F1 champion and former Jaguar boss Niki Lauda passes away

Three-time Formula 1 world champion and former Jaguar team boss Niki Lauda has died, aged 70.

Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 9:37 am
Niki Lauda

Lauda, who underwent a lung transplant in August, "passed away peacefully" on Monday, his family said.

The Austrian was one of the pioneers of the 1970s, claiming titles in 1975 and 1977 with Ferrari, though will be likely remembered for his fiery crash at the Nurburgring in 1976, which left him on the brink of death. He returned to racing 40 days later to battled with James Hunt for the championship - a battle immortalised on the big screen in movie Rush.

After his F1 career, which saw him retire from the sport, start an airline, he returned to F1 in 1982 and won the championship with McLaren in 1984 by just half a point from Alain Prost.

His involvement in F1 continued, most recently as a non-executive chairman of Mercedes. After being an adviser for Ferrari in the late 1990s, he took over the reins in Tilbrook at the struggling Jaguar team - who would be sold to Red Bull at the end of 2004 - in 2001. Results though failed to improve and despite a brief resurgence at the end of 2002, Lauda was made redundant by Ford, who were growing concerned by the spiralling cost of F1.

Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner posted a picture of him with his arm around Lauda on Instagram, writing: "Rest in peace to an F1 legend that I was lucky enough to call a friend. A very say day for the entire motorsport community. All at Red Bull Racing share their thoughts with Niki's family and friends at this time."

"I learnt so much from this great man," wrote former Jaguar driver Pedro De la Rosa. "Not only about racing, He taught me about life. One of the persons I have fought hardest with but most loved and respected. Thanks Niki. Always a legend. Big kiss to all his great family. RIP Niki."

De la Rosa's team-mate Mark Webber added: "I'll miss you mate."

Lauda was Jaguar principal in the early 2000s
The three-time champion tested the Jaguar in 2002