Niki Lauda was an Austrian Formula One racing driver who is widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers of all time. He won three World Championships, two with Ferrari in 1975 and 1977, and one with McLaren in 1984.

Early Life

Born on February 22, 1949, in Vienna, Austria, Andreas Nikolaus Lauda developed a passion for cars at a very young age. His wealthy family wanted him to pursue a career in banking, but he had other plans. At the age of just nineteen, he abandoned his studies and left home to become a racing driver.

Career

Lauda made his debut in Formula One in 1971 driving for the March team before moving to BRM and then Ferrari where he had most success. However, it wasn't always plain sailing for Lauda as he suffered a near-fatal accident at the Nürburgring during the 1976 German Grand Prix. He miraculously returned to racing just six weeks later where he continued his championship battle with James Hunt until the final race of the season where he narrowly missed out on retaining his title.

After retiring from Formula One in 1979 Lauda pursued other interests including founding airlines and even managing several Formula One teams before returning to racing once again with McLaren where he won his third World Championship title.

Personal Life

Aside from being known as an exceptional driver on track Niki was equally praised for his intelligence off-track which led him into business endeavors later on in life such as founding his airline "Lauda Air". Despite being known for having somewhat of a blunt personality Niki went onto become a hugely successful businessman after retiring from motorsport following three world championships.

On May 20th, 2019 we lost this legendary figure due to health issues which not only affected the sporting industry but also echoed around business-world.

Legacy

Lauda was a hugely influential figure in motorsport and his legacy lives on to this day with numerous accolades named after him both throughout Formula One and the wider sporting world including the "Niki Lauda Courage Award". He is remembered as a fierce competitor but more importantly, an inspiration and role model to future generations of drivers wanting to follow in his footsteps.