Niki Lauda

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Niki Lauda
FIA Super Licence Flag of Austria Austria
Formula One World Championship career
Active years1971 Formula One season - 1979 Formula One season, 1982 Formula One season - 1985 Formula One season
TeamsMarch Engineering, British Racing Motors, Ferrari, Brabham, Team McLaren
Races177 (171 starts)
List of Formula One World Drivers' Champions3 (1975 Formula One season, 1977 Formula One season, 1984 Formula One season)
Wins25
Podiums54
Career points420.5
Pole position24
Fastest lap24
First race1971 Austrian Grand Prix
First win1974 Spanish Grand Prix
Last win1985 Dutch Grand Prix
Last race1985 Australian Grand Prix

Andreas Nikolaus "Niki" Lauda (born February 22, 1949 in Vienna) is an Austria Aviator, Entrepreneur, former Formula One (F1) racing driver and three-time List of Formula One World Drivers' Champions. He has founded and run two airlines and was manager of the Jaguar Racing Formula One racing team for two years.

Contents

Early years in racing


Born in Vienna, Austria, to a wealthy family. He was born and raised a Roman Catholic.. His paternal grandfather, Juan Lauda Crespo, was from Galicia, Spain. 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 Cars Ltd sports cars. His career seemed to be going nowhere in particular until he took out a large bank loan, secured by a life insurance policy, to buy his way into the fledgling March Engineering team as a Formula 2 (F2) driver in 1971. He was quickly promoted to the F1 team and drove for March in both F1 and F2 in 1972. Although the F2 cars were good (and Lauda's test-driving skills impressed March principal Robin Herd), March's 1972 F1 season was catastrophic and Lauda, in despair, briefly contemplated drastic action but finally took out yet another bank loan to buy his way into the British Racing Motors team in 1973. Lauda was instantly quick but the team was in decline; his big break came when his BRM team-mate Clay Regazzoni rejoined Ferrari in 1974 and team owner Enzo Ferrari asked him what he thought of Lauda. Regazzoni spoke favourably of Lauda, so Ferrari promptly went and signed him, paying Niki enough to clear his debts.

Ferrari 1974-1977


Lauda at the Nürburgring in 1973 Formula One season.

After an unsuccessful start to the 1970s culminating in a disastrous start to the 1973 season, Ferrari regrouped completely under Luca Montezemolo and were resurgent in 1974 Formula One season. 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 1974 Argentine Grand Prix. His first Grand Prix motor racing (GP) victory – and the first for Ferrari since 1972 – followed only three races later in 1974 Spanish Grand Prix. Although Lauda became the season's pacesetter, achieving six consecutive Pole position, a mixture of inexperience and mechanical unreliability meant Lauda won only one more race that year, the 1974 Dutch Grand Prix. He finished fourth in the Drivers' Championship and demonstrated immense commitment to testing and improving the car.

The 1975 Formula One 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 fifth win at the last race of the year, the 1975 United States Grand Prix.

Unlike 1975, Lauda dominated the start of the 1976 Formula One 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 1976 British Grand Prix, he had more than double the points of his closest challenger Jody Scheckter and a second consecutive World Championship appeared a formality. It would be a feat not achieved since Jack Brabham's victories in 1959 Formula One season and 1960 Formula One season. He also looked set to win the most races in a season, a record held by the late Jim Clark since 1963 Formula One season.

Niki Lauda practicing at the Nürburgring during the 1976 German Grand Prix.

A turning point in his life was the second lap at the 1976 German Grand Prix at the long Nürburgring circuit. Lauda's car swerved off the track, due to a suspected rear suspension failure, hit an embankment and rolled back into the path of Brett Lunger's Surtees-Ford Motor Company car. Lauda's car burst into flames, but, unlike Lunger, he was trapped in the wreckage. Drivers Arturo Merzario, Guy Edwards and Harald Ertl arrived at the scene a few moments later, but before they and Lunger 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. Although Lauda was conscious and able to stand immediately after the accident, he later lapsed into a coma and a priest administered the Anointing of the Sick.[1]

Lauda suffered extensive scarring from the burns, which became possibly his most famous attribute in the eyes of the public. He only had enough reconstructive surgery to get his eyelids to work properly, but never felt a need to do any more. Since the accident he is almost never seen in public without a red cap to cover the scars on his head.

