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Lauda's 1976 German GP helmet to be auctioned at F1 Miami GP

The helmet Niki Lauda wore during his fiery Formula 1 crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix is to be auctioned for the first time at next month's Miami GP.

Niki Lauda, Ferrari, puts on his helmet before the start

Photo by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch

Three-time F1 world champion Lauda survived the crash at the Nurburgring, even though his crash helmet was torn from his head during the brutal head-on impact with the barrier, before his stricken Ferrari 312T2 was then rammed by Brett Lunger’s Surtees.

Four of his fellow drivers assisted in pulling Lauda from his burning car, which crashed on the second lap at the Bergwerk section of the track.

Before the race, Lauda had attempted to arrange a driver boycott of the event’s 14.2-mile Nordschleife track due to its poor safety standards, a lack of doctors and medical helicopters, as well as a wet weather forecast on raceday. But he failed to achieve this by one vote.

Despite suffering severe burns and respiratory damage, Lauda returned to racing at the Italian GP, a mere 40 days after the accident. He qualified in fifth place and finished fourth in the 52-lap race.

The helmet will be auctioned by Bonhams|Cars Automobilia Department at the Miami GP on Saturday 4 May, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Lauda family’s chosen charity UNICEF.

Lauda died in 2019, having gone on to run three airlines and manage several F1 teams – including Ferrari, Jaguar and Mercedes.

“We are delighted that our father’s legacy continues to provide help and assistance to those in most need,” said Lukas Lauda, Niki’s son, on behalf of the family.

“The challenges faced by UNICEF in providing humanitarian aid to children worldwide are enormous; if we can make a small contribution towards improving opportunities for others, we are delighted to do so.”

The burnt helmet of Niki Lauda, Ferrari after his accident

The burnt helmet of Niki Lauda, Ferrari after his accident

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Since 1976, the helmet has been privately held in notable car and F1 memorabilia collections. The helmet will be on display in the Bonhams|Cars preview tent at the Miami International Autodrome across the race weekend.

James Garguilo, Bonhams|Cars automobilia specialist, added: “We are privileged to present this historically significant helmet, as a testament to Niki Lauda's legacy as a driver and as a champion for driver safety.

“His unyielding determination and sheer courage altered the trajectory of racing history.”

Despite his heroic comeback, Lauda was pipped to the world title in 1976 by James Hunt, a story that was retold in Ron Howard’s 2013 movie, Rush.

Lauda went on to win his second title for Ferrari in 1977 and his third, with McLaren, in 1984.

The auction will take place directly on the track in front of the podium on the south side of the Miami International Autodrome on 4 May for invited guests as well as Bonhams|Cars clients and car collectors.

Approximately 25 collector cars will be driven on to the race track for the auction and will be showcased around the Miami Campus during the weekend for race-going fans to view.

Other race-worn F1 helmets of Gilles Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Jean Alesi, Gerhard Berger and Eddie Irvine will also be auctioned.

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