Niki Lauda is a living legend in the world of Formula 1. In 2008, American sports television network ESPN ranked him 22nd on their top drivers of all-time.
Niki began racing in his early 20s, joining Ferrari in 1974. He took his first world championship a year later, but his career took a nasty turn in August 1976 when he was involved in a terrible crash. After being nearly killed and recovering from a coma, Niki returned to the driver’s seat just six weeks later and retook the ’76 championship from long-time rival James Hunt. His miraculously fast recovery was described as the most courageous comeback in sporting history, and cements both Niki’s intense passion for the sport and his sporting status. Niki went on to win two more world championships in 1977 and 1984.
Following his driving career, Niki worked as an adviser for Ferrari, served as a Jaguar team principal and became a television commentator – a role for which he was uniquely qualified to provide insights into the highs and lows of the sport he was lucky to survive and brilliant enough to conquer. In 2012 he became non-executive chairman of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team.
He is now known primarily as an aviation entrepreneur having founded and run two airlines (Lauda Air and Niki). Niki is also an accomplished writer having written five books including “The Art and Science of Grand Prix Driving” (1975), “My Years With Ferrari” (1978), and “The New Formula One: A Turbo Age” (1984).
The 1976 F1 battle between Niki Lauda and James Hunt was dramatised in the 2013 film Rush. This finely crafted sports drama received widespread critical acclaim.
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