Stunt driver who portrayed Niki Lauda in ‘Rush’ killed in car accident

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A veteran racer who portrayed three-time champion Niki Lauda in race driving scenes in last summer’s Formula One film “Rush,” has been killed in a car crash in Italy, according to the Daily Mail in the U.K.

Mauro Pane, 50, served as the primary stunt driving double for actor Daniel Bruhl, who portrayed Lauda in the film directed by Ron Howard.

Police discovered the bodies of Pane and an unidentified female in a submerged Renault in a canal near Gambolo in northern Italy, near Milan, according to the Daily Mail report.

An accomplished race car driver, Pane previously served as a test driver for the Minardi F1 team. He also won the 2008 Historic Formula One Championship in a six-wheeled Tyrrell P34.

Classic Grand Prix, the company that supplied the historic racing cars for “Rush” said in a statement, “We are devastated to have to announce the tragic death of one of our own, Mauro Pane. Racer, engineer, champion and a fantastic friend. RIP.”

Pane becomes the second driver associated with “Rush” to die in the last four months.

Sean Edwards, 26, died last Oct. 15 in a high-speed crash at Australia’s Queensland Raceway in Brisbane. Edwards was a passenger in a Porsche that lost control, crashed through a tire barrier and burst into flames. The driver, Will Holzheimer, is since recovering. per the Australian Courier Mail.

In “Rush,” Edwards portrayed his father Guy, a former F1 driver who pulled Lauda out of his burning Ferrari after a near-fatal crash at Germany’s Nurburgring in 1976.

Rush won Best Editing honors Sunday in the 62nd annual BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Film Awards in London. The movie had been nominated for four awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Bruhl (as Lauda) and Best British Film.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”