Niki Lauda, three times Formula 1 world champion, is in a “very satisfactory” state four days after having undergone an emergency lung transplant, as a result of an infection, reported the Vienna General Hospital.
“Twenty-four hours after surgery, Lauda was fully conscious. He was able to be extubated and is breathing without assistance, “the hospital said in a statement.
“During the following days his condition improved steadily and all the organs are working well,” he continued.
Lauda, 69, interrupted his Ibiza holiday in late July and returned to Vienna for treatment after developing a lung infection.
Transplantation became a priority after being given an artificial lung while waiting to be operated.
The poisonous gases inhaled during his famous crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix, when it took rescuers almost a minute to get him out of his burning car, have caused a constant decrease in the strength of his lungs.
Dr. Walter Klepetko, who performed the transplant, told the Österreich newspaper that Lauda will have to wait several weeks before leaving the hospital, but that, barring complications, “he will be able to fly, work and participate in sports as he did before” .
Usually present on F1 circuits around the world as the non-executive chairman of the Mercedes team, Lauda had missed the Hockenheim race on July 22 and the Hungarian race the following week due to illness.
The ex-pilot has also been very active in the field of air transport. Last January he bought his old company Niki again, renaming it LaudaMotion, and shortly after he sold 75% of the capital to the Irish low-cost company Ryanair, remaining as a leader.
According to Österreich, just before his operation he contacted Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary with the aim of selling his remaining stake in the business and reducing his workload.