Niki Lauda stepped out of the stage of Formula 1 on May 20th and was buried last week in his hometown, Vienna. The non-executive chairman of Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport’s last interview shows a fearless man.
Niki Lauda never got to see his last interview edited. It was filmed and scheduled to be shown later on. The short video shows a 70-year old Niki still being enthusiastic about his job in Formula 1 and convinced that the near-fatal accident that he suffered in 1976 only made him stronger.
“As soon as you recover, you have to force yourself to do the same thing again. Go into the car and drive it. It is the only way you can stop this ongoing fear. I think I was born without fear, because otherwise, I could have never taken up Formula 1 when in those days, every year took a kid”, Lauda tells.
At the Nurburging, his car had caught fire and he was pulled out of the car by fellow drivers, but the toxic gases seriously affected his internal organs. With two kidney transplants in the 90s, Niki had to undergo a lung transplant in August 2018. He never completely recovered and never returned next to Toto Wolff to watch Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas racing. Wolff revealed that he continued to text him and constantly asked for advice. He always got a reply until May 20th.
“Doesn’t matter how old you are. To enjoy your job or the challenge you put on to yourself. Then you’re happy. It’s not a question of age, it’s a question of staying a child”, says the 3-time World Champion.
Lauda was the one that blew limitless optimism in the mechanics, engineers and drivers that got the Constructors’ Championship Title every year, since his arrival on the team.
“You only learn out of losing. I’ve lost a lot of races, some from my own fault, in some the engine blew up”, he told them.
Mercedes-Benz posted the interview and an emotional message: “Thank-you, Niki, for inspiring us to never give up. For being a friend, a mentor and a hero. For showing us how to win even when we lose.”