The team chairman and F1 legend actually wanted to come to Abu Dhabi, but according to Austrian radio O3, that plan was vetoed by doctors.
“He didn’t lose the race to come to Abu Dhabi, he won it because he is smart,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told Bild newspaper.
“I prefer Niki to be back at full speed.”
Lauda, 69, has made his first appearance since his lung transplant, telling Mercedes’ race team in Abu Dhabi by video message that he will be back soon.
“This was the Niki we know,” Wolff said. “He said the pressure will soon be greater because he will soon be back.”
Wolff added of the one minute video: “It was a cool thing and everyone was happy.”