Niki Lauda, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Lauda back in intensive care after developing flu

2019 F1 season

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Niki Lauda has suffered a setback in his recovery from a lung transplant operation last year.

The 69-year-old three-times Formula 1 world champion is back in intensive care at AKH Wien, the Vienna General Hospital where his surgery was performed last year.

Lauda was flown to the hospital from Ibiza after cutting short his Christmas vacation on the Spanish island, according to Austria’s Krone Zeitung. He is understood to have suffered a serious bout of flu.

The Mercedes non-executive chairman did not return to the paddock last year following his operation in August. He was said to be in an “extremely critical” state prior to the operation and spent several weeks in intensive care after it. He was treated by professor doctor Walter Klepetko, chief of the clinical department for thoracic surgery, and his team.

Mercedes shared a message from Lauda on social media in late November last year, thanking the team and his friends. “As you all know I had a rough time from a health point of view,” he said. “The support I got from all you people on my way was unbelievable.” His recovery was expected to be a lengthy process.

Lauda won the world championship in 1975 and 1977 with Ferrari, and in 1984 with McLaren. He suffered injuries to his lungs when he crashed at the Nurburgring in 1976 and inhaled smoke and fumes from his burning car.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 9 comments on “Lauda back in intensive care after developing flu”

    1. Not a good way to start my Sunday…

    2. Sad to head that, hope he gets better soon.

      On a side note, wasn’t him also at Ibiza when he got sick prior to his transplant?

    3. I had a friend who had a lung transplant. One of the big problems with a transplant is the body wants to reject the new organ, it sees the new organ as a foreign body that needs to be attacked. So the person needs to take anti-rejection drugs to prevent the donated organ from being killed by their immune system. After the operation my friend always carried a bag with his anti-rejection drugs inside it. He had to be very careful not to expose himself to harm. One night at a music club someone threw a cup of hot water into the sink where he was washing some dishes and scalded his hand. We decided then and there to call it quits that night and took him home.
      While drugs and technology will have improved since then, I think it is right to treat this as serious for Niki.

    4. Very sad to hear that. Sadly flu is a killer, even for healthy people. But, Niki will have the very best of care and hopefully will pull through. The F1 grid has not seemed right without him.

    5. Very bad Flu going around.

    6. Keep fighting Champ we want to see you back soon.

    7. Come on, Niki. You can beat this!

    8. There is a high probability that he is dealing with Pneumonia, the actual flu is likely gone.

      My spouse has comprised lungs from cancer and a slight flu over the holidays resulted in a hospital stay for Pneumonia. We understand it is not that uncommon with compromised lungs and Niki sure has a lot going on with the transplant.

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