Driver, legend, businessman: Niki Lauda's career

Tuesday May 21 2019

In this file photo taken on May 27, 1976 Austrian Formula One driver and World champion Niki Lauda sits in his Ferrari on Monaco race track during a training session of the 34th Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. Legendary Formula One driver Niki Lauda has died at the age of 70, his family said in a statement released to Austrian media on May 21, 2019. PHOTO | AFP |


The life and times of Niki Lauda, who has died at the age of 70:

1949: Andreas Nikolaus Lauda born on February 22 in Vienna, Austria

1968: Without telling his parents, who disapprove of motor racing, Lauda wins his first race in a Mini

1971: Takes out a loan to buy a seat in the new March team in Formula Two

1971: Promoted to March Formula One team. Makes grand prix debut in Austria on August 15

1973: Takes another loan to buy his way into BRM team


1974: Gets a huge break when former BRM teammate Clay Regazzoni recommends him to Ferrari. Lauda finishes second in Argentina on Ferrari debut

1974: Enjoys his first grand prix victory in Spain on April 28 in his fourth race for Ferrari

1975: Emerges as Formula One's star driver as he becomes world champion for the first time, winning five of 14 grands prix and taking nine pole positions

1976: Suffers horrific burns and lung damage in a fiery crash at the Nuerburgring and is read the last rites in hospital. Miraculously misses only two races and is pipped to the title by James Hunt

1977: Wins his second world championship with Ferrari with consistent podium finishes and victories in South Africa and the Netherlands

1978: Joins the Bernie Ecclestone-owned Brabham team for a reported $1 million salary.

1979: Retires from the sport during practice for the Canadian Grand Prix in September, saying he "no longer wishes to drive round in circles" for the struggling Brabham outfit.

1979: Founds Lauda Air, his first foray into the aviation industry

1982: Returns to racing with McLaren

1984: Becomes world champion for a third time by the smallest of margins - half a point over teammate Alain Prost

1985: Records the last of 25 grand prix wins in the Netherlands and retires for good

1991: Lauda Air Boeing 767 crashes in Thailand on May 26 killing all 223 people aboard

1993: Returns to Formula One as a consultant for Ferrari

2001-02: Appointed team principal for Jaguar

2002: Sells Lauda Air to Austrian Airlines

2004: Creates low-cost carrier Niki, which he sells to Air Berlin in 2011

2012: Appointed non-executive chairman of Mercedes F1 and is instrumental in bringing in Lewis Hamilton to spark a run of five consecutive world championships

2018: Has emergency lung transplant in August

2019: Dies peacefully in his sleep on May 20