The Lauda Effect

On 31 July 1977, two unusual events occurred.

Firstly, Niki Lauda won the Grand Prix and Hans Heyer was disqualified.

The 1977 German Grand Prix in Hockenheim was a spectacular race, with Niki driving his Ferrari 312T2B; he was second on the starting grid behind the South African Jody Scheckter driving a Wolf-Ford.

Niki soon passed Jody at the first corner and went on to win the race 14 seconds ahead of Jody.

That in itself is incredible, but what is even more impressive; on the 28 July 1976 German Grand Prix, Niki Lauda sustained the most horrific burns and smoke inhalation injuries.

At 27, Niki Lauda was given the final rites in a hospital after the horrific crash, which left the reigning Formula One world champion in a coma.

The conditions of the 1976 Grand Prix were treacherous; Niki tried to pressure the organisers to abandon the race, but his reasoning fell on deaf ears, and on the second lap, the fateful disaster struck.

He would not have survived if not for the heroic action of racing drivers Arturo Merzario, Guy Edwards, Brett Lunger, and Harald Ertl, who risked their own lives to stop and pull Niki out of the wreckage.

As to Mr Heyer, somehow, privateer Penske driving Hans Heyer managed to get himself and his Penske onto the grid and started the race along with the other drivers.

His gearbox failed, and he ‘raced no more.’

His claim to fame; he is the only person in the history of the Grand Prix not to qualify, not to finish and be disqualified.

Whilst his audacity is to be admired, the importance pales into insignificance compared with Niki.
As to Niki, after only 40 days following his horrendous action and the pain he experienced just fitting his helmet on his badly damaged head and face is a testament to his courage and resilience.
His moral strength and determination under not to give up even under extreme circumstances havstill inspires innumerable people worldwide to this day.