Doctors are pleased with how Niki Lauda's recovery is progressing after the three-time Formula 1 world champion received a lung transplant.
Lauda underwent surgery at Vienna General Hospital on Thursday (local time) after becoming ill during a holiday in Ibiza.
Walter Klepetko, one of the doctors who worked on the surgery, told Austria's public broadcaster ORF, “Everything is currently going very well and we are very satisfied.”
He does expect, however, that the recovery will take “a longer time” than the standard two to three weeks due to Lauda's advanced age of 69 years.
Klepetko also ruled out Lauda's horror Nurburgring crash in 1976 as a contributing factor.
“One can absolutely assume that lung transplantation is not a late consequence of the fire accident,” he advised.
“Although we should enjoy the start of our summer holidays this evening, none of us at Mercedes will pretend that we feel happy – our thoughts are rather with Niki, Birgit and the Lauda family,” he wrote on the team's account.
“The world knows Niki as an F1 legend with incredible power and resilience.
“For all of us at Mercedes he is our chairman, our mentor and our friend. We have missed him by our side in Hockenheim and Hungary, and can't wait to have him back with us.
“The recovery he faces is not a race. But I'm sure he will soon be telling every nurse and doctor that he has had enough of hospital.
“We wish him a safe and speedy recovery – in that order – and send all our positive energy to him and his family. I miss you my friend.”
Toto: “Although we should enjoy the start of our summer holidays this evening, none of us at Mercedes will pretend that we feel happy – our thoughts are rather with Niki, Birgit and the Lauda family…” (1/3) pic.twitter.com/ivnDtn0E2T