Ex-F1 driver and two-time CART champion Alex Zanardi has been airlifted to Siena’s Santa Maria alle Scotte University Hospital and is intensive care following a road accident on Friday.
The 53-year-old was competing in a handcycling event in his native Italy when he was involved in a traffic accident, with local media reporting that he collided with a truck.
A bulletin issued by the hospital stated:
“Alex Zanardi, car driver, paracyclist and TV presenter, was hospitalised in very serious conditions at the polyclinic Santa Maria alle Scotte.
“He was involved in a road accident in the province of Siena. Zanardi was transported with the Pegaso helicopter and landed at the hospital in Siena at 6.00 pm.
“He was immediately taken care of by the emergency room professionals, assessed in the shock room and his conditions are very serious due to the severe head injury and is currently undergoing a delicate neurosurgery.”
Zanardi was competing on a stage of the Obiettivo Tricolore relay event, which runs around Italy for two weeks.
The accident happened on the SP146 between the country towns of Pienza and San Quirico d’Orcia.
Witnesses of the accident have reported that Zanardi lost control, flipped and went into the oncoming lane where he was collected by a truck.
Because the accident occurred in a forested area the helicopter couldn’t land at the crash site, and Zanardi had to be transferred to a field where the helicopter could land.
Zanardi has 41 Grand Prix starts to his name with a career best finish of sixth at the 1993 Brazilan Grand Prix