Two-time CART champion and Paralympic gold medallist Alex Zanardi has been released from hospital more than 18 months on from his handbike accident.
Zanardi's wife Daniela gave an update on the 55-year-old's condition, having been overwhelmed by continued messages of support from the public.
“The recovery continues to be a long process,” she said.
“The rehabilitation programme led by doctors, physiotherapists, neuropsychologists and speech therapists has enabled steady progress. Of course, setbacks are there and can still occur.
“Sometimes you also have to make two steps back in order to make one step forward. But Alex proves again and again that he is a real fighter.
“An important step was that Alex was able to leave hospital a few weeks ago and is back at home with us now.
“We had to wait very long for this and are very happy that it was possible now, even if there are still temporary stays in special clinics planned for the future to carry out special rehabilitation measures on site.”
Daniela noted that a challenge of the past 18 months had been restrictions on hospital visits during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She added that progress on his physical condition had been particularly noticeable with regards to arm strength, but refrained from making predictions.
“You still can't predict how his recovery will further develop. It is still a long and challenging way that Alex tackles with a lot of fighting spirit,” she said.
“It is a big help for him and us that we receive so much support on this way, not only from the doctors and therapists that intensively work with him.
“Our friends are always there for us. This includes the BMW Group family which we can always count on and that is firmly at our side also in this difficult time.
“We are very grateful to everyone for that and for so much more because these strong ties give us additional energy. This also goes for the continued sympathy we receive from racing drivers, fans and acquaintances from all over the world.
“We would like to express a big Grazie to all who send their good thoughts and power to Alex. We wish everybody a merry Christmas and all the best for the new year.”