RACE DEBRIEF

    Tuesday morning brought the sad news that three-time Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda has passed away at the age of 70. Though his titles were won in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Lauda remained a highly influential figure in the F1 paddock, most recently helping steer Mercedes to their huge success. Those who knew, met and admired the Austrian have been paying tribute to one of Grand Prix racing’s greatest talents…

    Toto Wolff, Mercedes Team Principal

    "Niki will always remain one of the greatest legends of our sport - he combined heroism, humanity and honesty inside and outside the cockpit.

    "His passing leaves a void in Formula One. We haven't just lost a hero who staged the most remarkable comeback ever seen, but also a man who brought precious clarity and candour to modern Formula One. He will be greatly missed as our voice of common sense.

    "Our Mercedes team has also lost a guiding light. As a team-mate over the past six and a half years, Niki was always brutally honest - and utterly loyal. It was a privilege to count him among our team and moving to witness just how much it meant to him to be part of the team's success. Whenever he walked the floor in Brackley and Brixworth, or delivered one of his famous motivational speeches, he brought an energy that nobody else could replicate.

    "Niki, you are quite simply irreplaceable, there will never be another like you.

    "It was our honour to call you our Chairman - and my privilege to call you my friend."

    Chase Carey, Chairman and CEO, Formula 1

    “It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Niki Lauda. Formula 1 has lost not only one of the truly great exponents of the sport but also one of its heroes. His love of racing and the courage he demonstrated were simply extraordinary and he inspired so many fans. His passing is a great loss for the entire Formula 1 family and motorsport as a whole. All our thoughts go out to his family.”

    Lewis Hamilton

    Jean Todt, FIA President

    McLaren

    Ferrari

    Nico Rosberg

    Carlos Sainz

    Jenson Button

    Renault

    Racing Point

    Red Bull Racing

    Valtteri Bottas

    Sergio Perez

    Charles Leclerc

    Romain Grosjean

    Max Verstappen

    Pedro de la Rosa

    Johnny Herbert

    Damon Hill

    Fernando Alonso

    Ron Howard

    Felipe Massa

    "Today a big hero left us! Niki you have been an inspiration for all of us! We will miss you and never forget what you did for the sport !! My condolences to Niki's family and friends."

    Nico Hulkenberg

    Billy Monger

    BMW Motorsport

    Alex Wurz

    Porsche Motorsport

    Pierre Gasly

    Mika Hakkinen

    Ross Brawn

    “Niki Lauda was an icon of our sport and a man whose achievements place him firmly in the pantheon of Formula 1 greats.

    “When I look back at his career as a driver, it’s Niki’s singular approach that marks him out – methodical, calculated, analytical and precise. In some ways you might say that he was perhaps not as naturally gifted as Ayrton Senna or Michael Schumacher, but his approach to races – his intelligence and remorseless application – was outstanding. People who worked with him as a driver often told me how good he was at developing a car and in providing exactly the right information to the engineers.

    “And the proof of that rare ability to extract the maximum from the package at hand lies in his outstanding achievements. The numbers speak for themselves: 171 grand prix starts, 24 pole positions, 54 podium places, 25 wins and three Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championships.

    “Of course, you cannot assess the scale of Niki’s achievements without considering the events of 1976. What he accomplished following his accident at the Nürburgring was absolutely astonishing. In those days media coverage of sport was nowhere near as encompassing as it is now, and we had no way of really knowing the trauma he had been through in the weeks following his terrible crash. It was only when I watched the film ‘Rush’ that I think I fully understood just how truly heroic Niki’s return to racing was. Without a doubt it deepened my admiration for him. He was a true hero and his comeback at Monza, just 40 days after his crash is one of the greatest examples of courage and indomitable will in all sport.”

    Gerhard Berger

    “I was very sad to hear about Niki’s passing. Not only have I lost a friend, but Austria has lost its greatest and most widely known sporting star. While the word ‘legend’ is often used advisedly, for Niki it is absolutely appropriate. His achievements as a racing driver and as a businessman, combined with his extraordinary personality, have made him an international legend.

    “My thoughts go out to his family, to his wife Birgit, his children Mia, Max, Lukas, Mathias and Christoph. His next of kin have lovingly taken care of him these past few months, and made many personal sacrifices.

    “In the last 10 years, I developed a very close personal relationship with Niki – whether as a fellow driver, a business partner, or as a friend. He was somebody I could always rely on.

    “His meticulousness and attention to detail, his sense of order and his clever mind are the things that I’ll always remember. Those characteristics, along with his ruthless candour and his straightforward attitude, made him a very special person to me. I mourn the loss of a friend whom I admired and appreciated very much.

    “The idea of not seeing his trademark red cap walking through the paddock anymore changes everything for me.”

    Niki Lauda - His remarkable career story