It's a sad day for the world of motorsport that has lost one of its most iconic figures. Former Formula 1 driver Niki Lauda has died at the age of 70. The three-time world champion passed away overnight, his family confirmed after battling a number of health issues over a year. Lauda had received a lung transplant eight months ago that required him to stay in the hospital for over two months, while he was also admitted in the hospital once again earlier this year due to a flu infection. It's also been reported that Lauda was undergoing kidney dialysis at his home in Switzerland prior to his demise.
In a statement issued to the Austrian media, the Lauda family confirmed the demise and said, “With deep sadness, we announce that our beloved Niki has peacefully passed away with his family on Monday. 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."
Niki Lauda was one of the most respected figures in Formula 1 and had won three titles in 1975, 1977 and 1984 respectively. The racer had an incredible career with his first race in 1971, while he won his first race in 1974. Niki went on to compete in 171 races and won 25. His initial stint with Ferrari brought him his first two world titles. It was during this run in 1976 when Lauda survived the horrific crash at the Nurburgring that left him severely burnt. His dramatic return the same season though cemented him as one most iconic figures F1 will ever have.
Lauda retired for the first time in 1979, focussing on his other interests and businesses until 1982 when he made a comeback with McLaren. Niki picked up his third world championship trophy 1984 against teammate Alain Prost by just half a point.
Over the years, Niki Lauda took several senior management roles across teams with his most recent being that as a non-executive member at Mercedes since 2012, where he helped bring Lewis Hamilton to the team. Lauda will be remembered not only for his world championships but also for his exceptional driving and better judgement on and off the track.