Told several years ago Niki Lauda In one of his many interviews, he walked around the Nürburgring with the reporter of an American morning show. To the exact spot where he turned his car into a big fireball in 1976. The reporter hoped for tears or other emotions, but Lauda had taken a tip from the hotel buffet and laid it in the grass before. When the reporter asked him what it was like for him to be here, he shelved her. “Just a moment!” She asked: “what are you doing? “And Lauda:”Oh look, here's my ear! “The reporter was completely finished, he told the SZ-Magazin,
It is a mixture of heroic status, charisma, Viennese humor and brisk slogans that made Niki Lauda a worldwide superstar – even beyond the world of Formula One. His opinion was always in demand, the media tore him, for decades.
But first, Lauda had to fight for his racing career. Against the resistance of his well-off industrial family. With borrowed money. And with a fake graduation certificate to calm the strict grandfather. It was worthwhile at Ferrari he became a hero, won 1975 and 1977 two world titles. Almost even more famous, however, was the fire accident at the Nürburgring and his comeback in just six weeks. “I would not be who I am today if I did not stand where I was, if it had not happened,” he said in light of the 40th anniversary of the drama. “And if it had not been filmed by an eight-year-old boy who happened to be there, whose camera was the key, because his shot is always shown in combination with hospital and survival, the same accident without the movie would be worth half, argue I.”
A typical Lauda analysis, tough, almost cynical, rational to the last, completely suppressing feelings, at least externally, also for self-protection: “My whole life has always had positive and negative things in a row, I have never found peace”, this is the maximum concession in retrospect. Time for psychological after-effects? Zero: “As a racer, a serious accident like this is something you have to deal with immediately, and if I had not completed it 42 days later, I would not have been able to get back in the car and drive,” says Lauda. “Other, 'normal' people carry this around with them all their lives, but as a racing driver, you can not either solve the problem and drive back or you stop.”
Panic attack on the first kilometers
He solved it for himself, six weeks later, in Monza, heavily marked by the burns on his face – in his own way. After a panic attack in the first few kilometers on the track, he retreated to the hotel, the cool analyst regained the upper hand : “Then I said to myself: So, stop now with all the pressure On Saturday, I will drive as normal as if there was no race, take no risk, approach me, give nothing to what other people say Trusting in myself that I can control the car And suddenly it went – and I was fourth fastest … ”
The epic duel with James Hunt, later filmed as a successful movie drama with Daniel Bruehl, went so far into the final race in Japan, the rain battle in which Lauda quit after two laps, “because my life is more important to me than a World Cup”, and the Title finally lost by one point. One year later even the departure of Ferrari, then the surprise resignation in September 1979, out of the blue, during the Canada GP weekend, “because there are more important things for me now, than to circle in a car”.