Nikolaus Andreas Lauda (better known as Niki Lauda) was born on 22nd February 1949 to a wealthy industrialist family in the Austrian capital city of Vienna. He won the Formula 1 world championship three times - in 1975, 1977 and 1984 - before going on to establish himself as a successful entrepreneur in various businesses. In September 2012, he was appointed by Mercedes-Benz as Non-Executive Chairman of MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS.
After 171 Grand Prix starts, 25 race wins, 54 podium finishes and three world championship titles, Lauda retired from motor racing in 1985 and switched his attention to his second passion in life, namely aviation. As early as 1979, the enthusiastic flyer had founded his own charter airline, Lauda Air. In the 1990s, Lauda Air obtained a worldwide scheduled flight concession; this resulted in close collaboration with Lufthansa and the ultimate takeover of Lauda Air by the major operator in 2002.
Within twelve months. Lauda had set up yet another carrier, Fly Niki, which was eventually taken over by Air Berlin in 2011. In parallel with his entrepreneurial activities, the Austrian has maintained close contact with the world of motorsport in general and Formula 1 in particular, featuring in a variety of roles. He has long been employed by the German commercial TV station RTL as the resident pundit for their coverage of Formula 1 racing.
Between 1993 and 1995, he acted as adviser to Scuderia Ferrari, where his influence was crucial in acquiring the services of Michael Schumacher who went on to win a string of championships with the team. In the 2001 and 2002 seasons, Lauda was first race director and later team principal at the British Jaguar Racing Formula 1 team. On 28th September 2012, Mercedes-Benz announced Lauda's appointment as Non-Executive Chairman of the Formula 1 works team.