Niki Lauda Tribute

Graham looks back on his time in Austria and Belgium with the late Formula One legend Niki Lauda. They discuss everything from his early racing days, to his life-changing crash, to his lasting impact on the powerhouse Mercedes F1 team. Plus, Lauda gives Graham a tour of his hometown, and personally flies the crew to the Belgian Grand Prix aboard his private jet.

Niki Lauda Tribute


Niki Lauda: I have no friends

Niki Lauda offers insight into his past and present personality, including why he says he doesn’t have friends, agreeing with his ex-wife’s assertion and why punctuality is his No. 1 rule. Plus, Lauda shares the story of when he kicked an aggressive CFO out of his car and left him on the highway.

Niki Lauda on failing in school

Niki Lauda shares some of his scholarly struggles as a young student and how he eventually faked his way to passing an important test, in order to shift his focus to pursuing racing.

Niki Lauda: Family sabotaged my racing

Niki Lauda explains how his grandfather tried to force Niki to continue the legacy of working in the family business and even handicapped Niki’s first Formula 1 sponsorship, yet the family backlash just further fueled Niki’s motivation to succeed on his own.

Niki Lauda to Ferrari: Car is s**t

Niki Lauda shares several stories from working with Enzo Ferrari, including their first meeting, Lauda’s harsh criticism after his first test drive and strong contract negotiations with the head of Ferrari F1.

Niki Lauda: I was wrong to leave Ferrari

Niki Lauda reveals details of his negotiations to remain with the Ferrari Formula 1, including negotiating to retain his spot as the No. 1 driver and leaving to race for Bernie Ecclestone – a decision Lauda now says he regrets.

Niki Lauda: Why I’m still alive

Niki Lauda offers incredible details regarding his time in the hospital immediately following the fiery crash at Germany’s Nurburgring in 1976. Lauda cites why his doctors think he survived the trauma, the frustrations of receiving his last rites and the pain of having his lungs vacuumed.

Niki Lauda: I have a reason to look ugly, most people don’t

Niki Lauda shares details of the difficult, initial recovery after his 1976 crash and subsequent skin grafting surgeries. Lauda candidly offers perspective on his burns, why he always wears a hat and his wish to be treated like everyone else.

Niki Lauda: Racing after nearly dying

Niki Lauda shares some of the hurdles he overcame to return to Formula 1 racing just 40 days after his fiery crash at Nurburgring, including the immense pressure from the public and regaining the confidence to get back in his Ferrari.

Niki Lauda: 223 people dying on my plane

Niki Lauda describes the horrific, unforgettable scene as he examined the site of the 1991 Lauda Air crash in Thailand, which took the lives of 213 passengers and 10 crew members. Lauda details his work with Boeing to help find closure for families of the victims and why it took eight months before they could announce the design flaw in the 767 airplane.

Niki Lauda: Declining $6 million from Bernie Ecclestone

Niki Lauda shares his mindset during the time of both his first and his second, final retirements, including why he felt so strongly that he walked away from $2 million and $6 million contracts from Bernie Ecclestone.

Niki Lauda: Blaming Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg?

Mercedes AMG Petronas chairman Niki Lauda offers an inside look at how the Formula 1 team handled Nico Rosberg’s sudden retirement, Rosberg’s 2016 crash with Lewis Hamilton at the Spanish Grand Prix – including who was to blame – and the 2AM hotel room meeting in which Lauda convinced Hamilton to leave McLaren and race for Mercedes.

Niki Lauda: I choose Lewis Hamilton

Niki Lauda gives his thoughts on Lewis Hamilton’s relationship with teammate Valtteri Bottas, and why the bond is much stronger than Hamilton’s previous partner, Nico Rosberg. Lauda also explains why Mercedes may have to rank its drivers, in order to improve the team’s chances of securing another world championship.

Niki Lauda on James Hunt

Niki Lauda shares some of his most memorable moments of befriending, competing against and supporting his former Formula 1 rival, James Hunt, including living with him in a London flat and supporting Hunt through his battle with alcoholism.

Niki Lauda: Alive thanks to wife’s kidney

Niki Lauda explains why he retracted his philosophy to never remarry, shares when his future wife Brigit donated her kidney to him and what life is like today raising twins.

Niki Lauda: My business advice

Niki Lauda says he’s unaffected by wealth, prefers giving money away than offering loans and has seen great success with unpopular, off-trend investment opportunities.

Touring Vienna with Niki Lauda in Mercedes AMG C Coupe

Niki Lauda takes Graham on a drive through Vienna in his Mercedes AMG C Coupe and then to his favorite restaurant to eat wiener schnitzel.

Niki Lauda takes reporter flying on his airplane

Niki Lauda shares stories of overcoming political hurdles including a government-run monopoly to launch his airline business, Lauda Air. Lauda shares why he made a point to personally pilot at least one Lauda Air flight per week, then personally flies Graham and his team from Austria to Belgium.

Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff: We have a fighting culture

Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff offer insight into their working relationship as executives at Mercedes Benz Motorsport, including accounting for Wolff’s tardiness plus quickly addressing and resolving disagreements.

Niki Lauda: “Rush” movie was 80% right

Niki Lauda offers his personal review of the biographical sports action drama film, “Rush,” which tells the story of his rivalry with fellow Formula 1 driver, James Hunt. Lauda says the movie was about 80 percent accurate and that he’s happy with the finished product, but originally didn’t like the rough cut of the feature film.

Niki Lauda: Improving F1 safety could kill sport

Niki Lauda offers his thoughts on the current state of Formula 1 and says it’s relatively easy to win a single championship in the sport, but tough to win multiple F1 titles. Lauda also says the sport is safe enough and that he fears additional safety measures would reduce fan interest.

QB Alex Smith’s question for Niki Lauda

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith asks three-time Formula 1 champ Niki Lauda about the preparation that goes into a race weekend.