Formula One legend Niki Lauda dies at 70

ESPN.com | 2/22/1949 | Staff
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BERLIN -- Three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda, who won two of his titles after a horrific crash that left him with serious burns and went on to become a prominent figure in the aviation industry, has died. He was 70.

The Austria Press Agency reported that Lauda's family said in a statement 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 - F1 - Drivers - Championship - Ferrari

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 made an astonishingly fast return to racing just six weeks later.

Lauda - Formula - One - Circuit - Driver

Lauda remained closely involved with the Formula One 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 industrial family, Nikolaus Andreas Lauda was expected to follow his father's footsteps into the paper-manufacturing industry, but instead concentrated his business talents and determination on his dreams of becoming a racing driver.

Lauda - Career - Help - String - Loans

Lauda financed his early career with the help of a string of loans, working his way through the ranks of Formula 3 and Formula 2. He made his Formula 1 debut for the March team at the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix and picked up his first points in 1973 with a fifth-place finish for BRM in Belgium.

Lauda joined Ferrari in 1974, winning a Grand Prix for the first time that year in Spain and his first drivers' title with five victories the following season.

Competition - McLaren - James - Hunt - Course

Facing tough competition from McLaren's James Hunt, he appeared on course to defend his title in 1976 when he crashed at the Nuerburgring during the...
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