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RUSH & Lauda

Rush the Movie

RUSH the movie and back­ground about Niki Lau­da:

About “RUSH” the movie:

The 1976 F1 bat­tle between Niki Lau­da and James Hunt was dra­ma­tized in the 2013 film “RUSH”, where Lau­da was por­trayed by Daniel Bruhl. Lau­da him­self made a cameo appearence at the end of the film.



Syn­op­sis:  Set against the sexy, glam­orous gold­en age of For­mu­la 1 rac­ing in the 1970s, the film is based on the true sto­ry of a great sport­ing rival­ry between hand­some Eng­lish play­boy James Hunt (Hemsworth), and his method­i­cal, bril­liant oppo­nent, Aus­tri­an dri­ver Niki Lau­da (Bruhl). The sto­ry fol­lows their dis­tinct­ly dif­fer­ent per­son­al styles on and off the track, their loves and the aston­ish­ing 1976 sea­son in which both dri­vers were will­ing to risk every­thing to become world cham­pi­on in a sport with no mar­gin for error: if you make a mis­take, you die

RUSH -1-

The film:                        “Rush”

Direct­ed by:                  Ron Howard

Star­ring:                       Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde

Rat­ed:                            “R”

Via Rot­ten Toma­toes: “91% of those who have seen the film would rec­om­mend it to their friends. (A sleek, slick, well-oiled machine, Rush is a fine­ly craft­ed sports dra­ma with exhil­a­rat­ing race sequences and strong per­for­mances from Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl.)”


RUSH-3-actors & Howard

Com­ments by BK:” I have seen the film (twice) and its fab­u­lous.  It rep­re­sents Ron Howard at his absolute best.  If it weren’t true, no one would believe it.  As a mat­ter of fact, at an ear­ly test screen­ing of Rush, one par­tic­i­pant called Howard and his fel­low film­mak­ers “idiots”, as he thought the entire premise of the film was unbe­liev­able, and he told Howard, as much.  This guy had no idea it was a real sto­ry.”   See BK’s film review below.



Film Review by Bill Knud­sen:

What a breath of fresh air… A bril­liant film in every respect. I was lucky enough to this movie at a spe­cial pre­view and I can’t tell you how great a film this is… At first you think it’s about rac­ing cars, but it’s not it real­ly does give you an insight into the human con­di­tion…

The rival­ry between Hunt and Laud­er is just played bril­liant­ly… The race sequences are superb, real­ly tak­ing you back to the 70s… The hey­day of this awe­some sport. It shows the end of an era where the gen­tle­men dri­vers begin to give way to pro­fes­sion­al sports­men and the end (in my opin­ion) of the excite­ment of the sport. It shows what a pale reflec­tion today’s F1 is of this once great sport, and what great char­ac­ters we have lost…

READ MORE HERE about Gri­ots Garage and the Fer­rari 312T Fer­rari

READ MORE HERE about the Seat­tle Auto Show and dis­play of Fer­rari 312T Fer­rari

Two inter­est­ing You Tube videos:

Andreas Niko­laus “Niki” Lau­da — Three Time F1 World Cham­pi­on (1974-


Pub­lished on Jul 24, 2011


Niki Lau­da Talks RUSH Movie 2013 Niki Lau­da Inter­view


Pub­lished on Sep 9, 2013


About Niki Lau­da:

lauda for press release


Back­ground:  Andreas Niko­laus “Niki” Lau­da is an Aus­tri­an for­mer For­mu­la One rac­ing dri­ver who was the F1 World Cham­pi­on three times in 1975, 1977 and 1984. More recent­ly an avi­a­tion entre­pre­neur, he has found­ed and run two air­lines (Lau­da Air and Niki). He was also the man­ag­er of the Jaguar For­mu­la One rac­ing team for two years. He is cur­rent­ly work­ing as a pun­dit for Ger­man TV dur­ing Grand Prix week­ends and acts as non-exec­u­tive chair­man of the Mer­cedes AMG Petronas F1 Team.

Lau­da is per­haps best known for being involved in crash at the 1976 Ger­man Grand Prix at the Nür­bur­gring, dur­ing which his Fer­rari burst into flames and he came close to death after inhal­ing hot tox­ic gas­es and suf­fer­ing severe burns. How­ev­er, he recov­ered and returned to race again just six weeks lat­er at the Ital­ian Grand Prix. Scars from the injuries he suf­fered have left him per­ma­nent­ly dis­fig­ured.

