Wolff "looking forward" to Niki Lauda's return to the paddock

26-12-2018 11:01
by Nicolás Quarles van Ufford
F1 News
Wolff looking forward to Niki Lauda's return to the paddock

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has expressed his excitement for the comeback to the paddock of Niki Lauda, as Wolff doesn't doubt his fellow Austrian will eventually return to the Mercedes garage when he's made a full recovery.

Lauda, of course, collapsed during his holiday last summer on Ibiza, and promptly needed a lung transplant among other things. His life was in danger at one point, but the three-time champion has recovered and is out of the hospital now. He now spends his days recovering in his home on Ibiza.

"I don't doubt he'll come back," Wolff told Austrian news source ORF.

"That will definitely happen."

"Last season was a real battle, where things went up and down. Then we had to process the shock of Niki. It first looked like an innocent illness, but that changed dramatically within a few hours, and every minute counted to get him to the hospital in Vienna."

Lauda has been an integral part of the Mercedes team for quite some years now, making his absence in the garage very palpable.

"We've been leading this team together for the last five years," Wolff continued on his close relationship with Lauda.

"So I've noticed his absence more than anyone as a sparring partner and as a friend.

"That's why I'm looking forward to 2019, so we can walk this path together again."

When asked when Lauda would make his comeback exactly, Wolff didn't have an answer.

"Only the doctors and Niki make announcements about that. We don't want to raise expectations. Preferably I'd like to see him back at the season opener in Australia, but his health has the priority."

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