'Significant improvements': Major update in stricken F1 legend's condition

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Alex Zanardi, pictured here in the Championship Auto Racing Teams in 1998.
Alex Zanardi looks on during testing for the Championship Auto Racing Teams in 1998. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Former F1 driver Alex Zanardi has been transferred to a hospital closer to his home after “significant clinical improvements” following a horrific road accident.

In a statement on Saturday, the San Raffaele hospital in Milan said on the 54-year-old Paralympic champion “has been transferred to a hospital in Padua”.

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The hospital added that Zanardi has “reached a physical and neurological condition of general stability which has allowed the transfer to another hospital facility and the consequent approach to the family home.”

Zanardi underwent carnio-facial reconstruction after suffering serious head injuries when his handbike crashed into an oncoming truck during a race in Tuscany in June.

He was transferred to the Milan hospital on July 24 “in conditions of severe neurological and systemic instability”.

Alex Zanardi, pictured here at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Alex Zanardi celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men's Individual H4 Road Race at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

“In the last two months, he has also been able to undertake a path of physical and cognitive rehabilitation,” the hospital added.

“After a period during which he underwent intensive care following hospitalisation, the patient has responded with significant clinical improvements.

“For this reason, he is currently being assisted and treated in semi-intensive care at the Neuroanimation Unit, directed by Professor Luigi Beretta.”

Zanardi had both his legs amputated after a motor racing accident in 2001 at the Lausitzring track in Germany, and has since become one of the best-known figures in Paralympic sports.

He won two gold medals at the 2012 London Paralympic Games and four years later won two more in Rio.

Zanardi raced for Jordan, Minardi and Lotus in F1 in the early 1990s before switching to the CART championship in the United States where he was series champion in 1997 and 1998.

He returned to F1 with Williams in 1999 before heading back to CART.

Former boss’ uplifting Michael Schumacher news

The good news comes after F1 fans were given a rare update on the condition of Michael Schumacher last week.

Jean Todt, Schumacher’s former boss at Ferrari and the current head of the FIA, has been visiting the former driver regularly in recent months.

Todt revealed that the stricken F1 legend has been able to follow the progress of son Mick.

“Of course he is following him,” Todt told RTL France.

“Mick is probably going to race in Formula 1 next year which will be a great challenge.

“We would be delighted to have a new Schumacher at the highest level of motor racing.”

Michael Schumacher and Alex Zanardi, pictured here at the Australian Grand Prix in 1999.
Michael Schumacher and Alex Zanardi at the Australian Grand Prix in 1999. (AP Photo/Steve Holland)

Updates on Schumacher’s condition have been few and far between since he suffered devastating head injuries in a skiing accident in 2013.

Todt has been visiting Schumacher monthly and providing fans with snippets of new information.

“This is a question on which I am going to be extremely reserved,” Todt told RTL.

“I see Michael very often – once or twice a month. My answer is the same all the time – he fights.

“We can only wish for him and his family that things get better.”

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