RACE DEBRIEF

    Alex Zanardi has been transferred from hospital to a "specialized recovery and functional rehabilitation center," more than a month after he was first admitted following a road accident while riding his handbike in Italy.

    The former Lotus and Williams F1 driver was involved in a crash near Siena in June and was immediately taken to hospital by air ambulance, where he has undergone three neurological surgeries, with his condition described as "very serious" by his doctors as he was kept in an induced coma.

    But on Tuesday, medical staff from Siena’s Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital announced that his sedation had gradually been decreased and that "the normality of the cardio-respiratory and metabolic parameters, the stability of the general clinical conditions and the neurological picture" meant he could be transferred to a rehabilitation facility - a move which has now taken place.

    Hospital general manager Valtere Giovannini said: "Our professionals remain at the disposal of this extraordinary person and his family for the further stages of clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic development, as always happens in these cases.

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    Zanardi has won four gold medals at the Paralympics since losing his legs in a racing accident

    "I sincerely thank the multidisciplinary team that took care of Zanardi putting in place a great professionalism, recognized nationally and beyond.

    "The athlete spent over a month in our hospital: he underwent three delicate surgeries and showed a path of stability of his clinical conditions and vital parameters that allowed the reduction and suspension of sedation, and the consequent possibility to be transferred to a facility for the necessary neuro-rehabilitation."

    No further information has been released about his condition, or the extent or timeframe expected for his recovery.

    The 53-year-old raced for Jordan, Minardi, Lotus and Williams in F1, and won two CART championship titles in America, before a shocking racing acccident in Germany in 2001 resulted in his legs being amputated.

    Remarkably, he recovered and returned to racing with specially adapted cars, and also took up handbike racing, winning an astonishing four gold medals at the Paralympics and inspiring millions around the world in the process.