It is hard to believe that Andreas Nikolaus Lauda – Niki in racing circles – celebrated his 70th birthday yesterday.
It seems like yesterday this fresh-faced youthful young Austrian first arrived in Grand Prix racing in the Austrian Grand Prix of 1971 driving an STP March. This came about when Niki took the plunge, persuaded his bank manager to loan him the money to do a Formula 2 season with March which led to his offer of a Formula 1 drive in his home grand prix. It did not work out well as the car handled like a pig and he retired. However March offered him the chance to join the official Formula 1 team in 1972 provided he came up with a lot of sponsor money so when his first bank sponsor turned down his request for the money he went to another bank and insured his own life to raise the money for the drive. The rest became history.
Niki Lauda proved to all potential formula 1 drivers that if you have sufficient confidence in yourself to mortgage your life then it is possible to have a successful and championship winning careed. Recently has been hospitalised with lung problems but being the fighter he is the Grand Prix Drivers Club wish him not only good health and happiness on his birthday but look forward to his wise and sensible words of Formula 1 at a time when such words are rare indeed.