Another sporting legend has passed on. Nikki Lauda, Formula-1 legend and Mercedes-Benz speed icon, passed on May 21, “peacefully and surrounded by his family.”
Lauda is regarded as one of the greatest Frmula-1 drivers in the history of the sport. He won a staggering 25 Grand Prix races and 3 world titles (one with McLaren and two with Ferrari) between 1969 and 1985.
Two of his storied world titles came after he was involved in a fiery crash at the Nürburgring, a course spanning 76 curves and 14 miles, during the 1976 German Grand Prix. That accident left him scarred, leading to burns and lung damage from breathing in flames.
His lungs continued to plague him, and while the cause of his death was not released, it won’t be far-fetched to assume that his persistent breathing issues had something to do with his demise.
More astonishing was the fact that Lauda returned to the track at the Italian Grand Prix just six weeks after his almost fatal crash. While he almost caught points leader James Hunt, he was forced to pull out because of terrible weather in the almost race of the season.
A year later, he recaptured the championship from Hunt, beating the latter by a single point.
Even after his retirement, Lauda remained affiliated with Formula-1. In recent years, he served as a non-executive chairman of the Mercedes team. Back in 2012, he was appointed Non-Executive Chairman of Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd. In this role, he went on to win 5 Formula One World Championships in a row with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.
He will be missed.
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