Niki Lauda has been released from hospital in Vienna, after being admitted earlier this year following a flu-like infection.
The three-time World Champion, who is a non-executive chairman of Mercedes, had been taken ill while on a family holiday in Ibiza over the Christmas period.
He was admitted to the AKH hospital in Vienna, where he had undergone a lung transplant last summer, so he could be observed closely to ensure there were no further complications.
With his condition having improved, Walter Klepetko, head of the thoracic department at AKH, confirmed to Austrian news agency APA that Lauda had been given the all clear to leave hospital.
Klepetko emphasised that at no point did the flu infection pose a risk to Lauda’s life, and said that artificial respiration had not been necessary either. Lauda’s admission to intensive care was necessary only to ensure that his weakened immune system could be monitored more closely.
Lauda missed the final races of the 2018 season as he recovered from his lung operation, and it is unclear yet if he will be able to join Mercedes for the 2019 season opener in Australia on March 17.
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.