Follow Us

Niki Lauda, ​​the Formula 1 miracle turned air tycoon

Niki Lauda, ​​the Formula 1 miracle turned air tycoon

A man in a burning cabin. Niki Lauda, ​​hospitalized in Vienna where he has undergone a lung transplant, is an F1 legend forever associated with his terrible accident in 1976, which did not prevent him from winning three world championships and prospering in air travel.

After being operated on at the General Hospital (AKH) in Vienna, where he arrived from his holidays in Ibiza after having contracted a pulmonary virus, the 69-year-old non-executive president of the Mercedes team saw his condition «evolve in a very positive way within gravity, “said Walter Klepetko, who operated on him.

This world personality is nicknamed the ‘Phoenix’, a fitting nickname. On August 1, 1976, after an accident that took place while driving his Ferrari at 220km / h on the German Nürburgring circuit, he remained in the burning cockpit for about a minute before being withdrawn by three competitors.

You can also read:  Ferrari dominates in free practice in Germany but fears rain

The images of the terrible accident of the current world champion went around the planet. The legend had only just begun.

Because six weeks after receiving the extreme anointing in the hospital bed, Niki Lauda started the Italian Grand Prix under general astonishment despite his suffering and injuries to his face and head.

He would fight for the title until the last race with the British Jamese Hunte, finally crowned. This epic duel, revealing the Austrian’s unusual courage and will, was made into a movie in 2013 with the film ‘Rush’, by American Ron Howard.

In 1977, the survivor achieved his second world champion title with Ferrari. He left the competition in 1979 but returned to the circuits in 1982, at the wheel of a McLaren with which he won his last world title in 1984.

You can also read:  Concern in Formula 1 for Mick Schumacher's brutal accident Saudi GP

– ‘Gladiatorial combat’ –

Hired by Mercedes in 2012, the man with the timeless advertising cap that half hides his scars remains ubiquitous on the circuits, where he is appreciated for his expertise and outspokenness, especially regretting the loss of the “gladiatorial combat” aspect of his sport .

His false exit from F1 is related to his second passion, civil aviation. Pioneer of private charter, he created Lauda Air in 1979, which he resold at a profit to Austrian Airlines in 2002.

Far from being the last pirouette of this wise businessman, who is also a line pilot, in 2004 he created the very profitable low-cost company Niki, which he resold in 2011 to the German Air Berlin.

After a game of three-cushion billiards that he carried out in secret, last January he recovered his old company, snatching it from the Spanish-British group IAG / Vueling.

You can also read:  The Force India team partners with the Mexican tequila José Cuervo

The last theatrical blow of the ‘Fénix’ came in March, yielding 75% of its stake to the Irish Ryanair, adding more benefits and remaining as co-head of the company, renamed LaudaMotion.

Lauda, ​​who also operates a small business jet company, met the drama as the head of the company. On March 26, 1991, the Lauda Air Boeing 767 covering the Bangkok-Vienna route crashed with 223 people on board due to a structural technical failure. There were no survivors.

Born on February 22, 1949 in a family of the Viennese bourgeoisie, Andreas Nikolaus Lauda, ​​known as Niki, has four children from two different marriages, aged between 8 and 39 years.

The toxic gases inhaled during his accident in 1976 have left his lungs fragile. He also underwent two kidney transplants in 1997 and 2005. AFP

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

50 − = 47