CHAMPCAR/CART: An interview with Alex Zanardi

A month after his huge crash at The American Memorial on the Eurospeedway at Lausitzring, Alessandro Zanardi appeared on Italian TV for an interview. Here is the transcript. <B>"I know that was difficult for you to decided to give this ...

A month after his huge crash at The American Memorial on the Eurospeedway at Lausitzring, Alessandro Zanardi appeared on Italian TV for an interview. Here is the transcript.

<B>"I know that was difficult for you to decided to give this interview and return on TV after the accident: have you regained your serenity, Alessandro?"</B>

"Frankly I never lost it. At the beginning there was a initial period when I had nothing because I passed a week in a state of coma but then, when I was completely awake, the awareness to be alive, to have made fun with death for the umpteenth time and to be here again, was the sentiment that overwhelmed all the other sensations"

<B>"What do you remember about the accident?"</B>

"Very little. I remember fragments of the race weekend, I remember very well the hotel, very beautiful, a castle ....."

<B>".... and when the crash happened ?"</B>

"No, I don't remember absolutely anything. I don't remember even the track, I don't remember even the introduction of the drivers. I remember a very little, vaguely ..... technical briefings .... with my team mate ...."

<B>"Nothing at the moment of the accident...."</B>

"No, absolutely nothing"

<B>"What is the first thing that you saw or that you thought when you was woke up?"</B>

"My wife! " he said laughing, "It was my wife. Really I have another memory, two dear friends that were next to me, at a certain point screamed my name and I opened my eyes a few moments. When later they told to me that fact, then I recalled it. In any case the most vivid and real recall is when I woke up completely with Daniela at my side and she talked to me, she explained to me the situation ...."

<B>"It was Daniela to say to you that you lost both legs ..... how were the things?"</B>

"At the moment I was so happy to be alive .... I really was not very well while at the moment the things are changed a lot. Now it's frustrating to wait because physically I have regained the strength."

<B>"The operation was seven hours long but was not the only one, there were following other operations..."</B>

"We can say that gradually the other operations became, above all, only a check, in the operating room but basically they were only checks. The right leg was fine almost immediately after the main operation so the doctors 'closed' it while the left leg that, among other things, is the shorter one, has had big problems because there were a lot of fragments of carbon fiber which is the material used to make the race cars. Naturally when my car exploded a lot of pieces mixed with the remaining part of my legs completely exposed and that created a lot of problems, there was an infection that was treated very well"

<B>"Accident apart, you was very lucky to be in the right hands and in a well equipped structure ...."</B>

"Absolutely! I think that I couldn't fall in better hands!" 

<B>"You were in the lead when the crash happened ...."</B>

"Mannaggia!", that's a typical Italian way to regret a thing, Alessandro said, laughing!

<B>"Now that you are far from that race, is the fact to know that you was in the lead a consolation or not?"</B>

"Surely there is a sense of frustration, something like 'from the stars to the dust' but that it's life. I would have preferred to conclude those 13 laps and finish the race in the lead, of course, to give to my team the satisfaction that we were waiting with a lot of patience throughout the whole season."

<B>"Do you feel anger?"</B>

"Honestly, this thing it took a lot out of me but, on the other hand, it taught me a lot of things. First of all I thought that I made something good in my life because there is a lot of people that love me, really a lot of people, I was not aware that they love me so much. I had signals of affect from fans, from drivers...."

<B>"Have you received a greeting or a phrase that you were not expecting from your colleagues?"</B>

"Frankly there were two-three drivers that I always considered my friends, Max Papis my compatriot that is he too in the CART Championship, Jimmy Vasser my former teammate .... those are things that I cannot say on TV... Jimmy said that he will be with me, at the end of the season he wants to come stay with me. However I received telephone calls from everywhere in the World especially from those people that were always on my side, real fans. Beyond that, I discovered to have a fantastic family, I'm looking forward to arrive at Christmas to assemble all of them around a table because then these bad moment will be over and that day will be a very happy one."

