When he was young, nobody expected Niki to ultimately become one of the most successful and famous racing drivers in the world. But Niki proved otherwise. After Niki’s career ended, nobody in the paddock would have expected him to become a successful businessman. Once again Niki proved everyone wrong.
As a child, he seemed destined to follow his father into the paper industry. However, young Niki had set his heart on a completely different career path which he pursued with single-mindedness, as he did with every objective in life. Even at that stage, he did nothing by half measures, honing his negotiating skills and seeking money to finance his rapid rise in the motorsport world.
These skills were to prove useful after his career as a Formula 1 driver came to an end when, away from the race track, he showed his entrepreneurial talent in the no less fiercely competitive world of business. It was here that Niki turned his focus to his second great passion in life, namely aviation.
Success by no means fell into his lap. The keen flyer founded his own airline not once but twice and each time made a success of it through sheer willpower and dedication and with the customary Viennese shrug of the shoulders. In a field in which so many others failed, he made a go of it.
“He was an exceptionally talented racing driver and a real inspiration as a businessman,” recalls Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management at Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG. In the business arena, Niki applied a lesson learnt from racing: What counts is getting to the finish line as quickly as possible. No excuses. That’s the way Niki was.