Niki Lauda - Former Formula One Driver, Birthday and Facts

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Niki Lauda's Personal Details

Niki Lauda is an Austrian Formula One driver and a three time ‘F1 World Champion’

InformationDetail
BirthdayFebruary 22, 1949
NationalityAustrian
FamousFormer Formula One Driver, Sportspersons, F1 Drivers
SpousesBirgit Wetzinger, Marlene Knaus
Known asAndreas Nikolaus Lauda, The Rat
Childrens Christoph Lauda, Lucas Lauda, Mathias Lauda, Max Lauda, Mia Lauda
Founder / Co-Founder
  • Lauda Air
  • Niki
Birth PlaceVienna, Austria
Height171cm
GenderMale
FatherErnst-Peter Lauda
MotherElisabeth Lauda
Net Worth$100 million as of Jun 16,2016
Sun SignPisces
Born inVienna, Austria
Famous asFormer Formula One driver

// Famous Former Formula One Driver

Niki Lauda's photo

Who is Niki Lauda?

Andreas Nikolaus "Niki" Lauda who was nicknamed ‘the rat’, later the ‘SuperRat’ and finally the ‘King Rat’ is an Austrian Formula One driver. He is a three time ‘F1 World Champion’ and till present he has been the only champion driver of the two most popular and prosperous sports constructors - the ‘McLaren’ and the ‘Ferrari’. He met with a severe accident during the ‘German Grand Prix’ in 1976 when his Ferrari swerved off the track and after hitting an embankment skidded back in the path bursting into flames. Trapped in the wreckage, he inhaled toxic gases and endured severe burns. Although he made a comeback with the ‘Italian Grand Prix’ race after six weeks, his injuries left him with permanent scars. As an aviation entrepreneur he set up and ran the airlines, ‘Niki’ and ‘Lauda Air’ and is the brand ambassador of ‘Bombardier Business Aircraft’. For two years he served the ‘Jaguar’ Formula One racing team as its team manager and remained a consultant for Scuderia Ferrari. He is also associated with the ‘Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’ as a non-executive chairman. Presently, during the ‘Grand Prix’ weekends he works as a commentator for the ‘German TV’.

// Famous Sportspersons

Childhood & Early Life

He was born on February 22, 1949, in Vienna in the family of wealthy industrialists having a chain of paper factories. He was the grandson of businessman Hans Lauda.

He could not display much potential at school and though his parents wanted him pursue business, he was determined to become a racing driver.

He manufactured a false school diploma to show his parents and convinced them to shell out money and bought his car, a VW. His very first day out with the car saw him crashing a Mini Cooper resulting in swapping his car with the wreck along with a burden of a debt of £1750.

He later swapped the wreck after necessary repairs with the 1300cc Mini Cooper S of Fritz Baumgartner, a local racing driver and was left with a debt of £650.

Career

On April 15, 1968, his journey as a racing driver began when he participated in a motor race excelling the hills at Mühlbacken. He secured third position in the first heat and emerged first in the second heat, completing the race with an overall second position.

Though his family disapproved his choice of a racing career, his determination was unstoppable and that saw him taking twelve more starts in 1968 - three in the Cooper and the other nine in a Porsche 911.

He received a factory ride in the ‘Formula Vee’ team of ‘Austro-Kaimann’ in 1969 and participated in thirteen ‘Formula V’ races securing two wins.

He participated for Francis McNamara in ‘Formula 3’ race in 1970. With his Porsche 908, he achieved victory at the ‘Martha Grand National’ race held at Österreichring and also at the Diepholz airfield race.

In order to obtain a contract as a ‘Formula Two’ driver with the emerging ‘March’ team in 1971, Lauda took a bank loan of £30,000 against a life insurance policy. His relation with his family over his career became strained and distant with time.

