Niki Lauda’s work behind the scenes at Ferrari was key to his Formula One success, according to rival Jody Scheckter.
Jody Scheckter felt Niki Lauda excelled in getting the best out of his Ferrari car and team as he lit up Formula One in the 1970s.
Three-time champion Lauda passed away on Monday aged 70, prompting tributes from around the sport for one of racing’s greats.
But while Scheckter – a champion with the Scuderia in 1979 – was impressed by Lauda’s driving, he feels it was his work behind the scenes that particularly stood out en route to Ferrari triumphs in 1975 and 1977.
“From a racing point of view, he was a very solid guy, he was someone you could rely on,” Scheckter told Omnisport. “He was always very straightforward.
“When you drove around a corner at 180 miles per hour with him next to you, you felt that he wasn’t going to do anything stupid. And he was winning the championships.
“He was obviously a good racing driver, but his good points were that he could sort a car out very well and he could get the team to be doing things around him that were the right things.
“Those were his stronger points, but he was also a very good driver and won the championship three times.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) May 21, 2019
“Then, in Hockenheim, I was leading the race and we had a fuel problem and he caught up and passed me. They had Ferrari and he was doing a fantastic job there.”
Scheckter suggested Ferrari need to fix matters behind the scenes now if they are to end a 12-year wait for a drivers’ championship.
Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc have failed to keep pace with the dominant Mercedes this season.
“They’ve got to get the right people behind the team at the factories and the races,” Scheckter said of their struggles.