Alessandro "Alex" Zanardi is an Italian professional racing driver and paracyclist.
71 Facts About Alex Zanardi
Alex Zanardi won the CART championship in 1997 and 1998, and took 15 wins in the series.
Alex Zanardi raced in Formula One from 1991 to 1994 and again in 1999; his best result was a sixth-place finish in the 1993 Brazilian GP.
Alex Zanardi returned to CART in 2001, but a major crash in the 2001 American Memorial resulted in the amputation of his legs.
In September 2011, Alex Zanardi won his first senior international handcycling medal, the silver medal in the H4 category time trial at the UCI World Road Para-Cycling Championships.
On 19 June 2020, Alex Zanardi was involved in a serious road accident while competing in the Obiettivo tricolore handcycling race, near Siena.
Alex Zanardi was born in Bologna, Italy on 23 October 1966, son of Dino and Anna Zanardi.
Alex Zanardi's family moved to the town of Castel Maggiore on the city's outskirts when he was four years of age.
Alex Zanardi's sister Cristina was a promising swimmer prior to her death in an automobile collision in 1979.
Alex Zanardi built his kart from the wheels of a dustbin and pipes from his father's work.
In 1989, Alex Zanardi took two pole positions and three podiums despite his team's switching to unleaded fuel, which reduced his car's engine power.
Alex Zanardi won his F3000 debut race, scoring two more wins that season and finishing second in the championship.
In 1992 Alex Zanardi had to be content with guest drives for Minardi, replacing the injured Christian Fittipaldi.
Alex Zanardi later stated that in hindsight, he should have stayed on as the Benetton test driver as he would likely have been given a full-time drive for 1994 following Riccardo Patrese's retirement, where he would have been in a race-winning car alongside that year's world champion Michael Schumacher.
Alex Zanardi compared reasonably to teammate Johnny Herbert in 1993 and was important in fine-tuning the team's active suspension system, scoring his only F1 point at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Alex Zanardi was injured when an elderly motorist collided with his bicycle, knocking him down and running over Zanardi's left foot.
Alex Zanardi's season ended prematurely after he sustained a concussion as a result of a crash in practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Still recovering, Alex Zanardi missed the beginning of the 1994 season while he was working as a test driver for Lotus, but he returned in the Spanish Grand Prix, replacing Pedro Lamy, who had been injured in a testing crash.
However, Lotus struggled in its final season in F1 and Alex Zanardi failed to score a single point or qualify higher than 13th.
Alex Zanardi's first meeting was at a Porsche Supercup event at Imola.
Zanardi later raced at a four-hour event at Donington Park, where he and Alex Portman retired with eight minutes remaining despite leading by over a lap.
Alex Zanardi felt that finding a race seat would be easy with Formula One experience, but no teams drew any interest.
Alex Zanardi rapidly became one of the series' most popular drivers.
Alex Zanardi took the pole for his second race, although his first win didn't come until mid-season.
Alex Zanardi improved his form in CART in 1997, winning five of seventeen races, including three in a row and four of the five rounds held in the mid to late portion of the season en route to winning the Drivers' Championship.
Williams visited Alex Zanardi, who signed a three-year contract in July 1998 which was publicly confirmed in September of that year.
Alex Zanardi began testing at the end of that year alongside test driver Juan Pablo Montoya.
Alex Zanardi showed promise in the warm-up with 6th but the race saw him crash out on lap 21.
Alex Zanardi started 16th and retired with a differential failure.
Alex Zanardi incurred a $5,000 fine for speeding in the pit lane.
Alex Zanardi's car was suffering electronic issues and ran a steady 7th in the closing stages and ran over oil from Johnny Herbert's Stewart at the Villeneuve chicane and spun into the gravel.
Alex Zanardi overtook David Coulthard and Heinz-Harald Frentzen at the start.
Alex Zanardi performed well at the start but had to take avoiding action when Alexander Wurz clipped Pedro Diniz.
The penultimate round in Malaysia had seen Alex Zanardi start from 16th with a first-lap collision that damaged his front rim with a pit-stop preventing better progress.
Alex Zanardi later ran wide, which caused damage to the car radiators and prompted another pit-stop with Zanardi finishing 10th.
Alex Zanardi tested for Mo Nunn in July at Sebring driving for 246 laps and opted to sign to the team for 2001.
For most of the season, Alex Zanardi had little success, with three top-ten finishes and a best result of fourth place in the 2001 Molson Indy Toronto.
