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Driver, legend, businessman: Niki Lauda's career

Tuesday May 21 2019
niki_pix

In this file photo taken on May 27, 1976 Austrian Formula One driver and World champion Niki Lauda sits in his Ferrari on Monaco race track during a training session of the 34th Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. Legendary Formula One driver Niki Lauda has died at the age of 70, his family said in a statement released to Austrian media on May 21, 2019. PHOTO | AFP |

By AFP

VIENNA

The life and times of Niki Lauda, who has died at the age of 70:

1949: Andreas Nikolaus Lauda born on February 22 in Vienna, Austria

1968: Without telling his parents, who disapprove of motor racing, Lauda wins his first race in a Mini

1971: Takes out a loan to buy a seat in the new March team in Formula Two

1971: Promoted to March Formula One team. Makes grand prix debut in Austria on August 15

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1973: Takes another loan to buy his way into BRM team

1974: Gets a huge break when former BRM teammate Clay Regazzoni recommends him to Ferrari. Lauda finishes second in Argentina on Ferrari debut

1974: Enjoys his first grand prix victory in Spain on April 28 in his fourth race for Ferrari

1975: Emerges as Formula One's star driver as he becomes world champion for the first time, winning five of 14 grands prix and taking nine pole positions

1976: Suffers horrific burns and lung damage in a fiery crash at the Nuerburgring and is read the last rites in hospital. Miraculously misses only two races and is pipped to the title by James Hunt

1977: Wins his second world championship with Ferrari with consistent podium finishes and victories in South Africa and the Netherlands

1978: Joins the Bernie Ecclestone-owned Brabham team for a reported $1 million salary.

1979: Retires from the sport during practice for the Canadian Grand Prix in September, saying he "no longer wishes to drive round in circles" for the struggling Brabham outfit.

1979: Founds Lauda Air, his first foray into the aviation industry

1982: Returns to racing with McLaren

1984: Becomes world champion for a third time by the smallest of margins - half a point over teammate Alain Prost

1985: Records the last of 25 grand prix wins in the Netherlands and retires for good

1991: Lauda Air Boeing 767 crashes in Thailand on May 26 killing all 223 people aboard

1993: Returns to Formula One as a consultant for Ferrari

2001-02: Appointed team principal for Jaguar

2002: Sells Lauda Air to Austrian Airlines

2004: Creates low-cost carrier Niki, which he sells to Air Berlin in 2011

2012: Appointed non-executive chairman of Mercedes F1 and is instrumental in bringing in Lewis Hamilton to spark a run of five consecutive world championships

2018: Has emergency lung transplant in August

2019: Dies peacefully in his sleep on May 20

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