With Lauda out of the contest, Ferrari boycotted the Austrian GP in protest at what they saw a preferential treatment shown towards Team McLaren driver James Hunt at the Spanish and British GPs. Carlos Reutemann was even taken on as a potential replacement.

Lauda returned to race only six weeks (two races) later, finishing fourth in the 1976 Italian Grand Prix. In Lauda's absence, Hunt had reduced his lead in the World Championship standings. Following wins in the 1976 Canadian Grand Prix and 1976 United States Grand Prix, Hunt stood only three points behind Lauda before the final race of the season, the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix.

Lauda qualified third, one place behind Hunt, but on race day there was torrential rain and Lauda retired after 2 laps, stating that he felt it was unsafe to continue under these conditions. Hunt led much of the race before a late puncture dropped him down the order. He recovered to 3rd, thus winning the title by a single point. In spite of this, Lauda's move is seen as one of the bravest examples in motor racing.

Lauda's previously good relationship with Ferrari was severely affected by his decision to withdraw from the race, and he endured a difficult 1977 Formula One season, despite easily winning the championship through consistency rather than outright pace. Having announced his decision to quit Ferrari at season's end, Lauda left early due to the team's decision to run the then unknown Gilles Villeneuve in a third car at the 1977 Canadian Grand Prix.

Brabham, retirement and the comeback with McLaren


Five years after his first retirement, Lauda won his third title driving a McLaren MP4/2.

Having joined Brabham in 1978 for a $1 million salary, Lauda endured two unsuccessful seasons, notable mainly for his one race in the Brabham BT46, a radical design known as the Fan Car: it won its first race and was then promptly banned. At the 1979 Canadian Grand Prix, Lauda informed Brabham owner Bernie Ecclestone that he wished to retire immediately, as he had no more desire to "drive around in circles". Lauda, who had founded a charter airline, returned to Austria to run the company full-time.

Needing money to shore up his new business, in 1982 Lauda returned to racing, feeling that he still had a career in Formula One. After a successful test with Team McLaren, the only problem was in convincing then team sponsor Marlboro (cigarette) that he was still capable of winning. Lauda proved he was still quite capable when, in his third race back, he won the 1982 United States Grand Prix West. Lauda won a third world championship in 1984 Formula One season by one-half point over teammate Alain Prost, who had the deciding matter, that it gave only half Points at the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix. His Austrian Grand Prix victory that year is the most recent time an Austrian has won his home Grand Prix. 1985 was a poor last Grand Prix season, with a 4th at the 1985 San Marino Grand Prix, a 5th at the 1985 German Grand Prix, thirteen retirements and only one race win at the 1985 Dutch Grand Prix. This proved to be his last Grand Prix victory and also the last Formula One Grand Prix held in the Netherlands.

Life after F1

Poster for Niki (airline) featuring a caricature of the boss, as shown in the Paris Métro.

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.[2] Ousted by boardroom politics after a sale to majority partner Austrian Airlines in 1999, he managed the Jaguar Racing Formula One racing team from 2001 to 2002. In late 2003, he started a new airline, Niki (airline). Lauda holds a commercial pilot's license and from time to time acts as a captain on the flights of his airline.

He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993. Since 1996 his comments on Formula One are widely quoted in the motorsport press, and he provides commentary for Austrian and German television coverage RTL Television. As a driver, Lauda was renowned for his clear-headed approach to driving, minimising risk whilst maximising results, and ruthless self-interest. Lauda is considered one of the most accomplished test drivers in the sport, often working long hours refining his car's performance.

Niki Lauda has written four books: The Art and Science of Grand Prix Driving (1975); My Years With Ferrari (1978); The New Formula One: A Turbo Age (1984); and an autobiography, Meine Story (titled To Hell and Back in some markets) (1986).[3] Lauda credits Austrian journalist Herbert Volker with editing the books.

