MONACO – Formula One has confirmed that a minute’s silence featuring his red cap will be held ahead of Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix in tribute to Niki Lauda who died earlier this week.
In an announcement confirmed on its official website the organisation said the pre-race arrangements in memory of the three-time world champion and non-executive vice chairman of the all-conquering Mercedes team.
"Niki Lauda’s trademark red cap was famous in the paddock, so it’s fitting that the garment will play a key part as the entire F1 community celebrates the legendary Austrian champion’s life ahead of Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix," it said.
During the silence on the grid, all 20 drivers "along with dignitaries and a number of Lauda’s contemporaries and peers will each hold a red cap," the statement added.
Lauda, 70, passed away on Monday night after a long fight with health problems.
Several teams have confirmed they will carry tributes to Lauda on their cars during the weekend with champions Mercedes turning their Halo cockpit protection device red.
The 20 race drivers standing at the front of the grid will be joined by the regular dignitaries and also by figures "who played a special role in Lauda's career –his contemporaries and his peers", who will be holding red caps similar to the one Lauda was famous for wearing.
"Formula 1, the FIA, the Automobile Club de Monaco and all ten teams want to invite all fans attending the race in the Monaco grandstands to pay their own tribute to the driver who won here in the Principality in 1975 and 1976, during the in-lap of this the 90th edition of the race," the announcement from F1 added.
"They can either wear a red cap, display a message on a banner, or simply applaud, while those watching from the yachts in the harbour can sound their klaxons – anything appropriate to honour the memory of one of the sport’s true heroes."
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff paid tribute to Lauda and his determination, pointing out that his friend and fellow-Austrian would be concerned only in the performance of their team this weekend.
"Niki, watching us, would be interested to see how this weekend goes on track here and nothing else,” he said. “One of his most immense character traits was that he never stopped fighting.
"His accident definitely is a date that is important in his life, but Niki would have seen it differently. He lived his life every single day he was able to live in the present, not looking into the past.
"He didn’t care about the past. It was gone. He lived in the present and he wanted to achieve more in the future."AFP