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Ex-F1 driver to undergo open-heart surgery

Following a recent medical check-up, this former Formula 1 driver is set to have open-heart surgery.

To news overview © XPBimages

Ex-Formula 1 driver Heikki Kovalainen is set to undergo open-heart surgery after he was diagnosed with a condition affecting his arteries.

The one-time Grand Prix winner revealed that he has an ascending aortic aneurysm.

Despite not suffering from any symptoms, Kovalainen has opted to halt his motorsport activities until he has made a full recovery.

The 42-year-old was preparing to return to the Japanese Rally Championship this year and team up once again with Sae Kitagawa following their championship-winning success over the last two seasons.

However, a recent medical examination has put a stop to the entry, with Kovalainen now intending to have surgery in his native Finland.

Kovalainen's statement

A statement from Kovalainen read: “I was diagnosed with ascending aortic aneurysm in a medical check-up recently and I was told not to be able to participate in rallies due to increased risk of aortic rupture.

"I have no symptoms and I’m currently feeling good, and we are now making a plan on how to solve this issue.

"An open-heart surgery is our favourable solution at the moment and we are preparing for that. We hope to get an operation done and start the recovery as soon as possible.

"My aim is of course to return to the Japanese Rally Championship with Rally Team AICELLO. I was planning to participate in the rallies until the end of January, but after careful consideration with my team of doctors I’ve decided to try and fix this issue instead.

"I’m sorry for all our team partners and fans for this problem and many thanks for all the encouragement and support regarding this."

Kovalainen spent several years competing in F1 and emerged victorious at the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix during his first of two seasons partnered alongside Lewis Hamilton at McLaren.

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