Daniela Zanardi shares about the latest happening with the former F1 and CART racer as he returns home after an extensive hospital stay.

In June 2020, CART legend and former Grand Prix driver was seriously injured once more.  This time, it was a hand-bike accident in Italy. Zanardi’s career and life, while it has been triumphant have been ultimately tragic also. Its just over 20 years since that horrendous day at the Lausitzring circuit when Zanardi was competing in the German 500.

Spinning when leaving the pits, one car missed him but Alex Tagliani did not and the story of his recovery and comeback and Olympic participation is legendary. Now, in December 2020, it is 18 months since his hand-bike accident. Once again, it has been a long, painful and arduous road to recovery.

Finally, he has left hospital and is now continuing to rehabilitate partly at his own home. A guy with a never say die attitude, in some ways it mirrors the late Niki Lauda. In July of 2021, his wife Daniela give an in-depth interview and update on the health of her husband, loved by her and much loved the world over. Five months have passed since then and Daniela Zanardi provided another in-depth interview with her husbands progress.

Here’s the Q&A as shared by BMW Motorsport –

Q) Daniela, the sympathy you receive from all over the world is certainly still very high?

 Zanardi: “Yes, we still get a lot of messages and especially on Alex’s 55th birthday in October it was overwhelming how many people have sent him their best wishes, also via social media. We are very grateful to see how many people all over the world have Alex in their thoughts. This great sympathy shows how much Alex’s recovery touches the people. For this reason, we have decided to offer the public an insight into his current recovery process for the second time with this interview. At the same time, we appreciate everybody’s understanding that, apart from this, we cannot respond to the many requests about this health and we also ask everybody to respect our privacy. Because our highest priority is to accompany Alex on his way with our full energy.”

 Q) What can you say about the recovery process? How is Alex these days?

Zanardi: “The recovery continues to be a long process. The rehabilitation programme led by doctors, physiotherapists, neuropsychologists and speech therapists has enabled steady progress. Of course, setbacks are there and can still occur. Sometimes you also have to make two steps back in order to make one step forward. But Alex proves again and again that he is a real fighter.”

… who has reached an important milestone!

Zanardi: “Yes, indeed. An important step was that Alex was able to leave hospital a few weeks ago and is back at home with us now. 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.”

Q) How did Alex settle at home?

 Zanardi: “Very well. After the long time in hospital it is important for him to be back with his family and in his familiar environment. 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.”

Q) What does that mean exactly?

Zanardi: “Alex hasn’t met friends and part of the family for one and a half years. Only me, our son and Alex’s mother could visit him, but always only one person per day and this only for one and a half hours. All this did not help to make the situation easier for Alex. Therefore it helps that he is now at home with us, even if also at home he currently can only be with the closest family as Corona numbers are increasing again. But we are with Alex all day, he is in his familiar environment and thus could return a little bit to normality. This gives him additional power. We are very grateful to the medical staff in the clinics he has been treated in. The doctors, care personnel, therapists and everybody being involved have done so much for Alex and continue to accompany us in his recovery process. In the clinics, Alex is in very good hands, but his own home still is his own home.”

 Q) What can you tell us about his daily programme and routine?

 Zanardi: “It varies. Different programmes Alex did in hospital, are continued at home now. During the week, a therapist works with him and they do physical, neurological and logopedical exercises. In regards of his physical condition, there is a lot of progress. Alex has more and more strength in the arms, that has increased a lot. And, other than in hospital where he was in bed a lot, Alex now spends most of the day in the wheel chair with us. He just rests a bit in the afternoon after lunch.”

 Q) What are the further expectations for his recovery process?

 Zanardi: “You still can’t predict how his recovery will further develop. 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 on this way, not only from the doctors and therapists that intensively work with him. Our friends are always there for us. This includes the BMW Group family which we can always count on and that is firmly at our side also in this difficult time. We are very grateful to everyone for that and for so much more because these strong ties give us additional energy. This also goes for the continued sympathy we receive from racing drivers, fans and acquaintances from all over the world. We would like to express a big Grazie to all who send their good thoughts and power to Alex. We wish everybody a merry Christmas and all the best for the new year.”

In September 2001, when Zanardi crashed in Germany, he could be forgiven for calling it a day after he recovered from what happened. He came back to Touring Cars and did not just compete, but won races. Others would have walked away from Motor-Sport. In short, they possibly would have felt they would have to do so.

The list of drivers who have come back from career threatening and life threatening injuries is endless: Piquet, Foyt, Mears, Moss, Lauda to name but 5.  We can for sure add Alex Zanardi to that list.  It is a long road ahead but you can bet when Alex Zanardi makes a full recovery, his mind might just possibly turn to racing in some shape way or form.

The story was written by Neil Farell

Here’s the last Q&A from Daniela Zanardi