Wolff: Mercedes has ‘lost a guiding light’ in Lauda

Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda

Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 Team Principal Toto Wolff has described the late Niki Lauda as a ‘hero’ and the team’s ‘guiding light’.

Lauda died peacefully in the company of family on Monday (local time) at the age of 70, prompting a mass of tributes from across all forms of motorsport and even aviation, where he also made his mark.

The Austrian won two world drivers’ championships with Ferrari, including one just a year after he cheated death at the Nurburgring, and another with McLaren.

He would later become an adviser to Scuderia Ferrari, then team principal at Jaguar, before ultimately joining Mercedes as non-executive chairman in time for the 2013 season, a role which he held until his passing.

Wolff added to the tributes in a statement released by Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.

“First of all, on behalf of the team and all at Mercedes, I wish to send our deepest condolences to (wife) Birgit, Niki’s children, his family and close friends,” said Wolff.

“Niki will always remain one of the greatest legends of our sport – he combined heroism, humanity and honesty inside and outside the cockpit.

“His passing leaves a void in Formula One. We haven’t just lost a hero who staged the most remarkable comeback ever seen, but also a man who brought precious clarity and candour to modern Formula One. He will be greatly missed as our voice of common sense.

“Our Mercedes team has also lost a guiding light. As a team-mate over the past six and a half years, Niki was always brutally honest – and utterly loyal.

“It was a privilege to count him among our team and moving to witness just how much it meant to him to be part of the team’s success. Whenever he walked the floor in Brackley and Brixworth, or delivered one of his famous motivational speeches, he brought an energy that nobody else could replicate.

“Niki, you are quite simple irreplaceable, there will never be another like you.

“It was our honour to call you our Chairman – and my privilege to call you my friend.”

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