Ear­ly years in rac­ing

Niki Lau­da was born on 22 Feb­ru­ary 1949 in Vien­na, Aus­tria, to a wealthy fam­i­ly. His pater­nal grand­fa­ther was the Vien­nese-born busi­ness­man Hans Lau­da.

Lau­da at the Nür­bur­gring in 1973

Lau­da became a rac­ing dri­ver despite his family’s dis­ap­proval. After start­ing out with a Mini, Lau­da moved on into For­mu­la Vee, as was nor­mal in Cen­tral Europe, but rapid­ly moved up to dri­ve in pri­vate Porsche and Chevron sports cars. His career seemed to be going nowhere in par­tic­u­lar until he took out a large bank loan, secured by a life insur­ance pol­i­cy, to buy his way into the fledg­ling March team as a For­mu­la Two (F2) dri­ver in 1971. Because of his family’s dis­ap­proval he had an ongo­ing feud with his fam­i­ly over his rac­ing ambi­tions and aban­doned fur­ther con­tact.[8] He was quick­ly pro­mot­ed to the F1 team, but drove for March in F1 and F2 in 1972. Although the F2 cars were good (and Lauda’s dri­ving skills impressed March prin­ci­pal Robin Herd), March’s 1972 F1 sea­son was cat­a­stroph­ic. Lau­da, in despair and deep debt, briefly con­tem­plat­ed sui­cide but final­ly took out anoth­er bank loan to buy his way into the BRM team in 1973. Lau­da was instant­ly quick, but the team was in decline; his big break came when his BRM team­mate Clay Regaz­zoni left to rejoin Fer­rari in 1974 and team own­er Enzo Fer­rari asked him what he thought of Lau­da. Regaz­zoni spoke so favourably of Lau­da that Fer­rari prompt­ly went and signed him, pay­ing Niki enough to clear his debts.

Fer­rari 1974–1977

Lauda on trackAfter an unsuc­cess­ful start to the 1970s cul­mi­nat­ing in a dis­as­trous start to the 1973 sea­son, Fer­rari regrouped com­plete­ly under Luca di Mon­teze­mo­lo and were resur­gent in 1974. The team’s faith in the lit­tle-known Lau­da was quick­ly reward­ed by a sec­ond-place fin­ish in his début race for the team, the sea­son-open­ing Argen­tine Grand Prix. His first Grand Prix (GP) vic­to­ry – and the first for Fer­rari since 1972 – fol­lowed only three races lat­er in Spain. Although Lau­da became the season’s pace­set­ter, achiev­ing six con­sec­u­tive pole posi­tions, a mix­ture of inex­pe­ri­ence and mechan­i­cal unre­li­a­bil­i­ty meant Lau­da won only one more race that year, the Dutch GP. He fin­ished fourth in the Dri­vers’ Cham­pi­onship and demon­strat­ed immense com­mit­ment to test­ing and improv­ing the car.

The 1975 F1 sea­son start­ed slow­ly for Lau­da, but after noth­ing bet­ter than a fifth-place fin­ish in the first four races he then won four out of the next five races in the new Fer­rari 312T. His first World Cham­pi­onship was con­firmed with a third place fin­ish at the Ital­ian Grand Prix at Mon­za; Lauda’s team­mate Regaz­zoni won the race and Fer­rari clinched their first constructor’s cham­pi­onship in 11 years; Lau­da then picked up a fifth win at the last race of the year, the Unit­ed States GP at Watkins Glen. He also became the first and only dri­ver to lap the Nür­bur­gring Nord­schleife in under 7 min­utes, which was con­sid­ered a huge feat as the Nord­schleife sec­tion of the Nür­bur­gring was 2 miles longer than it is today. Nev­er one to be awed by the trap­pings of suc­cess, Lau­da famous­ly gave away any tro­phies he won to his local garage in exchange for his car to be washed and ser­viced.

