Like many before him like Walt Disney, Ray Croc, and JC Penny, Niki Lauda knew about self-banking or Becoming Your Own Banker.
Niki Lauda is the Austrian former Formula One driver who was three times F1 World Champion, winning in 1975, 1977 and 1984. He is currently the only driver to have been champion for both Ferrari and McLaren, the sport’s two most successful constructors.
His famous Formula One rivalry with James Hunt was featured in the movie Rush.
Niki Lauda was born in Vienna, Austria, to a wealthy family. His paternal grandfather was the Viennese-born businessman Hans Lauda.
Lauda became a racing driver despite his family’s disapproval. With his career stalled partly due to lack of family support, he decided to become his own banker by taking a £30,000 GBP bank loan, secured by a life insurance policy, to self-finance his way into a team as a Formula Two (F2) driver in 1971. Because of his family’s disapproval he had an ongoing feud with his family over his racing ambitions and abandoned further contact.
Lauda took out another bank loan to buy his way into the BRM team in 1973. Lauda’s big break came when his BRM teammate Clay Regazzoni left to rejoin Ferrari in 1974 and team owner Enzo Ferrari asked him what he thought of Lauda. Regazzoni spoke so favourably of Lauda that Ferrari promptly signed him, paying Niki enough to clear his debts.
More recently an aviation entrepreneur, he has founded and run two airlines (Lauda Air and Niki). He is currently working as a pundit for German TV during Grand Prix weekends and acts as non-executive chairman of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team.
Lauda was seriously injured in a crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, during which his Ferrari burst into flames and he came close to death after inhaling hot toxic fumes and suffering severe burns. However he recovered and returned to race again just six weeks later at the Italian Grand Prix. Scars from the injuries he suffered have left him permanently disfigured. All of this is chronicled in the movie Rush..