Formula One fans will have one last chance to say goodbye to the late, great Niki Lauda before he is buried in a Ferrari racing suit from 1974-77. The Austrian hero is to be buried with full state honours and will be laid to rest in the Neustifter Friedhof (Neustift Cemetery) in the Doebling borough, where his mother is buried, this Wednesday.
There will also be a mass that will be attended by Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Lewis Hamilton, Bernie Ecclestone, former Austrian F1 driver Gerhard Berger and Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff. On Wednesday morning, fans will have the chance to pay their respects to Lauda, who will lie in state in a coffin decorated with a laurel wreath put out in the centre of the church.
Lauda’s widow Birgit will put his Ferrari racing helmet on top of the coffin before people will have the chance to walk by the three-time F1 championship winner, who will be dressed in a Ferrari racing suit in which he will also be buried. Niki Lauda won two of his three world titles with Scuderia Ferrari.
Lauda’s children will hold an intercession for their deceased father in the church in Vienna’s old town centre. Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen will also hold a eulogy in the church for the man who was considered to be one of the greatest Austrian sportsmen and public characters who ever lived.
As Lauda’s family want to keep the event relatively private, it will not be broadcast on live TV. Lauda died last week in his sleep in the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, where he underwent dialysis treatment for kidney problems following a prolonged period of ill health.
Following Lauda’s fiery crash during the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring where he suffered severe burns, damaged his lungs and narrowly escaped death, he was frequently hospitalised. He received kidney transplants in 1976 and 2005 (from his brother Florian and second wife Birgit as donors respectively) as well as a lung transplant in Vienna in August last year.