90 years of the Monaco GP and a tribute to the late Niki Lauda
Our latest videos in celebration of the 90th anniversary of the historic race around the streets of Monte Carlo and La Condamine are now available on our YouTube channel!
2019's Monaco Grand Prix has been a particularly sombre affair due to the sad passing of 3 time Formula 1 World Champion Niki Lauda. The entire motorsport community remains in shock in the wake of his passing, but Niki will always be remembered as an honest, no-nonsense racer who was truly the life and soul of the sport.
After buying his way into the sport with the March and BRM teams, he earned his seat at Ferrari through sheer talent ahead of claiming his first World Drivers' Championship win with the Scuderia in 1975. Further success followed in 1976 with a comfortable win looking certain before a tragic accident at the Nurburgring left him in critical condition with severe burns. What followed is rightfully considered to be the greatest sporting comeback of all time when, a mere six weeks after being given the last rites, he returned to claim a fourth place finish at Monza. Niki remained in title contention at the season finale at Fuji where in a stunning turn of events he retired the car protesting the appalling conditions that the drivers were being forced to race in. Niki's rival and close friend James Hunt won the championship by a single point, but the moral victory was certainly Niki's, with James lamenting that they couldn't share the championship. Niki would return in 1977 to take his second Championship with Ferrari, but after a falling out with the team would move to Brabham for 1978 and 1979. Despite some success including a victory in the legendary Brabham BT46B fan car he would retire at the 1979 Canadian Grand Prix to focus on his airline business.
But Niki's Formula 1 story wasn't over. He would return to the sport with McLaren in 1982, becoming instrumental in the development of the early carbon fibre chassis cars introduced in the early days of Ron Dennis's tenure. Niki would win his final World Drivers' Championship with Marlboro McLaren in 1984, beating teammate Alain Prost, when McLaren switched from the MP4/1's Cosworth DFY V8 to the V6 TAG-Porsche turbo engine for the MP4/2. Retiring from his driving career in 1985, Niki would move into management, firstly as a consultant for Ferrari in 1993, later as team principal for the Jaguar team in 2001. In 2012 he was appointed as a non-executive chairman of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team, a position he held until his death.
Our thoughts are with Niki's family and friends at this very difficult time. Rest in peace champ.