Vienna : Three time Formula One World Champion Niki Lauda, who won two of his titles after a horrific crash that left major parts of his face with serious burns and went on to become a prominent figure in the aviation industry, passes away yesterday at the age of 70.
The Austria Press Agency quoted Lauda’s family as saying he “passed away peacefully” on Monday. Walter Klepetko, a doctor who performed a lung transplant on Lauda last year, said Tuesday- “Niki Lauda has died. I have to confirm that.”
Lauda won the F1 drivers’ championship in 1975 and 1977 with Ferrari and again in 1984 with McLaren.
In 1976 he was badly burned when he crashed during the German Grand Prix, but he made an astonishingly fast return to racing just six weeks later.
Lauda remained closely involved with the F1 circuit after retiring as a driver in 1985, and in recent years served as the non-executive chairman of the Mercedes team.
Born on Feb 22, 1949 into a wealthy Vienna family, Nikolaus Andreas Lauda was expected to follow his father into the paper-manufacturing industry, but instead concentrated his business talents and determination on his dreams of becoming a racing driver.