F1 race winner Heikki Kovalainen provides update after open-heart surgery

Ex-F1 racer Heikki Kovalainen has provided an update after undergoing successful open-heart surgery.

Heikki Kovalainen (FIN). Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest, Hungary, Preparation Day.-
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN). Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 13, Hungarian…

F1 race-winner Heikki Kovalainen says his recent open-heart surgery was a success and hopes he can make a full recovery.

The former Renault, McLaren, Caterham and Lotus F1 driver recently revealed that he required open-heart surgery after being diagnosed with an ascending aortic aneurysm.

42-year-old Kovalainen, who has turned to rallying in recent years, provided an update on his recovery after being operated on in the United States.

“I was diagnosed with an ascending aortic aneurysm at the end of last year,” the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix winner said in a social media video.

“It’s a piece of the ascending aorta that has dilated quite a lot. This is obviously the reason why I haven't been able to join in rallies or any other activities over the winter. Over the last few months, I have been going through, with a team of doctors, my options.

“We decided to have an operation. I was operated on last week at Tampere University Hospital, in the heart unit there. A wonderful team of doctors, nurses and assistants took care of me. It was open-heart surgery, so I have marks forever on my chest. But the surgery went well.

“We managed to do exactly what we set out to do. We cut out the diseased part of the ascending aorta and put an artificial graft in place. Everything went well. It was obviously a big operation. A couple of days after the operation I was feeling a bit rough, but things have improved a lot since then.

“I'm actually back at home and already recovering. The outlook is quite good. There is an opportunity to make a full recovery and regain full fitness, but of course, only time will tell how it all works out. So far, the estimation is pretty good, so I'm very pleased about it.

“In the meantime, I continue to recover and try to hopefully get out and little by little increase my activities. The main thing is obviously that the chest bone has time to heal. And once all of this is done, if things go well, I hope to be able to return to my normal routines. I hope to see you out soon again.”

Lewis Hamilton, Kovalainen’s former McLaren teammate, posted a message of support, writing: “Get well soon Heikki, praying for you.”

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