The scene from the film "rush" says a lot about the man niki lauda.
After his devastating accident at the nurburgring in 1976, the formula 1 driver – played by daniel bruhl – tries to pull his helmet over his burned head again and again in excruciating pain while still at his bedside. He wants to get back on the track, wants to race for the world championship title. And indeed: with unbending will and iron discipline, he manages to return to the cockpit 42 days after narrowly escaping death in the flame inferno.
42 years later, the formula 1 and many austrians are once again fearing for "niki nazionale" after a lung transplantation. And once again the will and discipline of the 69-year-old are called for. At least his attending physician walter klepetko is confident about lauda’s recovery. "Everything is going very well at the moment, and we are very pleased," said the head of the clinical department for thoracic surgery at the general hospital in vienna.
Will and discipline – these are the qualities that have made lauda one of the greatest drivers in formula 1 history and a successful entrepreneur. And that’s how he overcame the blows of fate.
Nikolaus andreas lauda, known to everyone only as niki, was born on 22. Born in vienna on february 1949 as the son of a wealthy industrialist. Against the will of his family and without financial support he went his way in formula 1. In 1975, 1977 and 1984 he won the world championship title and a total of 25 races.
In 1985 he ended his career as a driver, but six years earlier he had already founded his own airline. The 26. May 1991 became the worst day in his eventful life. A lauda air plane crashes in thailand. All 223 passengers die. It was the worst thing he had ever experienced, lauda once said. "My accident was nothing compared to what i saw there."
The pictures of him crossing the trummerfeld went around the world back then. His shock at the accident is still evident when he talks about it today.
Otherwise lauda is not a man of coarse sentimentality. For many years, he commented on events in formula 1 for RTL. He has not taken anyone into consideration. Not even after lauda became chairman of the supervisory board of the mercedes team around british world champion lewis hamilton in 2012. Together with his compatriot and team boss toto wolff, he led the racing team to the top. Since 2013, the silver team has won four drivers’ and four constructors’ titles.
It is rare for lauda to miss a race. All the more striking was the fact that in hockenheim, on 22. July and hungary on 29. July did not show up because of his illness.
The consequences of his horrific accident in 1976 in the "grune holle" on the nurburgring have always been with him. Since then he always wore a red cap, which became his trademark. At first he took it so that the bandage on his burnt scalp would not slip when he took off his racing helmet. He later used it as an advertising space for his business activities.
Twice he had to undergo a kidney transplant," lauda once asked. His brother florian donated one kidney in 1997, and his wife birgit donated another in 2005. Lauda has eight-year-old twins with her – max and mia. From his first marriage he has two sons lukas (39) and
Even though he lost the 1976 world championship duel with british driver james hunt, which is the focus of the 2013 film "rush," by one point, the accident made lauda a legend. "How can the deppte drive again, when he has just burned?" Lauda once asked. He explained it himself: "the quick return was part of my strategy, not to sit at home for a long time and ponder why and how all this happened to me."