Severe 'summer flu' lands Lauda in intensive care

© XPB 

Niki Lauda is recovering in a hospital in Vienna after contracting a severe case of "summer flu", the illness justifying the Mercedes non-executive chairman's absence from the paddock recently.

The F1 legend was conspicuously missing from the Mercedes garage in Germany and Hungary, and now we know why.

Lauda supposedly picked up the bug while on holiday in Ibiza. But a bout of fever and chronic coughing compelled the 69-year-old to fly to Vienna to seek treatment.

The recipient of a kidney transplant in 2005 - from his wife Birgit - Lauda was seen as a "high risk" patient because of potential immune system complications the summer flu could have induced.

Twelve days on, the three time world champion has emerged from the IC unit, "is being well looked after", according to reports, and is "almost back to full health, thankfully there were no complications with kidneys and heart .

Lauda could be discharged this week and should be back on deck in the Mercedes garage at Spa at the end of the month.

A friend of Lauda said: "The doctors say that after this severe flu Niki must stop playing with his health, urging the Austrian to reduce his commitments."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter