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Niki Lauda: Three-time Formula One champion dead at 70

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  • Niki Lauda: Three-time Formula One champion dead at 70

    By Julia Hollingsworth, CNN

    Three-time Formula One champion Niki Lauda, who recovered from a near-fatal accident to become one of motor racing's greatest drivers, has died aged 70.

    The Austrian, who built a new career as an airline entrepreneur after leaving the track, died peacefully on Monday, his family said in a statement sent to CNN.
    Lauda was hospitalized earlier this year with influenza and underwent a lung transplant last year.

    "His unique successes as a sportsman and entrepreneur are and will stay in our memory," the Lauda family said. "His tireless zest for action, his straightforwardness and his courage remain a role model and standard for all of us. Away from the public, he was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather. We will miss him.

    Lauda won F1 titles with Ferrari and McLaren in 1975, 1977 and 1984, with two of the wins coming after the crash that almost cost him his life.

    Born to a wealthy family in Vienna, he had been expected to follow his father into the paper manufacturing industry. Instead, he went into motorsport and joined Ferrari in 1974.
    At the 1976 German Grand Prix, Lauda collided with a barrier and his car went up in flames. He inhaled toxic fumes and suffered horrific burns that left him close to death and with permanent facial scaring.
    Nevertheless, he returned to racing just six weeks later.



    In a 2016 interview with CNN, Lauda warned that introducing too many safety measures would damage Formula One.
    "Why are we watching?" Lauda said. "Good racing, a bit of danger -- always there. And unbelievable driver performance to keep these cars under control.
    "My opinion is, if we continue only to think of making it 110% about the safety issues, we're going to destroy Formula One."

    Outside of racing, Lauda founded three Austrian airlines: Lauda Air, Fly Niki, and Laudamotion. He also served as a non-executive chairman of Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix.
    Toto Wolff, team principal of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas racing team, hailed Lauda as a "guiding light."

    "Niki will always remain one of the greatest legends of our sport - he combined heroism, humanity and honesty inside and outside the cockpit," Wolff said in a statement.
    "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.
    "Niki, you are quite simple irreplaceable, there will never be another like you."
    The McLaren F1 team said it was deeply saddened by the news of his death.
    "Niki will forever be in our hearts and enshrined in our history," the team tweeted Tuesday.

    CNN's Sheena Jones contributed to this report.
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  • #2
    So sad to hear this news. What a story his life was. He will be missed.
    If you haven’t seen the movie “RUSH”, you should give it a look.
    Last edited by Meldoon; 05-21-2019, 07:55 AM.
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    • #3
      Thank you Jeff for posting the news, though sad. As Meldoon noted, the movie RUSH is something we all should see. Niki Laudi was such a talent!
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      • #4
        Sad news. What a great contributor to the sport he was.
        There is a madness to my method!
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Meldoon View Post
          So sad to hear this news. What a story his life was. He will be missed.
          If you haven’t seen the movie “RUSH”, you should give it a look.
          Yes, I'd also recommend RUSH - an enjoyable and memorable movie. Here's one of the non-racing clips from the movie:

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          • #6
            That was a hilarious clip from Rush! Thanks for posting the link Mobius so we could enjoy it again.
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            • #7
              That is a great clip. Great find/post Mobius!
              Z06 coming late this summer: Hypersonic Gray HTC, two tone blue interior, complete high wing/aero package. CCB’s, with every piece of visible carbon fiber available. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 24 year members of National Corvette Museum. Home is the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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              • #8
                That horrible fire also damaged his lungs when he breathed in the fire. Have to think that led to the lung transplants that certainly contributed to his early passing.

                Sad to hear, but he certainly accomplished much in his life.
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                • #9
                  A great driver for sure....so young ...

                  saddened to hear of his passing.

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