Lauda is sometimes known by the rather uncomplimentary Nickname "the rat" or "SuperRat", for his prominent Buck teeth. He has been associated with both Parmalat and Viessmann, sponsoring his ever faithful 'cappy' from 1976 onwards, used to hide the severe burns he sustained in his 1976 accident.

In 2008, American sports television network ESPN ranked him 22nd on their top drivers of all-time.[4]

Complete Formula One results

(F1 driver results legend 2) (Races in bold indicate pole position, races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WDC Pts.
1971 Formula One season STP (motor oil company) March Engineering March Engineering March 711 Ford Motor Company Cosworth DFV V8 engine 1971 South African Grand Prix 1971 Spanish Grand Prix 1971 Monaco Grand Prix 1971 Dutch Grand Prix 1971 French Grand Prix 1971 British Grand Prix 1971 German Grand Prix 1971 Austrian Grand Prix
Ret
1971 Italian Grand Prix 1971 Canadian Grand Prix 1971 United States Grand Prix NC 0
1972 Formula One season STP (motor oil company) March Engineering March Engineering March 721 Ford Motor Company Cosworth DFV V8 engine 1972 Argentine Grand Prix
11
1972 South African Grand Prix
7
NC 0
March Engineering March 721 Ford Motor Company Cosworth DFV V8 engine 1972 Spanish Grand Prix
Ret
1972 Monaco Grand Prix
16
1972 Belgian Grand Prix
12
March Engineering March 721 Ford Motor Company Cosworth DFV V8 engine 1972 French Grand Prix
Ret
1972 British Grand Prix
9
1972 German Grand Prix
Ret
1972 Austrian Grand Prix
10
1972 Italian Grand Prix
13
1972 Canadian Grand Prix
DSQ
1972 United States Grand Prix
NC
1973 Formula One season Marlboro (cigarette)-British Racing Motors BRM BRM P160 British Racing Motors V12 engine 1973 Argentine Grand Prix
Ret
1973 Brazilian Grand Prix
8
18th 2
BRM BRM P160 British Racing Motors V12 engine 1973 South African Grand Prix
Ret
BRM BRM P160 British Racing Motors V12 engine 1973 Spanish Grand Prix
Ret
1973 Belgian Grand Prix
5
1973 Monaco Grand Prix
Ret
1973 Swedish Grand Prix
13
1973 French Grand Prix
9
1973 British Grand Prix
12
1973 Dutch Grand Prix
Ret
1973 German Grand Prix
Ret
1973 Austrian Grand Prix
DNS
1973 Italian Grand Prix
Ret
1973 Canadian Grand Prix
Ret
1973 United States Grand Prix
Ret
1974 Formula One season Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 312B3 Ferrari Flat-12 1974 Argentine Grand Prix
2
1974 Brazilian Grand Prix
Ret
1974 South African Grand Prix
16
1974 Spanish Grand Prix
1
1974 Belgian Grand Prix
2
1974 Monaco Grand Prix
Ret
1974 Swedish Grand Prix
Ret
1974 Dutch Grand Prix
1
1974 French Grand Prix
2
1974 British Grand Prix
5
1974 German Grand Prix
Ret
1974 Austrian Grand Prix
Ret
1974 Italian Grand Prix
Ret
1974 Canadian Grand Prix
Ret
1974 United States Grand Prix
Ret
4th 38
1975 Formula One season Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 312B3 Ferrari Flat-12 1975 Argentine Grand Prix
6
1975 Brazilian Grand Prix
5
1st 64.5
Ferrari 312T Ferrari Flat-12 1975 South African Grand Prix
5
1975 Spanish Grand Prix
Ret
1975 Monaco Grand Prix
1
1975 Belgian Grand Prix
1
1975 Swedish Grand Prix
1
1975 Dutch Grand Prix
2
1975 French Grand Prix
1
1975 British Grand Prix
8
1975 German Grand Prix
3
1975 Austrian Grand Prix
6
1975 Italian Grand Prix
3
1975 United States Grand Prix
1
1976 Formula One season Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 312T Ferrari Flat-12 1976 Brazilian Grand Prix
1
1976 South African Grand Prix
1
1976 United States Grand Prix West
2
2nd 68
Ferrari Ferrari 312T2 Ferrari Flat-12 1976 Spanish Grand Prix
2
1976 Belgian Grand Prix
1
1976 Monaco Grand Prix
1
1976 Swedish Grand Prix
3
1976 French Grand Prix
Ret
1976 British Grand Prix
1
1976 German Grand Prix
Ret
1976 Austrian Grand Prix
Inj
1976 Dutch Grand Prix
Inj
1976 Italian Grand Prix
4
1976 Canadian Grand Prix
8
1976 United States Grand Prix
3
1976 Japanese Grand Prix
Ret
1977 Formula One season Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari Ferrari 312T2 Ferrari Flat-12 1977 Argentine Grand Prix
Ret
1977 Brazilian Grand Prix
3
1977 South African Grand Prix
1
