Niki Lauda has revealed that he watched every grand prix during his absence from the paddock as he recovered from a lung transplant. Mercedes' non-executive chairman has spoken for the first time since he was hospitalised in July to offer details on his surgery and rehabilitation.
Lauda has returned to his home in Ibiza for the festive period, where he was originally taken ill before he was transferred to Vienna for surgery which saved the three-time world champion's life.
The 69-year-old says his time away from the track has reaffirmed old friendships as names from across motorsport offered him well-wishes in his recovery.
"I did not miss a single grand prix, even though I was in the company of so many IV tubes," Lauda told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I attended all the races, I phoned the garage during the weekends and they always told me what was happening.
"Away from the track, I have to say that I once again discovered the warmth of the people I have been working with for years, all good, all worried about me."
Doctors said Lauda was days away from death, but the Austrian says he was never concerned for his mortality,
"I have to be honest: no, I've never been afraid," he said.
"I was in the hands of excellent specialists, I trusted them, I knew it would be tough, very hard, and in such conditions I could only do one thing: fight for every moment. I'm still doing it."