Unlike 1975 and despite ten­sions between Lau­da and di Montezemolo’s suc­ces­sor, Daniele Audet­to, Lau­da dom­i­nat­ed the start of the 1976 F1 sea­son, win­ning four of the first six races and fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the oth­er two. By the time of his fifth win of the year at the British GP, he had more than dou­ble the points of his clos­est chal­lengers Jody Scheck­ter and James Hunt, and a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive World Cham­pi­onship appeared a for­mal­i­ty. It would be a feat not achieved since Jack Brab­ham’s vic­to­ries in 1959 and 1960. He also looked set to win the most races in a sea­son, a record held by the late Jim Clark since 1963

Niki Lau­da prac­tic­ing at the Nür­bur­gring dur­ing the 1976 Ger­man Grand Prix

A week before the 1976 Ger­man Grand Prix at the Nür­bur­gring, (even though he was the fastest dri­ver on that cir­cuit at the time) Lau­da urged his fel­low dri­vers to boy­cott the race, large­ly due to the 23 kilo­me­tre circuit’s safe­ty arrange­ments. Most of the oth­er dri­vers vot­ed against the boy­cott and the race went ahead. On 1 August 1976 dur­ing the sec­ond lap at the very fast left kink before Berg­w­erk, Lauda’s Fer­rari swerved off the track, due to a sus­pect­ed rear sus­pen­sion fail­ure, hit an embank­ment and rolled back into the path of Brett Lunger’s Sur­tees-Ford car. Lauda’s Fer­rari burst into flames, but, unlike Lunger, he was trapped in the wreck­age. Dri­vers Arturo Merzario, Lunger, Guy Edwards and Har­ald Ertl arrived at the scene a few moments lat­er, but before they were able to pull Lau­da from his car, he suf­fered severe burns to his head and inhaled hot tox­ic gas­es that dam­aged his lungs and blood. As Lau­da was wear­ing a mod­i­fied hel­met, the foam had com­pressed and it slid off his head after the acci­dent, leav­ing his face exposed to the fire. Although Lau­da was con­scious and able to stand imme­di­ate­ly after the acci­dent, he lat­er lapsed into a coma.[11]

Lau­da suf­fered exten­sive scar­ring from the burns to his head, los­ing most of his right ear as well as the hair on the right side of his head, his eye­brows and his eye­lids. He chose to lim­it recon­struc­tive surgery to replac­ing the eye­lids and get­ting them to work prop­er­ly. Since the acci­dent he has always worn a cap to cov­er the scars on his head. He has arranged for spon­sors to use the cap for adver­tis­ing.

With Lau­da out of the con­test, Fer­rari boy­cotted the Aus­tri­an GP in protest at what they saw as pref­er­en­tial treat­ment shown towards McLaren dri­ver James Hunt at the Span­ish and British GPs. Car­los Reute­mann was even tak­en on as a poten­tial replace­ment.

Lau­da returned to race only six weeks (two races) lat­er, appear­ing at the Mon­za press con­fer­ence with his fresh burns still ban­daged. He fin­ished an hero­ic fourth in the Ital­ian GP, despite being, by his own admis­sion, absolute­ly pet­ri­fied. F1 jour­nal­ist Nigel Roe­buck recalls see­ing Lau­da in the pits, peel­ing the blood-soaked ban­dages off his scarred scalp. He also had to wear a spe­cial­ly adapt­ed AGV crash hel­met so as to not be in too much dis­com­fort. In Lauda’s absence, Hunt had reduced Lauda’s lead in the World Cham­pi­onship stand­ings. Fol­low­ing wins in the Cana­di­an and Unit­ed States GPs, Hunt stood only three points behind Lau­da before the final race of the sea­son, the Japan­ese GP.

Lau­da qual­i­fied third, one place behind Hunt, but on race day there was tor­ren­tial rain and Lau­da retired after two laps, stat­ing that he felt it was unsafe to con­tin­ue under these con­di­tions, espe­cial­ly since his eyes were water­ing exces­sive­ly because of his fire-dam­aged tear ducts and inabil­i­ty to blink. Hunt led much of the race before a late punc­ture dropped him down the order. He recov­ered to 3rd, thus win­ning the title by a sin­gle point.