1977 United States Grand Prix West
2
1977 Spanish Grand Prix
DNS
1977 Monaco Grand Prix
2
1977 Belgian Grand Prix
2
1977 Swedish Grand Prix
Ret
1977 French Grand Prix
5
1977 British Grand Prix
2
1977 German Grand Prix
1
1977 Austrian Grand Prix
2
1977 Dutch Grand Prix
1
1977 Italian Grand Prix
2
1977 United States Grand Prix
4
1977 Canadian Grand Prix 1977 Japanese Grand Prix 1st 72
1978 Formula One season Parmalat Brabham Brabham Brabham BT45 Alfa Romeo (Formula One) Flat-12 1978 Argentine Grand Prix
2
1978 Brazilian Grand Prix
3
4th 44
Brabham Brabham BT46 Alfa Romeo (Formula One) Flat-12 1978 South African Grand Prix
Ret
1978 United States Grand Prix West
Ret
1978 Monaco Grand Prix
2
1978 Belgian Grand Prix
Ret
1978 Spanish Grand Prix
Ret
1978 French Grand Prix
Ret
1978 British Grand Prix
2
1978 German Grand Prix
Ret
1978 Austrian Grand Prix
Ret
1978 Dutch Grand Prix
3
1978 Italian Grand Prix
1
1978 United States Grand Prix
Ret
1978 Canadian Grand Prix
Ret
Brabham Brabham BT46B Alfa Romeo (Formula One) Flat-12 1978 Swedish Grand Prix
1
1979 Formula One season Parmalat Brabham Brabham Brabham BT48 Alfa Romeo (Formula One) V12 engine 1979 Argentine Grand Prix
Ret
1979 Brazilian Grand Prix
Ret
1979 South African Grand Prix
6
1979 United States Grand Prix West
Ret
1979 Spanish Grand Prix
Ret
1979 Belgian Grand Prix
Ret
1979 Monaco Grand Prix
Ret
1979 French Grand Prix
Ret
1979 British Grand Prix
Ret
1979 German Grand Prix
Ret
1979 Austrian Grand Prix
Ret
1979 Dutch Grand Prix
Ret
1979 Italian Grand Prix
4
14th 4
Brabham Brabham BT49 Ford Motor Company Cosworth DFV V8 engine 1979 Canadian Grand Prix
DNP
1979 United States Grand Prix
1982 Formula One season Marlboro (cigarette) Team McLaren McLaren McLaren MP4/1 Ford Motor Company Cosworth DFV V8 engine 1982 South African Grand Prix
4
1982 Brazilian Grand Prix
Ret
1982 United States Grand Prix West
1
1982 San Marino Grand Prix
1982 Belgian Grand Prix
DSQ
1982 Monaco Grand Prix
Ret
1982 Detroit Grand Prix
Ret
1982 Canadian Grand Prix
Ret
1982 Dutch Grand Prix
4
1982 British Grand Prix
1
1982 French Grand Prix
8
1982 German Grand Prix
DNS
1982 Austrian Grand Prix
5
1982 Swiss Grand Prix
3
1982 Italian Grand Prix
Ret
1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix
Ret
5th 30
1983 Formula One season Marlboro (cigarette) Team McLaren McLaren McLaren MP4/1 Ford Motor Company Cosworth DFV V8 engine 1983 Brazilian Grand Prix
3
1983 United States Grand Prix West
2
1983 French Grand Prix
Ret
1983 San Marino Grand Prix
Ret
1983 Monaco Grand Prix
DNQ
1983 Belgian Grand Prix
Ret
1983 Detroit Grand Prix
Ret
1983 Canadian Grand Prix
Ret
1983 British Grand Prix
6
1983 German Grand Prix
DSQ
1983 Austrian Grand Prix
6
10th 12
McLaren McLaren MP4/1 Techniques d'Avant Garde V6 engineTurbo-charged 1983 Dutch Grand Prix
Ret
1983 Italian Grand Prix
Ret
1983 European Grand Prix
Ret
1983 South African Grand Prix
11
1984 Formula One season Marlboro (cigarette) Team McLaren McLaren McLaren MP4/2 Techniques d'Avant Garde V6 engineTurbo-charged 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix
Ret
1984 South African Grand Prix
1
1984 Belgian Grand Prix
Ret
1984 San Marino Grand Prix
Ret
1984 French Grand Prix
1
1984 Monaco Grand Prix
Ret
1984 Canadian Grand Prix
2
1984 Detroit Grand Prix
Ret
1984 Dallas Grand Prix
9
1984 British Grand Prix
1
1984 German Grand Prix
2
1984 Austrian Grand Prix
1
1984 Dutch Grand Prix
2
1984 Italian Grand Prix
1
1984 European Grand Prix
4
1984 Portuguese Grand Prix
2
1st 72
1985 Formula One season Marlboro (cigarette) Team McLaren McLaren McLaren MP4/2 Techniques d'Avant Garde V6 engineTurbo-charged 1985 Brazilian Grand Prix
Ret
1985 Portuguese Grand Prix
Ret
1985 San Marino Grand Prix
4
1985 Monaco Grand Prix
Ret
1985 Canadian Grand Prix
Ret
1985 Detroit Grand Prix
Ret
1985 French Grand Prix
Ret
1985 British Grand Prix
Ret
1985 German Grand Prix
5
1985 Austrian Grand Prix
Ret
1985 Dutch Grand Prix
1
1985 Italian Grand Prix
Ret
1985 Belgian Grand Prix
PO
1985 European Grand Prix
Inj
1985 South African Grand Prix
Ret
1985 Australian Grand Prix
Ret
10th 14

