London, May 21: Toto Wolff says Mercedes has lost a "guiding light" and "one of the greatest legends" in Formula One after Niki Lauda died at the age of 70.
Three-time F1 champion Lauda's family announced on Tuesday (May 21) that he had passed away, having undergone a lung transplant last August.
Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda staged one of the most astonishing comebacks in sporting history when he resumed his racing career just six weeks after being seriously injured in a crash in Germany in 1976, going on to win the second of his world championships the following season.
The Austrian continued to have a big influence in the sport in management roles after ending his driving career in 1985 and Mercedes team principal Wolff paid a glowing tribute to his former colleague.
Niki, 1949 - 2019 pic.twitter.com/tMPi7s2ODE— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) May 21, 2019
"First of all, on behalf of the team and all at Mercedes, I wish to send our deepest condolences to Birgit, Niki's children, his family and close friends." Wolff said in a statement released by Mercedes.
"Niki will always remain one of the greatest legends of our sport - he combined heroism, humanity and honesty inside and outside the cockpit.
"His passing leaves a void in Formula One. We haven't just lost a hero who staged the most remarkable comeback ever seen, but also a man who brought precious clarity and candour to modern Formula One. He will be greatly missed as our voice of common sense.
"Our Mercedes team has also lost a guiding light. As a team-mate over the past six and a half years, Niki was always brutally honest - and utterly loyal.
"It was a privilege to count him among our team and moving to witness just how much it meant to him to be part of the team's success. Whenever he walked the floor in Brackley and Brixworth, or delivered one of his famous motivational speeches, he brought an energy that nobody else could replicate.
"Niki, you are quite simple irreplaceable, there will never be another like you. It was our honour to call you our chairman - and my privilege to call you my friend."