Though he was swiftly promoted to the F1 team, in 1972 he raced both in the F1 and F2 races for ‘March’. He was able to impress Robin Herd, principal of ‘March’ with his driving capabilities, but ‘March’ faced a terrible F1 season that year.

As ‘March’ fizzled he convinced Louis Stanley at ‘BRM’ to buy a contract of the ‘BRM’ team in 1973 and took another loan in that pursuit.

His real breakthrough came in 1974 when Enzo Ferrari, owner of ‘Ferrari’ team, took interest in him and enquired and received positive feedback about him from his ‘BRM’ teammate Clay Regazzoni, when the later rejoined ‘Ferrari’. Lauda was immediately signed by Ferrari who paid him enough to wipe out his debts.

In 1974 ‘Ferrari’ revived by going through a regrouping mode under the direction of Luca di Montezemolo following its ineffective start in the 1970s and a catastrophic start in the 1973 season.

He secured a second place at his debut race under ‘Ferrari’ at the ‘Argentine Grand Prix’. After three more races he won his first ‘Grand Prix’ in the ‘Spanish Grand Prix’. It was ‘Ferrari’s’ first since 1972. Despite becoming the pacesetter of the season, the only other race he won that year was the ‘Dutch GP’.

Although he was not so impressive at the beginning of 1975 F1 season, he had four wins with the new ‘Ferrari 312 T’. He secured third position in his first ‘World Championship’ at the ‘Italian Grand Prix’ held in Monza. He then went on to win the ‘United States GP’ held at the Watkins Glen village. He emerged as the first racing driver to cover the Nürburgring Nordschleife within seven minutes.

In 1976 ‘Formula 1’ season he excelled as a race driver by winning five races and getting second place in two others while securing his second and consecutive ‘World Championship’. He accumulated points more than double of that of his counterparts including James Hunt and Jody Scheckter.

He sought support from his fellow racers to refrain from participating in the 1976 ‘German Grand Prix’ to be held at Nürburgring mainly due to the lap’s safety arrangements, but failed.

On August 1, 1976, he met with a severe accident during the second lap of the ‘German Grand Prix’. His Ferrari swerved from the track and after hitting an embankment skidded back in the path bursting into flames. Trapped in the wreckage, he inhaled toxic gases and endured severe burns.

Although he made a comeback with the ‘Italian Grand Prix’ race after six weeks missing only three races, his injuries left him with permanent scars. He wore a special ‘AVG’ crash helmet in the race and secured the fourth position confessing that he was completely panic-stricken.

His relation with ‘Ferrari’ strained following his stand to drop out of the ‘Japanese Grand Prix’. The 1977 season was a bit arduous for him.

In 1978 he joined the Brabham drawing a salary of $1 million and won only three races.

In 1979 he suddenly took retirement from Formula 1 racing and returned to Austria to manage ‘Lauda Air’, the charter airline company that he had founded.

He made a comeback to the racing track in 1982 after proving his mettle at the test conducted by McLaren. He won the ‘Long Beach Grand Prix’. He organised a strike of a sort with the race drivers ahead of the first race of the season to be held at the ‘Kyalami Racing Circuit’ against the initiation of the new ‘Super Licence’.

In 1984 he won the third World Championship. He won the ‘Austrian Grand Prix’ and became the first Austrian to achieve so.

In 1985 during the ‘Austrian Grand Prix’ he announced his retirement for good.

He became a consultant for ‘Ferrari’ in 1993 accepting the offer of Luca di Montezemolo.

For around two years from mid-200, he served the ‘Jaguar’ Formula One racing team as its team manager.

He was inducted by ‘Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’ in September 2012 as a non-executive chairman.

He is a licensed commercial pilot and in 2003 he founded a new airline, ‘Niki’ where he often served as captain of the flights of his company.

In 2013 ‘Lauda Air’ discontinued its services.

From 1996 till present, he works as a commentator for the ‘German TV’ during the ‘Grand Prix’ weekends.