Lauda’s pre­vi­ous­ly good rela­tion­ship with Fer­rari was severe­ly affect­ed by his deci­sion to with­draw from the race, and he endured a dif­fi­cult 1977 sea­son, despite eas­i­ly win­ning the cham­pi­onship through con­sis­ten­cy rather than out­right pace. Lau­da dis­liked his new team­mate, Car­los Reute­mann, who had already served as his replace­ment dri­ver while he had been out of con­test. Lau­da was not com­fort­able with this move and felt he had been let down by Fer­rari. “We nev­er could stand each oth­er, and instead of tak­ing pres­sure off me, they put on even more by bring­ing Car­los Reute­mann into the team.”   Hav­ing announced his deci­sion to quit Fer­rari at season’s end, Lau­da left ear­ly due to the team’s deci­sion to run the then unknown Gilles Vil­leneuve in a third car at the Cana­di­an Grand Prix.

Brab­ham and first retire­ment 1978–1981

Five years after his first retire­ment, Lau­da won his third title dri­ving a McLaren MP4/2.

Hav­ing joined Brab­ham in 1978 for a $1 mil­lion salary, Lau­da endured two unsuc­cess­ful sea­sons, notable main­ly for his one race in the Brab­ham BT46B, a rad­i­cal design known as the Fan Car: it won its first race, but Brab­ham did not use the car in F1 again, not want­i­ng the car to be banned out­right. At the 1979 Cana­di­an Grand Prix, Lau­da informed Brab­ham own­er Bernie Eccle­stone that he wished to retire imme­di­ate­ly, as he had no more desire to “dri­ve around in cir­cles”. Lau­da, who had found­ed a char­ter air­line, returned to Aus­tria to run the com­pa­ny full-time.

McLaren come­back and sec­ond retire­ment 1982–1985

Need­ing mon­ey to shore up his new busi­ness, in 1982 Lau­da returned to rac­ing, feel­ing that he still had a career in For­mu­la One. After a suc­cess­ful test with McLaren, the only prob­lem was in con­vinc­ing then team spon­sor Marl­boro that he was still capa­ble of win­ning. Lau­da proved he was still quite capa­ble when, in his third race back, he won the Long Beach Grand Prix. Before the race at the Kyala­mi race track in South Africa, Lau­da was the organ­is­er of the so-called ‘dri­vers’ strike’; Lau­da had seen that the new Super-License required the dri­vers to com­mit them­selves to their present teams and realised that this could hin­der a driver’s nego­ti­at­ing posi­tion. The dri­vers, with the excep­tion of Teo Fabi, bar­ri­cad­ed them­selves into a ban­quet­ing suite at Sun­ny­side Park Hotel until they had won the day. Lau­da won a third world cham­pi­onship in 1984 by half a point over team­mate Alain Prost, due to only half points being award­ed for the short­ened 1984 Mona­co Grand Prix. His Aus­tri­an Grand Prix vic­to­ry that year is the most recent and so far only time an Aus­tri­an has won his home Grand Prix. Ini­tial­ly, Lau­da did not want Prost to become his team­mate, as he pre­sent­ed a much faster rival. How­ev­er, dur­ing the two sea­sons togeth­er, they had a good rela­tion­ship. The whole sea­son con­tin­ued to be dom­i­nat­ed by Lau­da and Prost, who won 12 of 16 races. Lau­da won five races, while Prost was able to win sev­en Grands Prix. How­ev­er, Lau­da, who was able to set records for most Pole Posi­tion in a sea­son dur­ing the 1975 sea­son, rarely matched his team­mate in qual­i­fy­ing. His cham­pi­onship win came in Esto­ril, when he had to start in eleventh place on the grid, while Prost qual­i­fied on the front row. How­ev­er, Lau­da was able to come in sec­ond and claimed the title.

1985 was a poor sea­son for Lau­da, with eleven retire­ments from the four­teen races he start­ed, he did not start the Bel­gian Grand Prix at Spa-Fran­cor­champs after crash­ing and break­ing his wrist dur­ing prac­tice, he also lat­er missed the Euro­pean Grand Prix at Brands Hatch; John Wat­son replaced him for that race. He did man­age 4th at the San Mari­no Grand Prix, 5th at the Ger­man Grand Prix, and a sin­gle race win at the Dutch Grand Prix. This proved to be his last Grand Prix vic­to­ry and also the last For­mu­la One Grand Prix held in the Nether­lands. He retired for good at the end of that sea­son.


