Austrian motor racing driver who won the World Drivers' Championship in 1975, 1977, and 1984.
Lauda started racing Formula V cars in 1969, progressed through Formula Three and sports cars, and by 1971 was driving in Formula Two. In 1974 he joined the Ferrari works team and gained his first Grand Prix victory in Spain. In 1975, five ‘firsts’ helped him to his first World Championship title but the following year he crashed during the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring and sustained severe burns. However, he staged a remarkable recovery and returned to racing the same year only to lose the championship to James Hunt after refusing to drive in treacherous conditions at the Japanese Grand Prix. After winning his second championship in 1977, Lauda quit Ferrari and joined the Brabham team. He retired in 1979 to concentrate on developing his air charter company but in 1982 he was back, driving for the McLaren team. He won the US Grand Prix at Long Beach and achieved fifth place in the championship. Lauda stayed with McLaren for 1983 and 1984 and won the 1984 World Drivers' Championship by the narrowest of margins from his team-mate, Alain Prost. He finally retired in 1985.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).