On This Day In Formula 1: Niki Lauda's Horrific Crash in 1976

01-08-2019 10:38 | Updated: 01-08-2019 12:14
by Bevan Youl
General
On This Day In Formula 1: Niki Lauda's Horrific Crash in 1976

Earlier this year in May Formula 1 lost one of the sport’s most iconic names in Niki Lauda. Today, August 1, marks 43 years since his horrific crash at the Nurburgring during the 1976 German Grand Prix.

The 1976 German GP was hosted on the Nordschleife section of the Nurburgring, a 14.19 mile circuit of which drivers had to do 14 laps of, a total of 198.65 miles.
 
The Previous year in 1975 Lauda became the first driver to break the seven-minute mark at the track as he claimed pole position before going on to finish third.
 
The 1976 season saw the battles between Lauda for Ferrari and James Hunt for McLaren throughout, but safety concerns and a forecast of rain prompted the Austrian to attempt a boycott of the race.
 
The drivers all voted, and it went against Lauda’s request by one vote, so the race went ahead.
 
The rain came down on Saturday meaning the grid had been determined by Friday qualifying, with Hunt on pole, Lauda in second and Patrick Depailler in third in the memorable six-wheeled Tyrell P34.
 
More rain came before the start of the race leading the majority of drivers to start on wet tyres.
 
Hunt and Lauda fell back at the start of the race and towards the end of the first lap the weather dried out.
 
The Austrian pitted after the first lap to change tyres and was pushing hard to make up for the time that he lost.
 
Lauda’s Ferrari snapped to the right side after the fast-left kink before the Bergwerk right-hand curve into fencing and an earth bank before bouncing back onto track engulfed in flames.
 
Sat in the middle of the track, Guy Edwards managed to avoid the car but Harald Ertl and Brett Lunger both hit Lauda.
 
The three drivers stopped to help try and get Lauda out of the car, eventually managing to do so.
 
Lauda suffered serious burns and was rushed to hospital where he fought for his life the next few days.
 
The race later restarted, and Hunt took the win, which marked the last race at the Nordschleife part of the Nurburgring.
 
Miraculously just six weeks later Lauda had recovered and was back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and finished fourth.

Take a look at footage of his crash below.

Read more about: Niki Lauda Formula 1

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