Ex-Formula 1 driver transferred to hospital after villa catches fire

Alex Zanardi won the IndyCar title twice.

Former Formula 1 driver and two-time IndyCar champion, Alex Zanardi, is currently in a hospital in Vicenza after his villa caught fire.

Zanardi raced in F1 in five seasons between 1991 and 1999, scoring points at the 1993 Brazilian Grand Prix for Lotus.

In three of his years away from the pinnacle of motorsport, he raced with Chip Ganassi, winning 15 of the 66 races he contested with them in three years between 1996 and 1998.

His three wins and six podiums in 1996 helped him to third in the championship, before he took five wins and seven podiums a year later, securing his maiden title.

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The Italian made 15 rostrum appearances – seven of which were wins – in 1998 as he retained his crown, before moving back to F1 with Williams in 1999, and he recorded a best finish that year of seventh at the Italian and Malaysian Grand Prix.

Zanardi would later return to IndyCar with Mo Nunn Racing in 2001, managing a best finish of fourth in Toronto, but it was at the American Memorial Grand Prix where he suffered life changing injuries.

The now 55-year-old was involved in a horrifying crash towards the end of the race, after which he needed to have both legs amputated.

However, quintessential of his remarkable fighting spirit, he was back in a race car by 2005, contesting the World Touring Car Championship between 2005 and 2009 with BMW Team Italy-Spain.

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Zanardi won four races in those five seasons, and went on to compete in Blancpain, DTM and Sports Cars until 2019.

The former Lotus driver took up cycling after he lost his legs and, incredibly, would win four gold medals at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016.

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However, he was set back again in 2020 when he was involved in a cycling accident while competing in the Italian National Road Race.

Zanardi suffered serious head and face injuries as a result, and he has been at home ever since; it is reported that he is able to respond non-verbally to questions.

Now, his villa has caught fire after a fault with his solar panel system, and he has been transferred to hospital, with SID in Germany reporting that the “machines on which Zanardi depends were damaged” in the blaze.