Niki Lauda interview: 'I wish James Hunt could have seen Rush'
See footage of the real Niki Lauda crash and meet the real James Hunt. "When I came to the hospital. . Director Ron Howard intended to recruit his friend Russell Crowe to portray Richard Burton in the movie for a scene that was never shot. Sep 19, Read 'Rush Vs. Real Life: Where Fact Meets Fiction'. 1 James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda's (Daniel Brühl) on-track rivalry was bitter him with Carlos Reutemann even as he was being helicoptered to hospital. Jun 19, Niki Lauda, the subject of the Formula One film Rush, talks to John Hiscock about his great rival James Hunt and explains why he agreed to the.
I am not sure if I can look Niki Lauda in the eye.
Rush Vs. Real Life: Where Fact Meets Fiction
In those days the sport was so dangerous that at the beginning of each race there was a good chance not every driver would make it to the end. The film chronicles the impassioned rivalry between Lauda and the British driver James Hunt as they battle it out for the championship.
He was dragged out. There followed gruelling operations to remove smoke and debris from his lungs and his face was irreparably burnt; he lost half an ear.
But he refused to give up. Showing spectacular strength and verve, he appeared just a couple of months later at a race meeting in Monza with, for want of a better description, a new face.
He enters the room looking relaxed, in jeans and a checked shirt. His eyes, like pale blue Swarovski crystals, burn and sparkle. He sees me looking at him, examining him, and gives a slow, knowing smile. Niki Lauda inthe year Rush was released Credit: He is now 64, and the scars have almost faded. In fact, he enjoys it. This is a man who has not only learnt to live with his disfigurement but has enjoyed living despite it.
I thought they were impolite not to hide their negative emotions about my look. When I saw the movie it let me see the story from the other side, from the point of view of other people looking at me.
It helped me understand why people were shocked. As I get older the scars get lost in the lines, and, well," he shrugs, "you just get used to it. Born to a wealthy Austrian family in Vienna, his parents had expected him to follow into a comfortable life. He wanted none of it. See this little thing here," he gestures to the side of his face, "this was done by Ivo Pitanguy in Brazil. He was the most famous plastic surgeon in the world at the time.
He wanted to do everything. What do you think of the stupid women who get work done all the time?
Ask me in 10 years. At least I can say I had an accident. You have to have enough personality to overcome this beauty bull and find the strength to love yourself the way you are. His eyes seem to glint even bluer when I tell him this. I think I was much less charismatic before.
His personality was the opposite of the flamboyant catnip to all women, James Hunt. A marketing guy thought of it because of my teeth. Jaap Buitendijk His psychological battle to overcome his brush with death and the subsequent injuries was one that he treated with his usual sportsmanship. Was he ever afraid? Lauda retired from Formula One three years later but made a comeback in with McLaren, hanging up his helmet for the final time in It did well for a while.
But then, as he explains, "Another terrible thing was the airplane that crashed, the Boeing You can always learn to overcome difficulties. He wanted to test that stability? Formula One is simply about controlling these cars and testing your limits. This is why people race, to feel the speed, the car and the control. If in my time you pushed too far, you would have killed yourself. You had to balance on that thin line to stay alive. Was there never a moment where he felt simply grateful to be alive and not need to get back in the car?
But I always thought, yes, I do. I wanted to see if I could make a comeback. I was not surprised to have an accident. All these years I saw people getting killed right in front of me. Did having children change his desire to race, to take those risks? As I get older the scars get lost in the lines, and, well," he shrugs, "you just get used to it.
Lauda's doctors had given up hope. It never held another Formula One race. In the end, he lost by one vote and was left with little choice but to race. Niki Lauda does not have any memory of the crash and the moments directly before it, so there is only speculation as to what exactly caused the fiery crash.
It had been raining prior to the race but then it stopped, leaving only parts of the track wet. After the first lap, most of the drivers, including Niki Lauda, pitted to change back to slicks dry tires which enabled them to go faster. Though it is suspected that there might have been a rear suspension failure, which is depicted in the Rush movie, footage of the crash shows Lauda's car fishtailing as he loses control and veers into the wall, which could have also been the result of a damp spot on the track where he entered the bend.
Was there ever a moment after the accident that Lauda considered retiring? They questioned me, did I want to continue? But I always thought, yes, I do. I wanted to see if I could make a comeback. I was not surprised to have an accident.
