Biography of Niki Lauda
Niki Lauda Profile
To simply say that Niki Lauda was a three-time F1 world champion would be to do a disservice to the Austrian.
Across his 13 seasons in the sport, Lauda drove for March, BRM, Ferrari, Brabham and McLaren, twice finding championship successes after a horrific accident in the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nordschleife.
To make it into F1, Lauda took out a bank loan to buy a seat at BRM. His pace was such that it caught the attention of Enzo Ferrari almost immediately with the Austrian subsequently signing for the following campaign.
The move would be rewarded in '75 when Lauda secured his first world title, but it is perhaps the 1976 season for which Lauda is most remembered, with his championship duel with James Hunt immortalised in the Hollywood blockbuster "Rush".
Although defeated in the championship, for Lauda, escaping the season with his life was a victory of itself after he was read the last rites such was his condition in hospital.
Lauda's return to racing was nothing short of miraculous, as the Austrian returned to the track after missing only two races. He would stand on the podium in the USA just two races later.
Championship success would once again follow in '77 before he left F1 at the end of '79 after driving for Brabham for two years.
Lauda returned in '82 and drove for McLaren for four years, once again claiming the championship title in '84.
Since retiring from driving, Lauda focused on his various business ventures before returning as team principal of the short-lived Jaguar team and later serving as a non-executive chairman of the Mercedes F1 team, a role he held to his passing on 20 May 2019.