Niki Lauda 1949 - 2019

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Three-time Formula One champion Niki Lauda has died. The charismatic Austrian had been away from F1 for little more than a year, and died in his sleep at the age of 70.

Lauda became World Champion in 1975, 1977 an 1984 for Ferrari and McLaren. He was widely regared as extremely devoted, and regarded by Enzo Ferrari as the first driver whose interest went beyond driving during his career. Instead, his involvement would direct the team thanks to his management skills.

The Austrian's racing career wasn't all roses though, as he endured a famous fiery crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. Leading the championship, he suffered severe burns while inhaling toxic fumes.

Fitting to his legacy however, Lauda made a remarkable comeback, and was back in the Ferrari just six weeks later at the Italian Grand Prix. At the time, he was barely able to put on his helmet, but his devotion allowed him to pick up his Championship fight.

Most recently, Lauda worked as an F1 pundit for German television and owned 10% of the Mercedes AMG F1 team where he was a non-executive chairman. Between 2015 and 2018 he was usually present with the team alongside Toto Wolff with whom he developed a strong personal and professional relationship.

Niki Lauda was extremely appreciated in the F1 paddock, and an utter example of commitment.

He leaves behind 5 children