Forrmer F1 driver-turned-multiple Paralympic champion Alex Zanardi has been taken to hospital after being involved in a serious accident with another vehicle while training on his handbike.

The 53-year old Italian reportedly lost control of his bike coming into a downhill stretch and veered into oncoming traffic, one of which was a ‘heavy vehicle’

Airlifted to hospital in Seina, the Independent reports Zanardi was on the road in his full distinctive tricolore Italian paralympic squad gear when he seemingly misjudged a bend. According to  police officials in Montepulciano have said they believed he was alive but seriously hurt.

News of his accident quickly drew concern from his peers, Indy legend Mario Andretti taking to Twitter to say: “I am so anxious and frightened about Alex Zanardi that I'm holding my breath. I am his fan. I am his friend. Please do what I'm doing and pray for this wonderful man,” 

This latest episode could become the latest challenge for Zanardi in a career that has become a shining example of how to triumph against adversity. Though three seasons of F1 racing with Lotus (1993, 1994) and Williams in 1999 only brought him fleeting success at international level, he did clinch two CART open-wheel titles.

However, a freak high-speed accident accident during a 2001 CART race at the Lausitzring would see Zanardi suffer horrific injuries. Though they saved his life, his legs had to be amputated.

Despite this, Zanardi went on to rebuild his racing career with a successful stint in touring cars and sportscars using hand controls, before turning his attention to the Paralympics, where he is now a four-time gold medal winner.