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Lauda keen to return to F1 in Australia after lung transplant

Written by  Dec 21, 2018

Triple world champion Niki Lauda aims to return to the Formula 1 paddock for next year's season opener in Australia, as he continues his recovery from a lung transplant.

The Austrian, who currently sits as Mercedes' non-executive chairman, returned to Vienna for surgery after falling severely ill during a holiday in Ibiza mid-summer and was given just days to live at one point, according to some reports.

Known as a great fighter after he came back to F1 three races after his famous Nurburgring crash in 1976, however, Lauda came through again and revealed that despite it all, he still remained fully in touch with everything going on, on track.

“I didn’t miss a single Grand Prix, even though I was in the company of so many IV [intravenous therapy],” he said in his first interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I watched all the races, called the pits on the weekends, and they always told me what was going on.

“It was like being on the edge of the track with the others. I have to say that I, once again, discovered the warmth of the people I’ve been working with for years.”

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One such example was a hand-written letter Lauda received from Sebastian Vettel soon after his surgery.

"It was a great pleasure for me, full of fine words and affectionate considerations,” he recalled. “I didn’t expect it, usually drivers don’t do these things, they just drive. But he’s a good person."

While reflecting on his most recent scare though, Niki had only one goal in mind, looking forward.

“I knew it would be hard, very hard,” he said. “In such conditions, I could only do one thing: fight and I did it for every moment, I’m still doing it.

“In a month, they told me, I should be fully fit and ready to start again. I’ll follow the Grands Prix as before. Why not?”

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