Newsmaker of the Year was a toss-up between Niki Lauda and Robert Kubica with the Austrian Formula 1 legend edging out the Pole who had received this accolade in last year’s Awards.
That Robert is making a comeback, after nearly a decade on the fringes of the sport, after recovering from the serious injuries he sustained in his death-defying rally accident in 2011. His journey could be termed the story of the decade!
But it was the fate of Niki that got the nod because we came so close to losing another important icon of our sport. At first, it seemed like a routine check-up to sort out a common cold which morphed into a lung transplant – even his own team were unaware of the extent of the medical crisis he was going through.
They were harrowing times no doubt for his family, as it was for the Formula 1 world who waited for news on his condition. Thankfully he survived the lung transplant and is now on the road to recovery, but most importantly he is still with us.
We can celebrate that Niki is now recovering well and in good form and this latest ordeal once again defying death – as he did that infamous day at Nurburgring in 1976 – makes the three times F1 World Champion the obvious choice for Newsmaker of the Year in 2018.