Three-time F1 champion Niki Lauda dies aged 70

OPTA

Vienna, May 21: Former Formula One driver and three-time world champion Niki Lauda has died at the age of 70.

F1 legend Lauda - who won world titles in 1975, 1977 and 1984 - died "peacefully" on Monday (May 20), his family confirmed.

Considered to be one of the greatest F1 drivers in history, Lauda won two championships with Ferrari and one during his time at McLaren.

"With deep sadness, we announce that our beloved Niki has peacefully passed away with his family on Monday," his family said in a statement.

"His unique achievements as an athlete and entrepreneur are and will remain unforgettable, his tireless zest for action, his straightforwardness and his courage remain.

"A role model and a benchmark for all of us, he was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather away from the public, and he will be missed."

Lauda survived a near-fatal crash during the 1976 German Grand Prix at Nurburgring, where his Ferrari burst into flames.

The Austrian was left with serve burns to his face, body and lungs, however, he returned to win the title the following year.

Lauda also worked in senior management roles within F1, including as non-executive chairman of Mercedes since 2012 and he played a key role in signing Lewis Hamilton.

"All at McLaren are deeply saddened to learn that our friend, colleague and 1984 Formula 1 World Champion, Niki Lauda, has passed away. Niki will forever be in our hearts and enshrined in our history," McLaren said via Twitter.

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