There was a biography, it’s time for an autobiography.  You didn’t know that Niki Lauda

There was a biography, it’s time for an autobiography. You didn’t know that Niki Lauda

Even people who are completely unfamiliar with Formula 1 have heard of his crash at the Nürburgring in 1976. He was then pulled from the burning wreckage of a Ferrari in such a state of disrepair that a priest administered the sacrament of anointing. After 33 days, he returned to racing in Monza. His wounds were bleeding, and his eyelids were missing. He was very scared. A year later he regained the world title.

Pre-sale of the book has started:

The official biography of the legendary driver called “Hell and back” will be released on the Polish market by Wydawnictwo SQN. Throughout his life, the legendary driver was known for his clever racing technique and ruthless self-love. In his autobiography, he explains where this attitude came from – he talks about his strict upbringing and disapproval from his parents, which, according to Lauda, ​​contributed to his “addiction to perfection”.

In Hell and Back, he describes how he struggled with fear and made references that seemed beyond the limits of human endurance. Adding to this is the rivalry between Lauda and Hunt, depicted years later in the 2013 Hollywood film The Race. There will never be anyone like him again.

The book was updated after the death of the famous driver in 2019.


Good parenting has its benefits, although sometimes I question that fact when I think about how many times I have been squeezed in this family. In Austria, the name Lauda is called a good name, or at least it used to be. Today, the big businessmen of this family are a dying breed.

The most famous person in the family was my grandfather, Old Lauda. Even now dead, the nickname “The Old Man” distinguishes him from all others with that name (who, I suspect, would also like to live to a ripe old age like him). I loved his physical presence, his mansion with living servants, his large property in Lower Austria, and his palace in St. Moritz.

Old Lauda reserved his original and outspoken insults for sarcasm about socialism and all that socialism stood for. One evening – I was 12 or so at the time – I saw him on TV. He was sitting in the front row at a ceremony, and I watched as (at that time) Austria’s most important socialist put a medal around his neck. I immediately wrote a letter to my grandfather, in which I said that I did not understand how it was possible for someone to lash out and threaten members of the community all their lives, and then calmly accept the award from their greatest enemies. He didn’t answer.

A few months later, during his annual visit to our home, I met him in person. I was very happy to see him as he always left his Jaguar in the driveway and let me park. During that time, many guests let me take care of their cars – they didn’t have to park them themselves, and they knew I could handle it.

Don’t worry. After about half an hour of conversation, Mzee Lauda took out my letter from his jacket pocket and started scolding me. What was I thinking? How dare I? Take it, defend it. Waving an accusing finger at my parents, he read the whole thing aloud. Every sentence that followed was supposed to be proof of my intolerable perversity. My mother was angry with me, my father took it more calmly.

As for me, that’s when I decided to opt out of the whole “we Laud are special” ensemble – or at least that’s how I understood it at the time. When I was old enough to stand on my own two feet, I decided to take my revenge on Old Lauda. I purposely and deliberately missed his Christmas lunch at the Imperial, the most luxurious Viennese hotel where family attendance was mandatory. In those years, Young Lauda could not think of a greater expression of rebellion.

My family roots and education largely define who I am today. I was brought up in a very cold environment, in a reality where certain truths should be clear. Let’s take horsemen for example. Everything about this job disgusted me, but I had to learn to drive. Even the sound of horseshoes coming from their stall annoyed me, and the stench of the barn made me nauseous at first.

In my entire family, not one person was flexible enough to suggest that a ten-year-old could be excused from driving lessons and then try to encourage him to take up the activity later. There was no agreement, no way out. Today, of course, I believe that my parents were right. Against all odds, I overcame my fear and learned to sit impeccably in the saddle. Recently it happens that I feel like that, and then I ride my brother-in-law’s horse in Ibiza. For some reason, I also get along well with baby horses.

That strict and strict upbringing probably explains my attachment to excellence, the need to do things better than others. Undoubtedly, this upbringing helped me because it made me very confident.

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