Three-time F1 champ Niki Lauda dies

Mat Coch

Tuesday 21st May, 2019 - 11:27am


Niki Lauda

Niki Lauda’s family has confirmed the three time Formula 1 world champion has died at the age of 70.

The Austrian won the world title twice with Ferrari before sealing his final crown with McLaren in 1984 by just half a point.

“With deep sadness, we announce that our beloved Niki has peacefully passed away with his family on Monday,” a statement from his family said.

“His unique achievements as an athlete and entrepreneur are and will remain unforgettable, his tireless zest for action, his straightforwardness and his courage remain.

“A role model and a benchmark for all of us, he was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather away from the public, and he will be missed.”

Lauda’s first success came in 1975, before his second in 1977 came following a horrendous crash at the Nurburgring the previous year which nearly cost him his life.

His battle for the 1976 world title with James Hunt was the subject of the Ron Howard film Rush.

Since retiring from racing, Lauda went on to found an airline, and became an advisor to Ferrari.

His final role within the sport was with Mercedes, where he was a non-executive chairman, though has not been seen at a race track since a reported bout of the flu last year.

What was first reported as the flu was later revealed to have developed into a lung transplant, with Lauda given less than a week to live prior to the operation.

Earlier this year he returned to hospital with the flu.


1949 Born in Vienna, Austria on February 22
1968 Takes part in hillclimb event
1969 Factory driver in Formula Vee
1970 Races in Formula 3
1971 Formula 1 debut at Austrian Grand Prix with March (only entry that season); also Formula 2 season with March, paid for by borrowing against life insurance policy
1972 Contests full Formula 1 season with March
1973 Scores first Formula 1 points by finishing fifth in Belgian Grand Prix with BRM
1974 First two grand prix wins, with Ferrari
1975 World drivers’ champion; Ferrari’s first since 1964
1976 Given last rites after horrific, fiery crash at Nurburgring; finishes fourth in Italian Grand Prix just six weeks later and ultimately runner-up in championship
1977 World drivers’ champion with Ferrari
1978 Switches to Brabham team
1979 Quits Formula 1; founds own airline (Lauda Air)
1982 Returns to Formula 1 with McLaren
1984 World drivers’ champion with McLaren
1985 Retires from Formula 1 for final time
1992 Becomes advisor to Ferrari Formula 1 team; stays until 1997
1997 Receives kidney transplant from brother Florian
2000 Sells Lauda Air to Austrian Airlines
2001 Becomes Race Director (and subsequently Team Principal) of Jaguar Formula 1 team; two-year tenure
2003 Buys out another airline to launch Niki
2005 Receives second kidney transplant, from future wife Birgit
2011 Niki (airline) merges with Air Berlin
2012 Becomes Non-Executive Chairman of Mercedes Formula 1 team
2018 Receives lung transplant
2019 Hospitalised with flu in January; dies in presence of family on May 20


World drivers’ championships 3
Grand prix wins 25
Grand prix podiums 54
Grand prix poles 54
Rounds entered 177
Races started 171 comment policy

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