Andreas Nikolaus Lauda, also known as Niki, passed away on the 20th of May 2019 in his sleep, just days before the Monacan Grand Prix.

The Austrian legend, a three-time World Champion (1975, 1977 and 1984) was the only Formula One driver to have championed for both Ferrari and McLaren – the sports most successful constructors. But he was famous to have survived and won the championship after a vicious accident that nearly cost his life but severely damaged his face due to burns and lungs due to toxic fumes. He managed to race again just six weeks after the accident in 1976.

Against all odds

Although Niki came from a privileged family, this did not help him in his career as an F1 pilot. In fact, it hindered his path to becoming one to the point he became estranged with them and had to loan institutional money so he could fulfill his dream to compete in the most prestigious car race in the world.

Influencer at his core

Niki have retired as a car racer many decades ago, yet he remained omnipresent in the paddocks and was highly influential until his very last breath. Since September 2012, he was appointed non-executive chairman for the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team thus a mentor to the reigning five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

His departure is widely acknowledged across the globe especially in the social media not only in the car racing world but also by diplomats and entrepreneurs alike. The Formula One Management paid tribute to his accomplishments by making every single driver to wear red “Niki” cap during the opening ceremony in Monaco, a blog tribute, and a three-minute accolade video. But most importantly, some drivers engraved Danke Niki on their cars; some monogrammed “Niki” on their hospitality boxes.

F1 legend To entrepreneur

Niki was not only an F1 legend. The natural-born gambler was also involved in three aviation entrepreneur: Lauda Air, Niki and Lauda. He also became a consultant for Scuderia Ferrari and team manager for Jaguar Formula One before finally getting involved with Team Mercedes.

Niki is surely missed by everyone.

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