Niki Lauda will return to F1 when he is ready. That is the news from the Formula 1 legend's son Mathias. Lauda – who turns 70 on Friday – had previously targeted his return to the paddock from a lung transplant for the Barcelona tests.
Lauda had a lung transplant last year after falling ill while on holiday and doctors have previously revealed that the Austrian came mere days from dying, before he was operated on.
Lauda's immune system was weakened by his stay in hospital, while he remained too weak to visit grands prix in the latter half of last season, despite aiming to have returned at the Abu Dhabi GP.
A bout of flu over Christmas meant Lauda had to go back into intensive care, but he is once again at home, where a rehab regime described as "intensive" goes on.
However, he is not yet strong enough even to travel to Australia for the season opener.
Mathias Lauda told DPA news agency: "He is fighting like a lion. He wants to return to normal life as soon as possible."
But Mathias said his father no longer has a particular return date in his diary.
"There is no time limit, what is important is that his body returns to his old strength," he insisted.
Mathias admitted that a return for the start of the 2019 season is too soon, but "wait and see".