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|Location||Grand Prix de Monza|
|Prints issue||LIMITED EDITION 25 prints ONLY|
|Shooting date||1er octobre 1978|
Determination, tenacity and heart. Here in 1978, as it was throughout his career, every time Niki Lauda put on his balaclava, he meant nothing but business. He captured his first Formula One World Championship with Ferrari in 1975, and dominated the 1976 season while battling for his second title, until his horrific crash at the Nurburgring brought him literally within a few seconds of burning to death. He received last rites, but rose from his expected deathbed to race 43 days later at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. He would be carried to his car, his bleeding wounds covered in bandages, to finish fourth. It was the most heroic return in sports history. While he would ultimately lose his title by one point to his friend, James Hunt in ’76, he would retrieve his crown in 1977. Disillusioned with Ferrari team politics in 1978, Lauda walked away to join Brabham.
Here, Lauda’s still painful scars are clearly seen through his nome balaclava. Lauda put his undeniable stamp on these years with a life more improbable than fiction and more inspiring than possible. His bravery simply transcended sports to become a metaphor for tenacity, but his will to not just survive, but to return and fight defines the word “indomitable”.
I made this image with a Nikon F2, and a Nikon 180mm f/2.8 ED-IF lens, using Kodak Tri-X film rated at 400 ASA, 1/250 second at f/2.8, the afternoon of October 1, 1978, at the Grand Prix Circuit at Watkins Glen, NY, USA.