Niki Lauda was an Austrian Formula One driver and a three-time F1 World Drivers' Champion, winning in 1975, 1977 and 1984. He was the only driver in F1 history to have been champion for both Ferrari and McLaren, the sport's two most successful constructors.
Niki Lauda shaped the history of Formula 1 and was a pioneer for safety in the sport. His incredible recovery from the injuries he sustained at the Nürburgring in 1976, which had him literally read the last rites, have made him legendary. He is most recognizable by his famous red hat, or 'Kapperl', as he liked to call it, which covered the burn scars from his accident.
Niki Lauda had a presence in motorsport ever since he was 19 years old, starting way back when he competed (against his family's wishes) in hill climb races in Austria. Ultimately, he dedicated over 40 years of his life to Formula 1. Niki helped manage teams like Ferrari and Mercedes, and he played a key role in the careers of legends like Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.
He also had successful careers as a businessman and aviation entrepreneur. The last years of his life were spent as Non-Executive Chairman of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, where he fostered the career of Lewis Hamilton. During his lifetime, Niki helped bring Mercedes to 7 consecutive world championship victories, more than any other F1 team in history.
It is arguable that no other driver has had such a lasting and significant impact on the sport of Formula 1. Niki Lauda's words of wisdom, sharp wit, passionate dedication, and bluntness to a fault will always be remembered as part of F1 history. He has left a mark on the sport that will never be forgotten.