Alex Zanardi Released From Hospital 18 Months After Paracycling Crash

The racing champ and paralympic legend will spend the holidays at home, surrounded by family members he hasn’t seen since early 2020.

byHazel Southwell|
F1 photo


Some truly good news to start the week: Alex Zanardi has, after 18 months, left the hospital and returned home to continue his recovery from a handcycling accident in the summer of 2020, according to a BMW interview with his wife Daniela Zanardi. Former CART, Formula One, and Paralympic gold medalist Zanardi has undergone lots of medical procedures, including five brain surgeries, and was showing improvements in early 2021, when he was able to speak to his family. 

"An important step was that Alex was able to leave hospital a few weeks ago and is back at home with us now," she said in the interview. "We had to wait very long for this and are very happy that it was possible now, even if there are still temporary stays in special clinics planned for the future to carry out special rehabilitation measures on site.”

Zanardi awaiting his stint during the Daytona 24 hours, BMW

There's never a good time to suffer major injuries and need a long hospital stay, but Daniela said her husband had found it particularly hard, over such a long time, during COVID-19 measures. “After the long time in hospital it is important for him to be back with his family and in his familiar environment," she explained. "You also have to consider that, due to the Corona situation, Alex had only people with face masks and in protective equipment around him for one and a half years. In addition, due to the comprehensive and important protective measures in the clinic, the visiting possibilities are, of course, very restricted."

Zanardi won the 1997 and 1998 CART championships (during the Indycar/CART split) and raced for Jordan, Minardi, Lotus, and Williams in Formula 1. After recovering from life-changing injuries that saw both his legs amputated, he returned to sports car and touring car racing, as well as becoming a multiple-time Paralympic gold medalist in cycling events. 

Recovering again from major injuries, Daniela reported that Zanardi has only been able to see his most immediate family, one at a time, for an hour and a half a day while hospitalized. Being able to be at home and surrounded by people at all times, she said, gives him additional energy for what's still set to be a long recovery.

"You still can’t predict how his recovery will further develop," she explained. "It is still a long and challenging way that Alex tackles with a lot of fighting spirit. It is a big help for him and us that we receive so much support in this way, not only from the doctors and therapists that intensively work with him. Our friends are always there for us."

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