May 21, 2019 / 4:08 AM / a month ago

Factbox: Former Formula One champion Niki Lauda

(Reuters) - Factbox on former Austrian racing driver and three-times Formula One champion Niki Lauda, who died on May 20 at the age of 70.

EARLY LIFE

* Born in Vienna on Feb. 22, 1949

* Got into motor racing against his family’s wishes.

* Started his career as a Formula Two driver in 1971 with March Engineering.

FORMULA ONE CAREER

* Raced with March (1971-1972) and the British Racing Motors team (1973) where he impressed Ferrari despite having an unreliable car.

* Signed by Ferrari in 1974 and finished fourth in the World Drivers’ Championship in his debut season with the Italian team where he won his first race at the Spanish Grand Prix.

* Won two championships with Ferrari over the next three years (1975 and 1977).

* Had a near-fatal crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix after a failed race boycott over safety measures at the track. He suffered severe burns to his face and damaged his lungs while he was trapped in his car that had burst into flames.

* Made a remarkable comeback after missing two races but lost out on the 1976 title by one point — to arch rival James Hunt of McLaren — after retiring in the final race in Japan due to dangerous conditions.

* Raced with Brabham, owned by former Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, from 1978 to 1979 before retiring after two unsuccessful seasons.

* Made his Formula One comeback in 1982 with McLaren.

* Won his third title and his first with McLaren in 1984, beating team mate Alain Prost by 0.5 points — even though Prost won more races.

* The 1985 season was his last as a Formula One racing driver, retiring with 25 Grand Prix wins.

* Inducted into International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993.

MANAGEMENT ROLES AND BUSINESS INTERESTS

* Founded Austrian airline Lauda Air in 1979.

* Had a consulting role with Ferrari in 1993.

* Jaguar’s team principal between 2001 and 2002.

* Founded Niki, an Austrian low-cost airline, in 2003. He held a commercial pilot’s licence and occasionally took command of their Airbus jets.

* Named Mercedes’ non-executive chairman prior to the 2013 season and was involved in negotiations to sign Lewis Hamilton, who would go on to win four championships with the team.

FILE PHOTO: Niki Lauda addresses a news conference presenting his new airline Laudamotion in Vienna, Austria March 16, 2018. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader/File Photo

* Took over another Austrian chartered airline in 2016 and renamed it Laudamotion.

* Board member of Mercedes AMG Powertrains.

* Special adviser to the Board of Daimler AG.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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