Succeeded by|
|Formula One World Champion
| Succeeded by|
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