Ex-Formula 1 driver Alex Zanardi’s health has shown “significant clinical improvements” as he continues to recover from the hand bike accident he suffered in June.

Zanardi, 53, sustained serious head and facial injuries when he lost control of his hand bike during a road race in Tuscany and collided with a truck on 19 June.

The Italian has since undergone four operations and was initially treated at the Santa Maria all Scotte hospital in Sienna, before being moved to the Villa Beretta rehabilitation facility near Lecco on 21 July after showing signs of improvement.

But after Zanardi’s condition deteriorated, he was transferred to the intensive care unit at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan on 24 July.

Here he was operated on for a fourth time by Professor Pietro Mortini, with the hospital confirming in its previous update that the surgery had been a success and Zanardi was stable.

In its latest update issued on Wednesday, the Milan hospital said Zanardi is now showing “clinical improvements” during his rehabilitation.

"After a period during which he was subjected to intensive care following hospitalisation on 24 July the patient responded with significant clinical improvements,” the hospital statement read.

"For this reason, he is currently assisted and treated with semi-intensive care at the Neuroreanimation Unit, directed by Professor Luigi Beretta.”

Zanardi raced in F1 for Jordan, Minardi, Lotus and Williams in the 1990s but switched to race in the CART Championship in the United States following a difficult stint in grand prix racing.

He went on to become CART champion before suffering a horrific accident at the Lausitzring in 2001 which resulted in both his legs being amputated.

Zanardi has since returned to motorsport in specially-adapted cars, while he has also won four olympic gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 games in London and Rio de Janeiro for his efforts in Para-cycling.

 

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