Personal Life & Legacy

He married Marlene Knaus in 1976 but the couple divorced in 1991. Their two sons are Mathias, a racing driver and Lukas who became manager of Mathias.

He has a son Christoph out of an extra-marital affair.

In 2008 he married his second wife Birgit Wetzinger, who was a flight attendant in his airline. He is thirty years older than Birgit who bore him twin children, a boy, Max and a girl, Mia in September 2009. When his transplanted kidney from his brother failed, Birgit donated her own to Lauda.

// Famous F1 Drivers

Niki Lauda biography timelines

  • // 1750
    He manufactured a false school diploma to show his parents and convinced them to shell out money and bought his car, a VW. His very first day out with the car saw him crashing a Mini Cooper resulting in swapping his car with the wreck along with a burden of a debt of £1750.
  • // 22nd Feb 1949
    He was born on February 22, 1949, in Vienna in the family of wealthy industrialists having a chain of paper factories. He was the grandson of businessman Hans Lauda.
  • // 1968
    Though his family disapproved his choice of a racing career, his determination was unstoppable and that saw him taking twelve more starts in 1968 - three in the Cooper and the other nine in a Porsche 911.
  • // 15th Apr 1968
    On April 15, 1968, his journey as a racing driver began when he participated in a motor race excelling the hills at Mühlbacken. He secured third position in the first heat and emerged first in the second heat, completing the race with an overall second position.
  • // 1969
    He received a factory ride in the ‘Formula Vee’ team of ‘Austro-Kaimann’ in 1969 and participated in thirteen ‘Formula V’ races securing two wins.
  • // 1970
    He participated for Francis McNamara in ‘Formula 3’ race in 1970. With his Porsche 908, he achieved victory at the ‘Martha Grand National’ race held at Österreichring and also at the Diepholz airfield race.
  • // 1971
    In order to obtain a contract as a ‘Formula Two’ driver with the emerging ‘March’ team in 1971, Lauda took a bank loan of £30,000 against a life insurance policy. His relation with his family over his career became strained and distant with time.
  • // 1972
    Though he was swiftly promoted to the F1 team, in 1972 he raced both in the F1 and F2 races for ‘March’. He was able to impress Robin Herd, principal of ‘March’ with his driving capabilities, but ‘March’ faced a terrible F1 season that year.
  • // 1972
    He secured a second place at his debut race under ‘Ferrari’ at the ‘Argentine Grand Prix’. After three more races he won his first ‘Grand Prix’ in the ‘Spanish Grand Prix’. It was ‘Ferrari’s’ first since 1972. Despite becoming the pacesetter of the season, the only other race he won that year was the ‘Dutch GP’.
  • // 1973
    As ‘March’ fizzled he convinced Louis Stanley at ‘BRM’ to buy a contract of the ‘BRM’ team in 1973 and took another loan in that pursuit.
  • // 1973 To 1974
    In 1974 ‘Ferrari’ revived by going through a regrouping mode under the direction of Luca di Montezemolo following its ineffective start in the 1970s and a catastrophic start in the 1973 season.
  • // 1974
    His real breakthrough came in 1974 when Enzo Ferrari, owner of ‘Ferrari’ team, took interest in him and enquired and received positive feedback about him from his ‘BRM’ teammate Clay Regazzoni, when the later rejoined ‘Ferrari’. Lauda was immediately signed by Ferrari who paid him enough to wipe out his debts.
  • // 1975
    Although he was not so impressive at the beginning of 1975 F1 season, he had four wins with the new ‘Ferrari 312 T’. He secured third position in his first ‘World Championship’ at the ‘Italian Grand Prix’ held in Monza. He then went on to win the ‘United States GP’ held at the Watkins Glen village. He emerged as the first racing driver to cover the Nürburgring Nordschleife within seven minutes.
