Women have plastic surgery because they “can’t stand who they are”, Niki Lauda, the former F1 champion has said.

Lauda, who only had minimal reconstructive work after his infamous 1976 crash, said women need to find the strength to love themselves the way they were bron.

Cosmetic surgery is “boring and expensive” and all a surgeon can do is to give you another face when the only thing that matters is that your body is functioning, Lauda claims.

Instead of going under the knife, women have the confidence inside them to overcome the “beauty bull”, he said.

The three-time Formula One World Champion was left with severe burns to his face and lost half an ear when his Ferrari caught fire during the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.

Despite his permanent disfigurement, he limited reconstructive surgery to replacing his eyelids to make them work properly and got straight back into racing.

“It means they can’t stand whoever they are. I’ve had a lot of incidents in the past where people were wondering how I looked,” he has told this week’s Sunday Telegraph’s Seven Magazine.

“At least I can say I had an accident. The idea that people would work on themselves, who hadn’t had an accident – I can’t stand plastic surgery.

“You have to have enough personality to overcome this beauty bull—- and find the strength to love yourself the way you are.”

He has admitted that he was “upset” that people were “shocked” at his appearance after the accident.

Describing the moment he first saw himself Lauda said: “My then wife fainted when she first saw me, so I knew it could not have been good. As I get older the scars get lost in the lines, and, well, you just get used to it.”

He said that he has never really had any fear, as he has had both positive and negative experiences.

The entrepreneur, who owned Lauda Air before his Boeing 767 crashed in Thailand in 1991, killing all 223 on board, said: “I’ve been through a lot and I realise the future can’t be controlled. I’m not worried.

“You can always learn to overcome difficulties. That said, I’ve always been a stable person.”

After his accident Lauda completed the 1976 championship, losing to Hunt on the last race of the season.

He retired from Formula One three years later but made a comeback in 1982 with McLaren, hanging up his helmet for the final time in 1985.

He said that racing has changed since he retired, and he was not surprised he had an accident as back then if you pushed yourself too far, you killed yourself.

“Today, life is different for the racers,” he said.

“Everything is as safe as possible. The last driver to be killed was [Ayrton] Senna, 19 years ago, and the improvements were so big since that. Now nothing ever happens. It’s just not the same.”

When asked if that made the sport less exciting he replied: “Maybe.”

Ron Howard’s film Rush, about Lauda’s rivalry with the British driver James Hunt as they battled for the 1976 championship, is out next month.



The Telegraph