The 1976 German Grand Prix was held at the Nürburgring on 1 August 1976. It was the scene of reigning world champion Niki Lauda’s near fatal accident, and the last Formula One race to be held on the Nordschleife section of the track
Defending world champion Niki Lauda, who was also the current season’s points leader, was not impressed with safety conditions on the leviathan German circuit, especially since the forecast called for rain. He attempted to arrange a boycott of the race, but the other drivers voted against it by just one vote, and the race went ahead.
Niki Lauda changed his tyres after lap one as the weather changed back to dry and was trying hard to make up for the lost time. Just after the fast left kink before the Bergwerk right hand curve, his Ferrari 312T2 snapped to the right and spun through the fencing into an earth bank. The car bounced back onto the track, enveloped in flames. Guy Edwards managed to avoid the Ferrari, but Harald Ertl and Brett Lunger both hit it. All three drivers stopped and tried to get Lauda out of the flames and they were joined by Merzario, who stopped his Wolf Williams after seeing the wreck. Lauda had suffered serious burns and was rushed by helicopter to the Bundeswehr hospital in Koblenz; from there he was flown to the Trauma Clinic in Ludwigshafen, home to Germany’s most advanced burn ward at the time, where he fought for his life for the next few days.