Alessandro Zanardi, a former Italian professional Formula One driver and winner of four Paralympic gold medals, underwent surgery on Friday after undergoing an accident during an exhibition, but remains in “very serious” conditions.
“Regarding the clinical conditions of Alex Zanardi, hospitalized in very serious conditions at the Santa María alle Scotte Polyclinic due to an accident that occurred outside of Siena, the Health Department reports that the neurosurgery operation to which he was subjected the athlete, due to severe head trauma, started at 19:00 (17:00 GMT) and ended shortly before 22:00 (20:00 GMT), ”the Tuscan hospital said in an official statement.
“The patient was then transferred to intensive care. His health conditions are very serious, “he concluded.
According to the reconstructions, Zanardi suffered an accident with a truck while participating in the Obiettivo Tricolor exhibition, a sports event organized to symbolize the return to normality after the coronavirus pandemic.
Born in Bologna in 1966, Zanardi began his career as a kart car driver and competed in Formula 1 from 1991 to 1994 and in 1999, competing with teams Jordan, Lotus, Minardi and Williams.
He suffered the amputation of both legs as a result of the serious accident suffered in 2001 at the German Lausitzring circuit, in a race of the “American ChampCar Championship”.
The Italian, who was leading the test, lost control of his Reynard-onda at the exit of the pits, spun in the middle of the track at the moment his compatriot Alex Tagliani arrived, who could do nothing to avoid the violent impact.
Zanardi’s Reynard-Honda was split in two and the Italian pilot was admitted to a hospital in Berlin, where he remained in a barbiturate coma for several days, and the doctors had no choice but to amputate his legs, in a desperate attempt to save his lifetime.
After the serious accident, “Alex”, as he is nicknamed in Italy, did not quit the sport, but instead started a successful career as a para-cyclist that led him to conquer four Olympic gold medals and twelve world golds.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora, Formula 1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi or swimmer Federica Pellegrini sent messages of support to Zanardi through their social networks, which multiply in these hours.