Formula One Legend, Niki Lauda, Passes Away At 70
The racing world has lost one of the greatest drivers in its history. Three-time Formula One world champion Andreas Nikolaus “Niki” Lauda has died at age 70 after battling kidney troubles.
Lauda signed with Ferrari in 1973 and went on to win the drivers’ championship in both 1975 and 1977. After only six weeks, Lauda returned to the sport after a fiery crash on the Nurburgring in 1976 left him with disfiguring burns and lifelong health problems.
After racing for Brabham-Alfa Romeo in 1978 and 1979, he decided to retire. Legend has it that Lauda pulled into the pits during the 1979 Canadian Grand Prix and told Bernie Ecclestone that he was quitting right then to form his own airline – Lauda Air.
Not even 4 years later, however, Lauda was back in an F1 car and went on to win the 1984 world championship in the McLaren MP4/2. His professional driving career came to an end in 1985 but he remained in the industry as a consultant for Ferrari, team principal for Jaguar, and the Non-Executive Chairman for the Mercedes-Benz team.
The Lauda family’s statement reads, “With deep sadness, we announce that our beloved Niki has peacefully passed away with his family on Monday, May 20, 2019. His unique achievements as an athlete and entrepreneur are and will remain unforgettable, his tireless zest for action, his straightforwardness and his courage remain”.