Mercedes boss Toto Wolff claims the team have lost “a guiding light” following news that their chairman Niki Lauda has died, aged 70.
The Austrian, who won three Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship titles during his career and almost lost his life at the 1976 German Grand Prix when he suffered serious burns after crashing his Ferrari, had spent the last six years as non-executive chairman of the Silver Arrows.
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Lauda’s arrival coincided with the successful swoop to bring in Lewis Hamilton from McLaren ahead of the 2013 season and the Brackley-based outfit going on to win five consecutive team and individual titles from 2014-18.
And, speaking after news emerged that he had passed away peacefully on Monday, compatriot, Wolff, said in a statement: “Our Mercedes team has also lost a guiding light. “As a team-mate over the past six and a half years, Niki was always brutally honest – and utterly loyal.
It was a privilege to count him among our team and moving to witness just how much it meant to him to be part of the team’s success. “Whenever he walked the floor in Brackley and Brixworth, or delivered one of his famous motivational speeches, he brought an energy that nobody else could replicate.
“Niki, you are quite simple irreplaceable, there will never be another like you. It was our honour to call you our chairman – and my privilege to call you my friend.”
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