Three Time Formula One Champion Niki Lauda Has Died
Legendary Formula One Driver Niki Lauda, the three time world champion from Austria, has died, aged 70.
His family said in a statement: "With deep sadness, we announce that our beloved Niki has peacefully passed away with his family on Monday.
"His tireless zest for action, his straightforwardness and his courage remain. A role model and a benchmark for all of us, he was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather away from the public, and he will be missed."
Lauder became an icon in the sport following his crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix, where he suffered horrendous burns, only to return to the cockpit later the same season.
He was given his last rites in hospital following that crash but just 40 days later was back driving and only just missed out on the title to James Hunt by one point that year, following his retirement in the final race.
In recent years Lauda had been working as a non-executive chairman for the Formula 1 Mercedes team and had been a big part of the team that has dominated in F1 in recent years, helping Lewis Hamilton to four world titles and Nico Rosberg to one.
Many in the sport have paid tribute on social media to the legend:
Rest in peace Niki Lauda.- Formula 1 (@F1) May 21, 2019
Forever carried in our hearts, forever immortalised in our history. The motorsport community today mourns the devastating loss of a true legend.
The thoughts of everyone at F1 are with his friends and family. pic.twitter.com/olmnjDaefo
Everyone at Ferrari is deeply saddened at the news of the death of our dear friend Niki Lauda. He won two of his three world championships with us and will always be in our hearts and in those of all Ferrari fans. Our sincere condolences go to all his family and friends.#CiaoNiki pic.twitter.com/mbzZBNZiRZ- Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) May 21, 2019
I never took for granted any chance to chat with Niki Lauda. When he spoke you listened. A true great, bravery beyond belief and a funny and tough guy. Love to all his family xx #nikilauda- Lee McKenzie (@LeeMcKenzieTV) May 21, 2019
Lauda, the only F1 driver to have raced for both McLaren and Ferrari, leaves behind him five children and wife Birgit Wetzinger.
The next Formula One race is at Monaco this weekend, where the Austrian won twice during his career.
Our condolences are with Lauda's family and friends.
Featured Image Credit: PA