Ex-F1 driver’s foundation sued for €30 million 

Niki Lauda’s widow is suing the former Formula 1 world champion’s foundation for a share of his assets.

Austrian Formula 1 star Niki Lauda passed away in 2019 after an impressive career on the grid and behind the scenes.

Having won two Drivers’ Championships at Ferrari and one for McLaren, Lauda’s later career saw him support the Mercedes Formula 1 team.

Lauda’s contribution to Formula 1 and Mercedes was reflected in how the Silver Arrows posthumously renamed the road leading to their technology campus in his honour. 

“He was a massive contributor to our success, a great sparring partner for me and a strong non-executive chairman, who we miss dearly. I wish he was still here as my friend and as a chairman, because there would have been many questions, I’d have liked to ask him this year,” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said at the dedication of the road.

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At the time of his death, Lauda was married to 44-year-old Birgit Wetzinger, his second wife.

He was thought to have a net worth of between €200mn-500mn when he passed away after a long-time at the forefront of Formula 1. 

In an effort to ensure a peaceful situation between his bereaved family, Lauda is thought to have ensured inheritance disputes would be avoided in his will.

However, proceeds from his foundation are believed to be open to dispute from his family, with Wetzinger seeking €30 million.

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The legal action comes despite Wetzinger reportedly receiving €20,000 per month from the foundation.

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“Birgit started all these proceedings,” a family friend told Austrian newspaper Kurier.

“The rest of the family fully agree with the way Niki arranged it.  

“They respect his will and are ready to defend it in court,” they added.