  • // 1976
    In 1976 ‘Formula 1’ season he excelled as a race driver by winning five races and getting second place in two others while securing his second and consecutive ‘World Championship’. He accumulated points more than double of that of his counterparts including James Hunt and Jody Scheckter.
  • // 1976
    He sought support from his fellow racers to refrain from participating in the 1976 ‘German Grand Prix’ to be held at Nürburgring mainly due to the lap’s safety arrangements, but failed.
  • // 1976 To 1991
    He married Marlene Knaus in 1976 but the couple divorced in 1991. Their two sons are Mathias, a racing driver and Lukas who became manager of Mathias.
  • // 1st Aug 1976
    On August 1, 1976, he met with a severe accident during the second lap of the ‘German Grand Prix’. His Ferrari swerved from the track and after hitting an embankment skidded back in the path bursting into flames. Trapped in the wreckage, he inhaled toxic gases and endured severe burns.
  • // 1977
    His relation with ‘Ferrari’ strained following his stand to drop out of the ‘Japanese Grand Prix’. The 1977 season was a bit arduous for him.
  • // 1978
    In 1978 he joined the Brabham drawing a salary of $1 million and won only three races.
  • // 1979
    In 1979 he suddenly took retirement from Formula 1 racing and returned to Austria to manage ‘Lauda Air’, the charter airline company that he had founded.
  • // 1982
    He made a comeback to the racing track in 1982 after proving his mettle at the test conducted by McLaren. He won the ‘Long Beach Grand Prix’. He organised a strike of a sort with the race drivers ahead of the first race of the season to be held at the ‘Kyalami Racing Circuit’ against the initiation of the new ‘Super Licence’.
  • // 1984
    In 1984 he won the third World Championship. He won the ‘Austrian Grand Prix’ and became the first Austrian to achieve so.
  • // 1985
    In 1985 during the ‘Austrian Grand Prix’ he announced his retirement for good.
  • // 1993
    He became a consultant for ‘Ferrari’ in 1993 accepting the offer of Luca di Montezemolo.
  • // 1996
    From 1996 till present, he works as a commentator for the ‘German TV’ during the ‘Grand Prix’ weekends.
  • // 2003
    He is a licensed commercial pilot and in 2003 he founded a new airline, ‘Niki’ where he often served as captain of the flights of his company.
  • // 2008 To Sep 2009
    In 2008 he married his second wife Birgit Wetzinger, who was a flight attendant in his airline. He is thirty years older than Birgit who bore him twin children, a boy, Max and a girl, Mia in September 2009. When his transplanted kidney from his brother failed, Birgit donated her own to Lauda.
  • // Sep 2012
    He was inducted by ‘Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’ in September 2012 as a non-executive chairman.
  • // 2013
    In 2013 ‘Lauda Air’ discontinued its services.

// Famous Austrian

Niki Lauda's FAQ

  • What is Niki Lauda birthday?

    Niki Lauda was born at 1949-02-22

  • Where is Niki Lauda's birth place?

    Niki Lauda was born in Vienna, Austria

  • What is Niki Lauda nationalities?

    Niki Lauda's nationalities is Austrian

  • Who is Niki Lauda spouses?

    Niki Lauda's spouses is Birgit Wetzinger, Marlene Knaus

  • Who is Niki Lauda childrens?

    Niki Lauda's childrens is Christoph Lauda, Lucas Lauda, Mathias Lauda, Max Lauda, Mia Lauda

  • Which company or organization was founded by Niki Lauda?

    Niki Lauda was the founder/co-founder of Lauda Air, Niki

  • How tall is Niki Lauda?

    Niki Lauda's height is 171

  • Who is Niki Lauda's father?

    Niki Lauda's father is Ernst-Peter Lauda

  • Who is Niki Lauda's mother?

    Niki Lauda's mother is Elisabeth Lauda

  • What is Niki Lauda's sun sign?

    Niki Lauda is Pisces

  • How famous is Niki Lauda?

    Niki Lauda is famouse as Former Formula One driver