Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Rolex Coolness: Niki Lauda

Formula 1 Legend

Niki Lauda

Belongs To The Ages


The Miracle Man

Niki Lauda's Formula 1 racing career has seen the highest highs and the lowest lows and today he breathed his last breath and stepped back into eternity. 

His story is an amazing example of great achievement in the eye of diversity. Niki was born Andreas Nikolaus "Niki" Lauda on February 22, 1949 in Vienna, Austria.

Niki Lauda is pictured below in 1973 racing a BMW 3.0CSL during the Spa 24 Hours.

Niki Lauda is pictured below racing in a BMW M1 in 1979 @ Zandvoort.

Niki Lauda's career racing achievement is amazing as he has won the F1 World Championship three times (1975, 1977, & 1984). Niki Lauda raced for the Ferrari team from 1974 to 1977, and later moved to race for McLaren. He remains the only Formula 1 driver to have been a champion with both Ferrari and McLaren.

In 1976, a week prior to the German Grand Prix held at the treacherous Nurburgring Nordschleife track, Niki Lauda attempted to boycott the race due in large part to the lack of safety considerations and most of the other drives voted against Lauda, so the race was held.

In a bizarre twist of fate, Lauda's Ferrari swerved off the track because its rear suspension failed and his car hit an embankment and burst into flames, trapping Lauda in his car.

Before Lauda could be pulled out of his car, he suffered severe burns and inhaled highly toxic fumes which severly damaged his lungs and blood. Lauda went into a coma in the hospital and a priest administered last rites.

In what appeared to be nothing short of a miracle, Niki Lauda made it out of the coma and came back to life and even continued his racing career. In the photo below we see Niki Lauda awarding Arturo Merzario a yellow gold Rolex he won when setting pole position at the 1976 Monaco Grand Prix. Niki wanted to award Arturo the watch as a token of appreciation for saving his life.

Niki Lauda is pictured below with fellow legendary Formula 1 race car driver, Alain Prost who is sporting his two-tone Rolex Datejust.

In this next photo, taken on May 1, 1994 we see Niki Lauda speaking with McLaren Brazilian Formula One champion Ayrton Senna just hours before a tragic racing accident Senna's life. Ayrton Senna is still regarded as being on of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time as he won Formula One Championships on Team McLaren in 1988, 1990 and 1991. During the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix in Imola, Italy he was in an accident that took his life.

Niki Lauda is pictured below checking out a Mercedes SLR Roadster and he is wearing his vintage Big Red Panda Rolex Daytona.

In this next photo we see Niki Lauda sporting his Coke Rolex GMT-Master.

A Pocket-full Of Miracles

In 2008 Niki Lauda was 59 years old and married Birgit Wetzinger (pictured below) after a most unusual 4-year romance. A year after Niki Lauda started dating Birgit, he was diagnosed with kidney failure, and his then girlfriend, Birgit successfully donated one of her kidneys which saved Niki Lauda's life.

Niki Lauda is pictured below with fellow legendary Formula 1 racing legend, Sir Jackie Stewart who is a Rolex brand ambassador.

Niki Lauda's intense rivalry with fellow Formula 1 driver James Hunt was made into a movie by Ron Howard in 2013, and the movie was an international success.

Charlie Rose interviewed Ron Howard and Nicki Lauda when the movie "Rush" came out. The first video below is the full episode where Charlie interviews Ron Howard and Niki, and the second video below is just the interview with Nicki.