References

  1. Lang, Mike (1983). Grand Prix! Vol 3. Haynes Publishing Group. pp. 137. ISBN 0-85429-380-9. 
  2. Zapelloni, Umberto. Formula Ferrari. Hodder & Stoughton. pp. 17. ISBN 0-340-83471-4. 
  3. Lauda, Niki (1987). To Hell And Back. London: Corgi Books. ISBN 0 552 99294 1. 
  4. "Kinser, Mansell, Garlits, Lauda, and Muldowney set high standards". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/racing/columns/story?columnist=blount_terry&id=3400774. Retrieved on 2008-05-19. 

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Franz Klammer
Austrian Sportspersonality of the year
1977
Succeeded by
Josef Walcher
Preceded by
Nelson Piquet
Autosport
International Racing Driver Award

1984
Succeeded by
Alain Prost
Sporting positions
Preceded by
James Hunt
BRDC International Trophy
1975
Succeeded by
James Hunt
Preceded by
Emerson Fittipaldi
List of Formula One World Drivers' Champions
1975 Formula One season
Succeeded by
James Hunt
Preceded by
James Hunt
List of Formula One World Drivers' Champions
1977 Formula One season
Succeeded by
Mario Andretti
Preceded by
None
Procar
1979
Succeeded by
Nelson Piquet
Preceded by
Nelson Piquet
List of Formula One World Drivers' Champions
1984 Formula One season
Succeeded by
Alain Prost


Persondata
NAME Lauda, Niki
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Lauda, Andreas Nikolaus "Niki"
SHORT DESCRIPTION Austria Aviator, Entrepreneur, former Formula One (F1) racing driver and three-time List of Formula One World Drivers' Champions
DATE OF BIRTH February 22, 1949
PLACE OF BIRTH Vienna
DATE OF DEATH
PLACE OF DEATH
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