The Red Bull Ring announced the renaming of its Turn 1 in the honour of the three-time F1 champion, the late Niki Lauda, during the Austrian GP.
Lauda’s friend and rival Dr. Helmut Marko unveiled the renamed Turn 1 at Red Bull Ring, with the circuit changing it to ‘Niki Lauda Kurve’ in a fine gesture for the fallen legend, who died on May 21, 2019 after losing his battle with a lung transplant.
The Austrian’s wife Birgit Lauda and elder son Lukas Lauda were also present for the tribute event as Marko said he had promised Lauda about a corner after him. “There was already a bend named after Niki Lauda,” said the Red Bull motorsport consultant, Marko.
“In the course of redesigning the Red Bull Ring, it somehow got lost and that bothered Niki. I told him, ‘You’ll get a turn again’. Now, I believe, it’s the right moment to dignify the myth, personality and, above all, the merits of the motorsport Niki Lauda has done.
“We took the Turn 1. Here is the most action, it’s the wildest. So all that Niki lived and appreciated. I think he would have been very, very happy.” Lauda’s son Lukas also presented the Pole Position Pirelli tyre to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on Saturday.
“I’m proud of that and of course I am very happy and thanks to Red Bull, Helmut and everyone else,” he said. “My father would be proud of this. I think it was the Turn 5 or 6 before and he would have loved that to remain but I am also very happy to be here.”
And finally, Birgit added: “It means a lot to us, of course to the family, because it would have meant so much to Niki, even though he was always someone who refused and gave away honors and trophies.
“With a curve, there was the story that he had one before and then it was almost taken away from him. At that time he was quite disappointed and sad, and so I know it would have been a special honor for him to get his turn back in the context of this ceremony.”
The circuit organisers had also put up 60,000 Lauda’s red caps on the seats of the fans ahead of the F1 Austrian GP with flags in another tribute.