It happened today – 22 February

It happened today – 22 February

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

65 years ago today, Andrea Nikolaus Lauda, known as Niki, was born in Vienna. Lauda was one of the many bets won by Enzo Ferrari who wrote that he had been impressed by the Austrian, having seen him in the 1973 British Grand Prix, where he was second for a few laps having started fourth at the wheel of a BRM. Ferrari admitted however, that it was actually Clay Regazzoni, about to return to Maranello for the 1974 season, who convinced him to sign up this not very well known driver. “He encouraged me to choose this driver, saying he could do a lot for Ferrari.” And so it turned out, as Niki put an end to a drought in terms of world titles that dated back to 1964, when John Surtees won, bringing home the 1975 and ’77 titles, while having a great 76 season in which he was only beaten by James Hunt, but still did enough for Ferrari to take the Constructors’ championship. At the end of 1977 came the tempestuous divorce from Ferrari, which many years later Niki admitted regretting. “The Commendatore was right and if I’d stayed at Ferrari I’d have won more than Vettel.” In Maranello cars, apart from two world titles, Lauda took 15 wins, a figure only bettered by Schumacher, 23 pole positions and 32 podiums.

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