|Estimated value:||€180 million|
|Country of origin:||Austria|
|Source of Wealth:||Formula 1 driver|
Anyone who talks about Niki Lauda these days mostly 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.
Andreas Nikolaus Lauda, called Niki, was born in Vienna in early 1949. His father, and his father in turn, were industrial entrepreneurs, which is why 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 summer job as a truck driver. Lauda already knew as a teenager that he wanted to work in motorsport. However, his family was skeptical, and 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 surname. In 1968 he drove his first car race in a Mini Cooper and took second place. The following year he placed himself on the podium several times in the Kaimann team.
In the 1970s, Niki Lauda drove his first sports car races with Porsche and BMW and won the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, among others. After a few starts in Formula 3, he switched to Formula 2 before finally entering Formula 1 in 1971. There he achieved, among other things, third place at the Monaco Grand Prix, whereupon Ferrari offered him a contract. With this team, Lauda achieved sporting greatness and won his first Grand Prix in Spain in 1974.
In 1975, Lauda’s first world championship title followed, after having been the favorite all season. In 1976, too, he initially led the rankings and achieved four out of eight victories. In August, his accident finally happened at the Nürburgring, where Lauda’s car burst into flames after an accident. The racing driver was seriously injured, was in a coma and suffered from smoke inhalation.
Nevertheless, the ambitious young athlete started his next race after just six weeks and didn’t let himself be stopped: Despite his wounds, he finished fourth. The second world championship victory followed immediately in 1977. Due to differences with Ferrari, Lauda then switched to Brabham and finished 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 Team McLaren in 1982.
Niki Lauda won the 1984 World Cup by a very narrow margin. The following year he retired from his motorsport career after winning one last Grand Prix. Lauda then built up several of his own airlines, worked as a consultant for Ferrari and Jaguar and acted as a co-moderator and sports expert in Formula 1 programs. After serious health problems, the racing driver died in Zurich in May 2019.
Niki Lauda already won several smaller competitions in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1973, after just two years in Formula 1, the young driver finished third in the Monaco Grand Prix. This earned him a contract with Ferrari, among other things, and over time Lauda helped the team achieve new success in the industry.
The successes in the seventies were great. In 1974 Lauda won his first Grand Prix and finished fourth for the entire season, the following year he received the world championship title in Germany. He completed the Nürburgring in under seven minutes and was the first Ferrari driver to win a Formula 1 World Championship since 1964. Another World Cup victory followed in 1977, after which Austria named Lauda Sportsman of the Year.
Niki Lauda received his third and last World Championship victory in 1984. In that 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 laps in the lead during his fourteen active years. Not only was Austria’s Sportsman of the Year award renamed “Niki” after him, there is also a Niki-Lauda-Allee.
– “We had to deal with the fact that we might not be there tomorrow. We lived faster. More intense.”
– “Since I only live off the right foot in my job, I don’t care what I look like.”
– “My whole life has been something of a game.”
– “Life is more important than the world title.”
– “There is no more worthy field of experimentation than Formula 1 to push the extreme limits of what is possible.”
– Niki Lauda could not only drive a car, but also a tractor.
– Before his retirement in 1984, it was planned that Lauda would join Renault after the season.
– In 2013, the racing driver bought ten percent of the shares in Mercedes Benz, after he had already been its supervisory board chairman.
– In Lauda’s accident he was wearing a particularly comfortable helmet, but it was too big and therefore fell off his head. Lauda therefore received compensation from the manufacturer.
|Estimated value:||€180 million|