Motor racing lost one of its most famous drivers last weekend when twice world champion, Niki Lauda, made a sudden decision to retire from Grand Prix racing during the first day's practice for the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal.
Motor racing lost one of its most famous drivers last weekend when twice world champion, Niki Lauda, made a sudden decision to retire from Grand Prix racing during the first day's practice for the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal. The Austrian says he has lost his appetite for the sport and wants to concentrate on business interests funded by his enormous earnings from Formula One racing.
SYNOPSIS: Lauda first won the World Driver's championship in 1975. At Watkins Glen he lead throughout the 59-lap United States Grand Prix.
Next year, he got away to a flying start with maximum points in Brazil and South Africa, and by the end of May he had built up a seemingly unbeatable position at the head of the championship table. His Ferrari was fast and reliable, and he increased his lead with another win in the Monaco Grand Prix -- receiving the victor's laurels from Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.
But then he was almost killed when flames engulfed his car after a crash at Nurburgring in West Germany. Miraculously within six weeks, he was back at the wheel -- fighting to retain his world championship. That was one battle he lost. Britain's James Hunt took the Championship by a single point. But his courage did not go unrewarded and early in 1977 he received the International Award for Valour in Sport in recognition of the heroic come-back. Later that year, he won back his world title.
After leaving Ferrari in 1977, Lauda had two lean years though he did win the non-championship event at Imola this September.
The first day's practice at Montreal saw Lauda in the more reliable Ford-powered Brabham, and things seemed to be looking up for the Austrian ace. But suddenly he decide to quit, Argentine Ricardo Zunino stepped into his Brabham -- and Niki Lauda was left to consider seven years at the top of Grand Prix racing.