Marko: Close companion Niki Lauda made his death even more painful

22-05-2019 11:30
by Bobby Vincent
F1 News
Marko: Close companion Niki Lauda made his death even more painful

Helmut Marko reveals the death of his "constant companion", Niki Lauda, was made "all the more painful" due to their friendly relationship.

Lauda passed away on Monday night (aged 70), after battling kidney problems for almost a year. The Austrian was Mercedes' non-executive chairman and he had a very close friendship with Red Bull motorsport advisor, Marko.

Marko revealed he first met Lauda "around 1968" and they both have stayed friends ever since, with both following each other's careers even when they moved into non-driving roles later in his career.

"I knew he was not in a good condition, but still, when the news comes, it's a blow," Marko said to Austrian TV channel oe24.TV in a telephone interview. "Throughout my racing career, Niki was my constant companion. Both on the driving side and in management.

"There have been so many experiences, so many shared actions and shared funny events. And then this. That's just hard. There is no one in the whole Formula 1 scene who can even get close to him in terms of personality, humour and straightforwardness."

Marko added: "He first took over the BRM cockpit and then the Ferrari seat. We drove to Modena together, he asked me to accompany him to negotiate his first contract with Enzo.

"I thought to myself: 'Niki will inherit all this, is that fair?' But on closer analysis, I was out anyway, and then I much prefer it is an Austrian who gets into all this than anyone else.

"There is no trace of bitterness or envy. Perhaps at the beginning, but from the logic, I realised 'I can't change it anyway, and then it's better, it's Niki'. From then on we were always in contact in some way."

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