Capital: € 180 million
Age: 70
Born: February 22, 1949
Died: May 29, 2019
Country of origin: Germany
Source of wealth: Formula 1 driver
Last updated: 2023

Short introduction

Anyone who talks about Niki Lauda these days largely remembers his terrible accident and the injuries that followed. But even before and after the accident, the ambitious Austrian racing driver built a mega career that many young athletes can only dream of.

Early life

Andreas Nikolaus Lauda, called Niki, was born in Vienna in early 1949. His father and again his father were industrial entrepreneurs, which is why the young Lauda grew up in a fairly wealthy, financially secure environment. He was a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

At the age of fifteen, Niki Lauda bought his first car, a VW Beetle Cabriolet. He was very proud of it, but also needed a lot of money, which is why he took a vacation job as a truck passenger. As a teenager, Lauda knew that he wanted to work in motorsport. However, his family was skeptical, the result was a big argument.

Since the family no longer helped him, Lauda then financed his career himself through loans and the use of his regionally known last name. In 1968 he drove his first car race with a Mini Cooper and took second place. In the following year he was on the Kaimann team several times on the podium.


Niki Lauda drove his first sports car races with Porsche and BMW in the 1970s and won, among other things, the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. After a few starts in Formula 3, he switched to Formula 2 until he finally entered Formula 1 in 1971. There he reached third place at the Monaco Grand Prix, whereupon Ferrari offered him a contract. With this team, Lauda achieved athletic size and won his first Grand Prix in Spain in 1974.

1975 was followed by Lauda’s first world championship title after having been a favorite all season. In 1976 he also led the rankings and achieved four of eight victories. In August, his accident finally happened at the Nürburgring, where Lauda’s car went up in flames after an accident. The racing driver was seriously injured, was in a coma and suffered smoke poisoning.

Nevertheless, the ambitious young athlete started his next race after only six weeks and could not be stopped: Despite his wounds, he reached fourth place. In 1977 the second World Cup victory followed immediately. Due to differences with Ferrari, Lauda then switched to Brabham and was fourth again in 1978. From 1979 to 1982, the racing driver took a break because he lacked motivation and devoted himself to other projects until he joined the McLaren team in 1982.

Niki Lauda won the World Cup in 1984 by a very narrow margin. The following year, he retired from his motorsport career after winning a final Grand Prix. Subsequently, Lauda built several airlines, worked as a consultant for Ferrari and Jaguar and acted as a comoder and sports expert in Formula 1 broadcasts. The racing driver died in Zurich in May 2019 after serious health problems.

Career highlights

Already in the sixties and seventies Niki Lauda won several small competitions. In 1973, when he had only been active in Formula 1 for two years, the young driver finished third at the Monaco Grand Prix. This earned him a contract with Ferrari, among other things, and as time went on, Lauda helped the team to new success in the industry.

The successes in the seventies were great. In 1974 Lauda won his first Grand Prix and was fourth in the entire season, the following year he received the world champion title in Germany. He drove the Nürburgring in under seven minutes and was the first Ferrari driver to be awarded a Formula 1 world title since 1964. Another victory in the World Championship followed in 1977, after which Austria named Lauda Sportsman of the Year.

Niki Lauda received his third and last World Cup victory in 1984. This season he won five times and won the championship by half a point. In total, Lauda collected 420 World Championship points, 54 podium finishes and more than 1,500 leadership rounds during his fourteen active years. After him, Austria’s athlete-of-the-year award was not only renamed “Niki”, there is also a Niki-Lauda-Allee.

Famous quotes

– “We had to deal with the fact that we might not be there tomorrow. We lived faster. More intense. ”
– “Since I only live on the right foot in my job, I don’t care what I look like.”
– “My whole life was something of a game.”
– “Life is more important than the world title.”
– “There is no more worthwhile field of experimentation than Formula 1 to push the limits of what is possible.”

Amazing facts

– Niki Lauda could not only drive a car, but also a tractor.
– Before retiring in 1984, it was planned that Lauda would switch to Renault after the season.
– In 2013, the racing driver bought ten percent of the shares in Mercedes Benz after he was already the chairman of the supervisory board.
– In Lauda’s accident he wore a particularly comfortable helmet, which was too big and therefore flew off his head. Lauda therefore received compensation from the manufacturer for pain and suffering.


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