<B>"In these moments is your family that give you the strength: your wife, your son, your mother .... "</B>

"Yes, it's the love of the people .... it's very important to know how you are important for them, it's very beautiful, the union make you stronger, it help a lot. At the beginning there were some nights when ..... I slept seven days in a row so after that it was very hard to find a deep sleep .... I was not fine, at the contrary I had bad sensations, I was full of medicines, I was swearing, I had a sense of discomfort so during the night I was driven to think bad thoughts about my life. At the end I accepted it because I know it will be very hard but I have a lot of life to live and a lot of things to do."

<B>"You met your mother only a few days ago ...."</B>

"My mother in this situation was incredible, if such a thing would have happened to my son I think that I would became crazy ...."

<B>"Alessandro, was it only a misfortune or are these races are too dangerous, too risky for the drivers?"</B>

"Absolutely, it was misfortune. Nowadays the cars are very safe but on the other hand there is a limit, it's clear that when you pass that limit nothing can protect you."

<B>"There is something that annoy you, something that you refuse?"</B>

"No, I'm a person that fundamentally looks forward..... I'm not happy, I can't tell that this was the dream of my whole life, to find myself in this bed of hospital , however .... . The only thing that annoys me is the weather here in Berlin that is terrible! [laughing]. I repeat, I must look forward, I'm very, very happy of the life I had until today, there aren't so many guys of my age with so many stamp on the passport. I made a lot of things in the past and many other things I will do again. I cannot complain ..... it's clear that it could finish better than this with hindsight but I have a fantastic family that will be next to me. I will have bad moments, no doubt, I will be obliged to sweat, to toil but I'm not paralyzed ....."

<B>"How do you imagine the future? You cannot race like before but you can remain in the milieu of the racing, you will be able to do a lot of things, your 35th birthday is very near and you are not lacking of courage: how do you see it?"</B>

"The most important thing is that I will be able to have my 35th birthday ! They [the doctors] saved my life because to arrive here with less than a liter of blood and to save my life is not 'nothing'. I think that my wife was the only one that was betting on my life but notwithstanding that I'm here to talk with you, this is a very important thing. About the rest, I will see"

<B>"Even from this bed you continued to follow what was happening in the World: when there is a big problem like your, what is the space remaining for the rest?"</B>

"The two things are completely different [the war in Afghanistan and his condition], absolutely different. My sentiments are the same of the overwhelming majority of the other people"

<B>"About the strength you have, have you had it always or you have found it now that you have the need of it?"</B>

"I don't know .... I'm from Bologna, we are made in this way!" said Alessandro with another laugh.

<B>"Niccolo: it's a beautiful child, he is arrived here!"</B>

"Yes, he is arrived here and I'm very happy", and saying that, Alessandro's eyes were shining of contentment. "Of course this is not the right place for him but I read in his eyes that he is happy to be here with his mom and his dad because he was starting to ask to himself what was happening. He is with us now but I hope to leave the hospital very soon , I hope he will resist here until that day, I hope that we will return at home all together"

<B>"You have now fear but do you have doubts on how you will react from time to time?"</B>

"This is a condition that I must discover . At the moment my ambition is to be able to walk again and to put my son on my shoulders, I'm sure I will be able to do it. Then, if a day I will be able also to ski, I don't know, to cycle, to do things that at the moment seems impossible to me, so much the better! Surely since I will be able to stand up, I will try to work for those objectives that potentially are achievable from time to time."

<B>"Surely you have thought about the first thing that you want to do when you will be outside of this hospital!"</B>

"As soon I will be outside from here, I will go at my home in Montecarlo, I want to stay there for three-four days to rest and to play with the remote control and watch a TV channel that speaks with my own language, to live the normal life of every day .... and then it will start my second life, in the sense that I must to learn to walk again with the prosthetic, I will have waiting times due to the fact that the wounds are not completely healed but meanwhile I can do physiotherapy until the day I will be able to stand up" and saying that Alessandro opened his eyes wide with a big smile.

<B>"Alessandro, you are already standing after the words you said today! Thank you very much for this meeting also in the name of those that listened this interview"</B>

"Thanks to you!"


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About this article
Series Formula 1 , IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Max Papis , Alex Zanardi