Alex Zanardi lost both legs in the impact and nearly three-quarters of his blood volume, though rapid medical intervention saved his life.
Alex Zanardi was fitted with two prosthetic limbs and began rehabilitating.
Dissatisfied with the limitations of legs available commercially, Alex Zanardi designed and built his own custom legs, to allow him to compare the weight and stiffness of various feet to find the ones most suitable for racing.
In 2002, CART honoured Alex Zanardi by allowing him to wave the checkered flag in Toronto, Canada.
In 2003, Alex Zanardi was ready to take to the track again, with the aid of hand-operated brake and accelerator controls.
Alex Zanardi competed at Monza, Italy in a round of the 2003 European Touring Car Championship, in his first race since the accident in a touring car modified to allow the use of his prosthetic feet, finishing the race in seventh.
In 2004, Alex Zanardi returned to racing full-time, driving for Roberto Ravaglia's BMW Team Italy-Spain in the FIA European Touring Car Championship.
On 24 August 2005, Alex Zanardi won his first world series race, celebrating with a series of trademark "donuts".
Alex Zanardi took further wins at Istanbul in 2006 and Brno in 2008 and 2009.
Alex Zanardi took the 2005 Italian Superturismo Championship as organised by the Automobile Club d'Italia with eight victories from twelve races in a Team BMW Italy-entered BMW 320si run by ROAL Motorsport.
Alex Zanardi returned to a Formula One car in late November 2006 at a testing session for BMW Sauber in Valencia, Spain.
The Alex Zanardi chassis has been raced in the European KF1 Championship and World Championship as well as in many other racing events worldwide.
In November 2012, Alex Zanardi tested a BMW DTM touring car, completing 32 laps of the Nurburgring.
Alex Zanardi later said that the test had rekindled his interest in motor racing, and in January 2014, it was announced that he would return to motorsport in the 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series season, racing a BMW Z4 GT3 for Ravaglia's ROAL Motorsport team.
Alex Zanardi returned to American motor racing by entering the 2019 24 Hours of Daytona that January.
Alex Zanardi has since taken up handcycling in earnest, and competed at the Para-Cycling Road World Championships in 2009.
Alex Zanardi stated that he was targeting a place in the Italian team for the 2012 Summer Paralympics.
In 2011, at his fourth attempt, Alex Zanardi won the New York City Marathon in his handcycling class.
On 5 September 2012, Alex Zanardi won a gold medal in the men's road time trial H4 at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, finishing 27.14 seconds ahead of Nobert Mosandi at Brands Hatch in Kent.
The bike used by Alex Zanardi was constructed by Italian racecar constructor Dallara.
Alex Zanardi was voted the best male athlete of the 2012 Paralympics.
Alex Zanardi used a handbike for the cycling section and a wheelchair for the running section.
In September 2015, Alex Zanardi announced that he would be taking part in the Berlin Marathon using a recumbent hand cycle.
On 22 September 2018, in a triathlon competition in Cervia, Italy, Alex Zanardi smashed the Ironman world record in the category of disabled people, with a time of 8:26'6.
On 19 June 2020, Alex Zanardi was involved in a serious accident while competing in the Obiettivo tricolore Italian national road race for paralympic athletes.
Emergency services attended the scene after other competitors helped to raise the alarm, and Alex Zanardi was airlifted to the Santa Maria alle Scotte Hospital in Siena.
Alex Zanardi was treated in intensive care for serious head injuries.
In September 2020, it was reported that Alex Zanardi was showing signs of interaction but that his condition remained "serious," and that he had undergone several surgeries to reconstruct his face.
In November 2020, Alex Zanardi was transferred to a hospital in Padua, which was closer to his home to continue his recovery.
In December 2020, it was reported that Alex Zanardi regained his sight and hearing; he could respond non-verbally to questions and shake hands on demand.
In January 2021, it was reported that Alex Zanardi was able to speak again following a waking surgery.
Alex Zanardi wrote the opening chapters for the books of Steve Olvey, the former CART medical director, including, Rapid Response: My Inside Story as a Motor Racing Life Saver.
Alex Zanardi was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2013 and will be inducted into Long Beach Motorsports walk of fame in 2022.
In July 2022 Alex Zanardi was hospitalized after a fire broke out at his home in Italy due to a defect on his home's solar panels which damaged medical equipment he used while recovering from his hand-cycling crash, he was later released back to his home 76 days later in September.