In a spot of good news, Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda has been released from hospital. The Austrian legend was re-admitted to intensive care in a Vienna hospital shortly after New Year. As it turned out, he had contracted influenza A which was a bit of a complication following his surgery.
The 69-year-old F1 legend had been holidaying in Ibiza following his long recovery from a life-saving lung transplant operation last year.
“There was an influenza case in his family, and he is treated in an intensive care unit with us,” a spokeswoman for the AKH hospital in Vienna confirmed.
An Austrian newspaper said Lauda should be able to leave hospital “in three to four days”.
This has now been confirmed.
The AKH spokeswoman also said: “His release is planned in the course of next week.”
He has been acting as Mercedes’ non-executive chairman since the 2012 Formula One season. However, his poor health meant he missed the second half of last season.
Mercedes staff paid tribute to Lauda at their Northamptonshire factory by wearing red caps similar to the one usually worn by the Austrian. It was also in this manner that they celebrated Lewis Hamilton’s 5th Formula One title.
During his racing days, Niki Lauda won the 1975, 1977 and 1984 World Championships. Also, in 1976, he was involved in a fiery crash during the German Grand Prix at the infamous Nurburgring Nordschleife. Fortunately, he made a miraculous comeback and was able to challenge rival James Hunt for the title that year.
He retired from racing in 1979 having grown bored of ‘driving around in circles’. However, he returned to racing in 1982, racing for McLaren. He retired or good in 1985 and took up a managerial role in 1993 as a consultant for Ferrari. In 2001, he became team principal of the Jaguar Racing Team, but did not enjoy much success.