Home / Home / Niki Lauda’s Final Retirement

 

A day of mourning for Formula 1 fans as the world lost Niki Lauda, one of the greatest characters the sport has ever seen. The racing driver from Austria won three world championships and is the only driver to have won a world championship with both Ferrari and McLaren.

For those of you that may not be familiar with the Austrian driver, think back to 2013 when movie cinemas the world over were treated to a new release by nine-time Academy Award winner, Ron Howard, called Rush. Considering the celebrated directors portfolio, it would be no surprise that this would be another brilliant real-life masterpiece; which it certainly was.

Rush was about the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the 1976 Formula 1 world championship. A fierce season saw Niki Lauda suffer a horrific crash at the Nürburgring, where his Ferrari race car burst into flames and almost took his life. With severe burns to his face and body, Lauda returned to race a mere six weeks after the crash, fuelled by nothing but the will and desire to defend his championship. However, he lost the championship to Hunt that year.

Niki Lauda continued with Ferrari the following year winning the driver’s world title, but his time with the Italian company was strained and soon came to an end. The Austrian then joined Brabham-Alfa Romeo for two seasons, in 1978 and ’79, both of which were unsuccessful and frustrating for Lauda. He retired from the sport the following year.

In 1982, Niki Lauda signed for McLaren where, two years later, he won his third world championship, beating his teammate Alain Prost by half a point. Half points were awarded in the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix due to it being a shortened affair. 1985 was the last season Niki Lauda raced in Formula 1, but with the sport flowing in his blood, he moved into management roles. Initially it was unsuccessful stints with Ferrari, and then as non-executive chairman of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, where he was part of the signing of a driver called Lewis Hamilton (I wonder how that worked out).

Niki Lauda was known to be brilliant understanding his car, the sport, and technological enhancements. Often his inputs in itself would win races for the team. Niki Lauda was a portrait for determination and comebacks against the odds. We were all lucky to have had him in the sport which we love. Rest in peace, old soldier, and thank you.

 

About the author: Zal Cursetji

 

 

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