All these years I saw people getting killed right in front of me. Niki Lauda with wife Marlene and their son shortly after the near fatal crash in It's up to him. I can't stop him racing. How long did it take for Niki Lauda to start racing again after his crash? Niki Lauda returned to Formula One racing just six weeks after his near fatal August 1, crash, missing only two races.Niki Lauda after crash
In his first race back, he finished fourth in the Italian Grand Prix on September 12, His rival James Hunt retired from the race after spinning out. Hunt was trying to catch up after he had been forced to start in the rear when officials discovered that the fuel in his car had a higher octane level than allowed.
Was the movie reenactment of Niki Lauda's crash filmed where it actually happened? Had James Hunt and Niki Lauda been friends prior to the accident? In the Rush movie, Lauda and Hunt are portrayed as extreme rivals who eventually become friends out of mutual respect for each other. In real life, James Hunt and Niki Lauda had been friends prior to the accident.
We always crossed each other's lines. He was a very competitive guy and he was very quick. In many ways we were the same. I had a lot of respect for him on the circuit. He was a very solid driver.
It would have been the best. Prior to the wedding, James Hunt had told friends that he didn't want to marry Suzy Miller. He was drunk through the entire ceremony. In real life, British movie star Richard Burton divorced Elizabeth Taylor for the second time on August 1,the day of Niki Lauda's near fatal crash.
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In real life, Hunt told friends that his engagement to Suzy Miller was a mistake from the beginning and that he didn't know what he was doing, but he felt that it was too late to get out of it.
Unable to stay out of the arms of other women himself, he saw his wife's affair with Burton as a blessing and a way out of the marriage. He talked amicably with Burton on the phone and the two men discussed the 'transfer' of Suzy.
Yes, but it wasn't just because he felt that the rain-soaked track was unsafe. To complicate things, Lauda's tear ducts had been damaged by fire during the horrific crash at the German Grand Prix earlier in the season. His healing injuries left him unable to blink and his eyes were watering excessively during the race. This complication from his injury, combined with the rain, caused him to retire himself from the Japanese Grand Prix after two laps, as he felt is was unsafe to continue.
Lauda's decision to withdraw from the race hurt his previously amicable relationship with Ferrari. It should be noted that James Hunt also argued that the race should not take place due to the pouring rain and unsafe conditions.
Niki Lauda on Rush, James Hunt and the crash that changed his life
McLaren was irritated with James's position, telling him that if he doesn't race then they won't get the world championship.
Despite the rain continuing to fall, the race organizers decided to start the race after a delay of nearly two hours. They chose to do so because they did not want to lose money from the television contracts if the race was cancelled. There was so much rain that nobody could drive. For two hours nothing is happening and then the race director came Why the hell do you want the same result? This for me at the time was completely stupid.
Rush: a thrilling but untrusty ride | Film | The Guardian
I think four other guys with me did not race because of the stupid decision. James did and won the championship, no problem. And then a couple of races later you have to face this more difficult situation with the water and rain and risk going up, and at that time I was not prepared to take this extra risk because of the accident. We took care of each other from the heart in a very nice way, which in these days the heart was never shown in Formula One. I also felt that Niki deserved to win the championship, and I just wish we could have shared it.
Prior to Niki Lauda's crash, he had more than double Hunt's points. Having to miss two races after being severely burned and nearly dying, Lauda still finished the season only one point behind Hunt. Lauda also took himself out of the final race of the season, fearing his safety on the rain-soaked track in Japan.
Though James Hunt may have had the glamour and attracted more of a rock star type of following, it is hard to dispute that Lauda was the better driver. Hunts only championship season was The two races he missed while injured allowed Hunt to catch up in points. How did James Hunt die? During our research into the Rush true story, we learned that James Hunt died of a heart attack in at the age of 45, at his home in Wimbledon, London, England.
He passed away only hours after proposing via telephone to his girlfriend Helen Dyson, who was 18 years his junior. Hunt met Dyson in at a restaurant where she was working as a waitress. The relationship was just one factor that had brought happiness to Hunt's life, in addition to his two sons and cleaner living. James Hunt had retired from racing in the middle of the season. He spent years working for the BBC as an often brutally honest Formula One commentator, especially when it came to the drivers he didn't like.
He married his second wife, Sarah Lomax, in and they had two sons before splitting in By that time, he had lost a significant portion of his money in bad business deals. What did Niki Lauda do after retiring from racing? Following his first retirement inNiki Lauda focused on running a charter airline that he had established in April of that year called Lauda Air, which flew from Austria to holiday destinations in Europe and North Africa.
In order to secure money for the business, he came out of retirement in After winning his third world championship inLauda retired for good at the end of the season, which found him having to take himself out of eleven of the fourteen races he started.
Ina Lauda Air Boeing crashed in Thailand, killing all people on board.