Get Well Soon Niki!

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According to doctors, the legend that is Niki Lauda was very close to death before he had his lung transplant last week in an Austrian hospital.

It turned out that Lauda’s lungs could no longer absorb enough oxygen due to inflammation of the alveoli, the small air sacs inside the lungs. This inflammation is a kind of auto immune response, meaning the body attacks itself. He was given drugs to suppress the reaction but they did not work well enough. After a spell in intensive care, the point came where the doctors said he needed a new lung. Without having to wait too long, thankfully Lauda was able to undergo a full lung transplant with a couple of days.

The Future

It will come as no surprise to any motorsport fan to hear that Lauda is a fighter and that it would take a lot to bring him down. In true Niki style, he is recovering well and with a bit of luck will be able to carry on just as he was before the problem. At 69 years old, it certainly takes some strength to go through that kind of health issue but we are pretty sure if anyone can take it in their stride, Mr Lauda can!

The Past

If perhaps there are people that didn’t know about his previous brush with death, Lauda was trapped in his F1 car on 1st August 1976 at the infamous Nürburgring. He had raised concerns about the safety of the track that day but raced anyway as he failed to get enough votes for a boycott. He was trapped inside his own burning car for over a minute. This not only severely damaged his skin on many parts of his body but also his lungs, as he was breathing in burning fumes.

After being pulled out, many thought he would never race again but Lauda fought and pushed for a fast recovery and actually ended up racing again in the same season when most people had totally written him off. Just 6 weeks after his crash and after many operations to clear his lungs and rebuild his face, he finished 4th in the championship despite not being able to see very well and still being covered in bandages. They even made him a special helmet that was bigger to accommodate his dressings.

We are very pleased Niki is doing well; he is a true hero and a true fighter. He is also someone who came very close to perishing in the fire we work so hard to keep drivers safe from and, because of that, he will always have a special place in our hearts.

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