Lauda’s hel­met was orig­i­nal­ly a plain red with his full name writ­ten on the sides and the Raif­feisen Bank logo in the chin area. He wore a mod­i­fied AGV hel­met in the weeks fol­low­ing his Nür­bur­gring acci­dent so as the lin­ing would not aggra­vate his burned scalp too bad­ly. In 1982, upon his return for McLaren, his hel­met was still red but fea­tured the white “L” logo of Lau­da Air instead of his name on the sides, com­plete with brand­ing from his per­son­al spon­sor Par­malat on the top. For 1983–1985, the red and white were reversed to evoke mem­o­ries of his ear­li­er design.

Life after F1

Lau­da returned to run­ning his air­line, Lau­da Air, on his sec­ond For­mu­la One retire­ment in 1985. Dur­ing his time as air­line man­ag­er, he was appoint­ed con­sul­tant at Fer­rari as part of an effort by Mon­teze­mo­lo to reju­ve­nate the team. After sell­ing his Lau­da Air shares to major­i­ty part­ner Aus­tri­an Air­lines in 1999, he man­aged the Jaguar For­mu­la One rac­ing team from 2001 to 2002. In late 2003, he start­ed a new air­line, Niki. Lau­da holds a com­mer­cial pilot’s license and from time to time acts as a cap­tain on the flights of his air­line. Lau­da Air ceased oper­a­tions in July 2013.

He was induct­ed into the Inter­na­tion­al Motor­sports Hall of Fame in 1993 and since 1996 has pro­vid­ed com­men­tary on Grands Prix for Aus­tri­an and Ger­man tele­vi­sion on RTL. He was, how­ev­er, rapped for call­ing Robert Kubi­ca a “polack” on air in May 2010 at the Mona­co Grand Prix.

Niki Lau­da has writ­ten five books: The Art and Sci­ence of Grand Prix Dri­ving (titled For­mu­la 1: The Art and Tech­ni­cal­i­ties of Grand Prix Dri­ving in some mar­kets) (1975); My Years With Fer­rari (1978); The New For­mu­la One: A Tur­bo Age (1984); Meine Sto­ry (titled To Hell and Back in some mar­kets) (1986); Das dritte Leben (1996). Lau­da cred­its Aus­tri­an jour­nal­ist Her­bert Volk­er with edit­ing the books.

Lau­da is some­times known by the nick­name “the rat”, “Super­Rat” or “King Rat” because of his promi­nent bucked teeth. He has been asso­ci­at­ed with both Par­malat and Viess­mann, spon­sor­ing his ever faith­ful ‘cap­py’ from 1976 onwards, used to hide the severe burns he sus­tained in his 1976 acci­dent. Lau­da admit­ted in a 2009 inter­view with the Ger­man news­pa­per Die Zeit that an adver­tis­er cur­rent­ly pays €1.2m for the space on his famous red cap.[19]

In 2005 the Aus­tri­an post office issued a stamp hon­our­ing him. In 2008, Amer­i­can sports tele­vi­sion net­work ESPN ranked him 22nd on their top dri­vers of all-time.

In Sep­tem­ber 2012 he was appoint­ed non-exec­u­tive chair­man of the Mer­cedes AMG Petronas F1 Team. He took part in the nego­ti­a­tions of sign­ing Lewis Hamil­ton to a three-year deal with AMG Mer­cedes.[23]

Per­son­al life

Lau­da has two sons with his first wife, Mar­lene (whom he divorced in 1991): Math­ias, a rac­ing dri­ver him­self, and Lukas, his broth­er Mathias’s man­ag­er. He also has an extra-mar­i­tal son, Christoph. In 2008 he mar­ried Bir­git, who is 30 years his junior and was for­mer­ly a flight atten­dant for his air­line. She had also donat­ed a kid­ney to Lau­da when the kid­ney he received in a trans­plant from his broth­er years ear­li­er failed. In Sep­tem­ber 2009 Bir­git gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl.

From Wikipedia and oth­er sources.

See info about Lauda’s Fer­rari on dis­play HERE

See info about Seat­tle Auto Show HERE.


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