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Home / Lifestyle / Niki Lauda trivia: 100 amazing facts about the Formula 1 legend!

Niki Lauda trivia: 100 amazing facts about the Formula 1 legend!

Niki Lauda is a Formula 1 legend. He has made his mark on the Ferrari and McLaren team! And he is one of the most known drivers in the world!

So let’s dive into some trivia and facts about his life and career!

  1. His full name is Andreas Nikolaus “Niki” Lauda
  2. He was born on 22 February 1949
  3. He died in 20 May 2019
  4. He was an Austrian Formula One driver
  5. A three-time F1 World Drivers’ Champion
  6. Winning in 1975, 1977 and 1984
  7. And an aviation entrepreneur
  8. He was the only driver in F1 history to have been champion for both Ferrari and McLaren
  9. These are the sport’s two most successful constructors
  10. He is considered by some as one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time
  11. More recently as an aviation entrepreneur, he founded and ran three airlines
  12. These are Lauda Air, Niki, and Laudamotion
  13. He was also a Bombardier Business Aircraft brand ambassador
  14. He was also a consultant for Scuderia Ferrari
  15. And team manager of the Jaguar Formula One racing team for two years
  16. He worked as a pundit for German TV during Grand Prix weekends
  17. And acted as non-executive chairman of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport
  18. Niki Lauda owned 10% of the team
  19. Having emerged as Formula One’s star driver amid a 1975 title win and leading the 1976 championship battle, Lauda was seriously injured in a crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring
  20. During which his Ferrari burst into flames
  21. And he came close to death after inhaling hot toxic fumes and suffering severe burns
  22. However, he survived and recovered enough to race again just six weeks later at the Italian Grand Prix
  23. Although he narrowly lost the title to James Hunt that year
  24. He won his second Ferrari crown the year after during his final season at the team
  25. After a couple of years at Brabham and two years’ hiatus, Lauda returned and raced four seasons for McLaren
  26. Between 1982 and 1985
  27. During which he won the 1984 title by 0.5 points over his team colleague Alain Prost
  28. Niki Lauda was born on 22 February 1949 in Vienna, Austria
  29. To a wealthy family
  30. His paternal grandfather was the Viennese-born businessman Hans Lauda
  31. Niki Lauda became a racing driver despite his family’s disapproval
  32. After starting out with a Mini, Lauda moved on into Formula Vee
  33. As was normal in Central Europe
  34. But rapidly moved up to drive in private Porsche and Chevron sports cars
  35. With his career stalled, he took out a £30,000 bank loan
  36. Secured by a life insurance policy
  37. To buy his way into the fledgling March team as a Formula Two (F2) driver in 1971
  38. Because of his family’s disapproval he had an ongoing feud with them over his racing ambitions and abandoned further contact
  39. He was quickly promoted to the F1 team
  40. But drove for March in F1 and F2 in 1972
  41. Although the F2 cars were good and Lauda’s driving skills impressed March principal Robin Herd, March’s 1972 F1 season was catastrophic
  42. Perhaps the lowest point of the team’s season came at the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport Park
  43. There both March cars were disqualified within 3 laps of each other after just past 3/4 race distance
  44. Niki Lauda took out another bank loan to buy his way into the BRM team in 1973
  45. Niki Lauda was instantly quick, but the team was in decline
  46. His big break came when his BRM teammate Clay Regazzoni left to rejoin Ferrari in 1974
  47. And team owner Enzo Ferrari asked him what he thought of Lauda
  48. Regazzoni spoke so favourably of Lauda that Ferrari promptly signed him
  49. Paying him enough to clear his debts
  50. Niki Lauda had two sons with first wife Marlene Knaus
  51. They got married in 1976
  52. And they got divorced in 1991
  53. One of their sons is Mathias, a race driver himself
  54. And the other one is Lukas, who acts as Mathias’s manager
  55. Niki Lauda had a son, Christoph, through an extra-marital relationship
  56. On August 25, 2008, he married Birgit Wetzinger, a flight attendant for his airline
  57. In a ceremony Lauda said lasted 4 minutes
  58. In 2005, she had donated a kidney to Lauda when the kidney he received from his brother in 1997 failed
  59. In September 2009, Birgit gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl
  60. On 2 August 2018 it was announced that Lauda had successfully undergone a lung transplant operation in his native Austria
  61. Niki Lauda died in his sleep on 20 May 2019 in Vienna
  62. Following a period of ill health, at the age of 70
  63. The 1976 F1 battle between Niki Lauda and James Hunt was dramatized in the 2013 film Rush
  64. In the film Niki Lauda was played by Daniel Brühl
  65. Niki Lauda himself made a cameo appearance at the end of the film
  66. At this point Lauda said of Hunt’s death, “When I heard he’d died age 45 of a heart attack I wasn’t surprised, I was just sad”
  67. He also said that Hunt was one of the very few he liked
  68. A smaller number of people he respected
  69. And the only person he had envied
  70. Niki Lauda appears in an episode of Mayday titled “Niki Lauda: Testing the Limits”
  71. Regarding the events of Lauda Air Flight 004
  72. In 1993 Niki Lauda returned to Formula One in a managerial position
  73. When Luca di Montezemolo offered him a consulting role at Ferrari
  74. Halfway through the 2001 season Lauda assumed the role of team principal of the Jaguar Formula One team
  75. The team, however, failed to improve and Niki Lauda was made redundant, together with 70 other key figures, at the end of 2002
  76. In September 2012 he was appointed non-executive chairman of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
  77. He took part in the negotiations of signing Lewis Hamilton to a three-year deal with AMG Mercedes
  78. Niki Lauda’s helmet was originally a plain red with his full name written on both sides and the Raiffeisen Bank logo in the chin area
  79. He wore a modified AGV helmet in the weeks following his Nürburgring accident
  80. So as the lining would not aggravate his burned scalp too badly
  81. In 1982, upon his return to McLaren, his helmet was white and featured the red “L” logo of Lauda Air instead of his name on both sides
  82. Complete with branding from his personal sponsor Parmalat on the top
  83. From 1983 – 1985, the red and white were reversed to evoke memories of his earlier helmet design
  84. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993
  85. And since 1996 has provided commentary on Grands Prix for Austrian and German television on RTL
  86. He was, however, criticized for calling Robert Kubica a “polacke” (an ethnic slur for Polish people)
  87. It happened on air in May 2010 at the Monaco Grand Prix
  88. Niki Lauda has written five books
  89. The Art and Science of Grand Prix Driving (titled Formula 1: The Art and Technicalities of Grand Prix Driving in some markets) (1975)
  90. My Years With Ferrari (1978); The New Formula One: A Turbo Age (1984)
  91. Meine Story (titled To Hell and Back in some markets) (1986)
  92. Das dritte Leben (en. The third life)(1996)
  93. Niki Lauda credits Austrian journalist Herbert Volker with editing the books
  94. Niki Lauda is sometimes known by the nickname “the rat”, “SuperRat” or “King Rat”
  95. Because of his prominent buck teeth
  96. He has been associated with both Parmalat and Viessmann
  97. Sponsoring the ever-present cap he has worn since 1976 to hide the severe burns he sustained in his Nurburgring accident
  98. Niki Lauda said in a 2009 interview with the German newspaper Die Zeit that an advertiser was paying €1.2m for the space on his red cap
  99. In 2005 the Austrian post office issued a stamp honouring him
  100. In 2008, American sports television network ESPN ranked him 22nd on their top drivers of all-time


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