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the fascinating life of Niki Lauda


He woke up from a coma, had four children and founded his own airline: the fascinating life of Niki Lauda

bang showbiz

8 hours ago

Born under the name Andreas Nikolaus Lauda, ​​this prominent sports figure was born on February 22, 1949 in Vienna, Austria. Considered one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time, Niki sadly passed away in 2019 at the age of 70. To celebrate what would have been his 73rd birthday, we’ve compiled a series of fascinating facts about his life and work.

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Niki grew up in the Austrian capital in a wealthy family, which was opposed to her pursuing a career in motorsport. However, he decided to listen to his heart and even broke ties with his relatives.

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From his beginnings to his last moments as a racing driver, Niki had the opportunity to drive countless cars. From fabulous Minis and Formula Vees, to Porsches and Chevrons, to F2s and Ferraris, Lauda drove it all!

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His big break came in the mid-1970s when he caught the interest of Enzo Ferrari. From 1974 to 1979 he remained in the ranks of said team, starting slowly, but finishing with multiple victories. In 1975 he won five races and scored his first world success, finishing third in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

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At that same time, specifically in 1976, Lauda suffered a terrible accident while participating in the German Grand Prix, at the Nürburgring circuit. During the second lap, Niki’s car went off the track, causing a crash and a fire. He was trapped inside his vehicle suffering from multiple burns and gas inhalation poisoning.

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His health was deteriorated after the terrible accident. Lauda remained in a coma in hospital and his loved ones said goodbye to him, but he woke up. Niki had to undergo several reconstructive surgeries due to the terrible scars left by the burns. At the moment, the pilot Carlos Reutemann replaced him in the team. To everyone’s surprise, Lauda returned to the track just six weeks after the tragic events.

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During his life, Niki Lauda developed a career in other areas outside of Formula 1. For example, in 1979 he founded his own airline called Lauda Air, which was active until 2013. The flights operated to Australia, Brazil, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece and Iceland, among other places.

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Love also knocked on the doors of the late Formula One driver. From 1976 to 1991 he was married to Marlene Knaus, with whom he had two children: Mathias, who is also a driver, and Lukas, who served as his brother’s manager. In 2008, Niki married Birgit Wetzinger, a stewardess for his airline, for the second time. Together they welcomed twin boys named Max and Mia.

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Some fun facts about the fantastic Niki: he spoke perfect German, English and Italian. He was frequently nicknamed with names alluding to rats or mice, due to his particular teeth and his smile. In 1993, he was awarded a distinction on the International Motorsports Walk of Fame.

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On May 20, 2019, Niki passed away in his sleep at a hospital in Zurich, where he was being treated for kidney problems. In fact, his wife Birgit had donated a kidney to him four years earlier. After his death, his family told the media that the motor racing legend had left surrounded by his loved ones and in peace.

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Niki’s legacy continues. Her life and work, for example, have been brought to the screen on several occasions. The 2013 film ‘Rush’ dramatizes part of her career and personal life, with actor Daniel Brühl playing her on camera. The film was nominated for a BAFTA Award in the category of Best Supporting Actor.

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