Doctors 'satisfied' with Lauda's condition

Mercedes' Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff

Doctors caring for three-time Formula 1 world champion and Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda have said that they are satisfied with his condition.

The 69-year-old had been absent from recent Grand Prix events, which was most unusual for him. It had been put down to a 'severe summer 'flu'.

However it was revealed that Lauda had undergone a lung transplant on Thursday at the AKH hospital in Vienna after falling ill while on holiday on Ibiza. After being flown back on his private jet, Lauda was subsequently diagnosed with serious lung disease.

The hospital's Doctor Walter Klepetko told Austrian broadcaster ORF that Lauda's recover was going according to plan after the major surgery.

“Everything is currently going very well and we are very satisfied,” confirmed the hospital’s head of thoracic surgery.

“Considering the not very easy circumstances we are very, very happy with the developments."

The hospital performs around 120 lung transplants a year, and the usual recovery time is between two and three weeks. However, Klepetko said that it was likely to be "a longer time" in Lauda's case due to his age.

The surgeon confirmed that Lauda's medical history was unlikely to have been a factor in Lauda's illness.

The Austrian had been involved in a huge accident at the Nurburgring in 1976 which saw him suffer lung damage from inhaling toxic burning gases as well as significant external scarring to his head and neck.

“One can absolutely assume that lung transplantation is not a late consequence of the fire accident,” Klepetko insisted.

Lauda underwent his latest procedure 42 years to the day after his surgery for that crash. On that occasion his recovery defied expectations and he raced at Monza just six weeks later, so let's hope for a similar sensationally and speedy recovery this time.

The news of Lauda's surgery had broken just as teams went on their mandatory two-week summer shutdown. It naturally left a cloud over the forthcoming holiday at Brixworth.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff used social media to send his best wishes to the team's iconic chairman.

"Although we should enjoy the start of our summer holidays this evening, none of us at Mercedes will pretend that we feel happy," Wolff wrote on the team's official Twitter page.

"Our thoughts are rather with Niki, Birgit and the Lauda family.

"The world knows Niki as an F1 legend with incredible power and resilience," he continued. "For all of us at Mercedes he is our chairman, our mentor and our friend.

"We have missed him by our side in Hockenheim and Hungary, and can’t wait to have him back with us.

The recovery he faces is not a race, but I’m sure he will soon be telling every nurse and doctor that he has had enough of hospital.

"We wish him a safe and speedy recovery – in that order – and send all our positive energy to him and his family.

"I miss you my friend," he added.

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