Former Formula 1 champion Niki Lauda in hospital after lung transplant operation

Three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda has undergone a lung transplant.

The Vienna General Hospital says the operation was performed Thursday because of a "serious lung illness." It didn't give more specific details in a brief statement and said the 69-year-old Austrian's family would make no public comment.

Lauda won the Formula One title in 1975, 1977 and 1984.

He suffered serious burns in a fiery crash at the German Grand Prix in 1976. Lauda has twice undergone kidney transplants, in 1997 and 2005.

Lauda was appointed as Mercedes' non-executive chairman in 2012 and was involved in the signing of Lewis Hamilton to the F1 team.

Niki Lauda.
Niki Lauda. Source: Getty


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Retiring legend Craig Lowndes backs support for more Supercars night races

Retiring Holden great Craig Lowndes has called for Supercars to introduce more night events as the championships braces to race under lights in Sydney.

There is an air of unpredictability around the 10th event of the season this weekend as the last Supercars night race was seven years ago in Abu Dhabi.

You have to go all the way back to 1997 at Melbourne's Calder Park when a race was last staged under lights in Australia.

Lowndes is better equipped than almost any driver in the field to cope with night racing, having started his glittering Supercars career with an after-dark win at Sydney Motorsport Park in 1996.

The 44-year-old is excited about getting a final chance to test himself under lights this Saturday night before he hangs up the helmet at the end of the year.

"The concept is awesome. I would like to see more night racing," Lowndes said.

"I think we have some great circuits which can bring the right atmosphere, like Darwin and Townsville, and would provide the perfect environment to race under lights.

"It allows families to go to work or do what they need to do during the day, then get out to the circuits later to relax and watch us going around at night."

While his win 22 years ago was around a short track, this one is set to be an endurance test.

The 300km spectacle will be the longest single driver race since 2003.

The sole race of the weekend is worth 300 points (double a regular race) meaning it could have serious championship ramifications.

Ford ace Scott McLaughlin heads to the NSW capital with a 131-point gap on Red Bull Holden's Shane van Gisbergen after the pair split the two races at Ipswich last month.

Practice will get underway on Friday at 6pm, with the main event starting at 7.20pm on Saturday as more than 50 temporary light towers have been installed around the Eastern Creek track.

Craig Lowndes


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Formula One driver admits removing water bottle from car to make it lighter

Sauber's Swedish Formula One driver Marcus Ericsson has revealed that he has raced thirsty for years because he has ditched his car's water bottle in order to save weight.

The tall Swede explained the situation on Twitter after Sunday's sweltering Hungarian grand prix, in which he shed between 2.5 to three kilos.

Ericsson was also involved in a collision with Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo soon after the start of the race.

"Haven't had a drink system installed for over two years (including today)," Ericsson said in response to a discussion about Kimi Raikkonen racing in the heat without water after Ferrari failed to connect the drinks bottle.

"It weighs around 1.5 kg. So we choose not to use it because of the weight. Just one of the reasons why we should have the same weight for all drivers," added Ericsson, who said he trained hard and kept well-hydrated before the race.

Raikkonen, who finished third at the Hungaroring where track temperatures were well above 50 degrees Celsius in one of the hottest races so far this year, made light of his problem afterwards.

"The fact of not having my drink bottle available was obviously not ideal, but not so much of an issue either," declared the Finn, who has now finished on the podium nine times in Hungary.

Formula One is set to introduce a minimum driver weight of 80kg from 2019 to end a situation where the taller drivers have become disadvantaged, raising concerns about drastic weight loss and other unhealthy practices.

Driver weight will be considered separately to the car next season, with ballast required to be placed next to the seat for those weighing less than the minimum.

Nico Rosberg edges out Lewis Hamilton at the first corner of the Interlagos event in Sao Paulo
Nico Rosberg edges out Lewis Hamilton at the first corner of the Interlagos event in Sao Paulo Source: Associated Press


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