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Last Updated: Monday, 30 October 2006, 17:49 GMT
Zanardi to return to F1 cockpit
Alex Zanardi
Zanardi last raced in Formula One seven years ago
Alex Zanardi will return to the Formula One cockpit, five years after losing his legs in a near-fatal accident.

The former F1 driver will test for BMW Sauber in a modified version of this year's Grand Prix car in Valencia, Spain, next month.

The car has had hand-operated controls fitted on to the steering wheel.

Zanardi, 40, had both legs amputated after a 320kph (199mph) crash at Germany's Lausitzring while racing in the US-based Champ Car series in 2001.

But the Italian, who drove for Jordan, Minardi, Lotus and Williams in the 1990s, has since made an impressive racing comeback - winning two rounds of the FIA world touring car championship (WTCC) with BMW.

I'm really excited to see what has changed since my last Grand Prix in 1999

Alex Zanardi
"Of course, I know that I won't get a contract with the Formula One team," said double Champ Car series champion Zanardi.

"However, having the chance to drive an F1 racer again is just incredible.

"Formula One is all about development speed. Therefore I'm really excited to see what has changed since my last Grand Prix in 1999. I still feel the fire burning in me.

BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen praised Zanardi for the "unprecedented show of will and determination" that had marked his return to competion after a crash that initially was expected to end his career.

He added: "It was rather a joke when Zanardi asked me at the beginning of the year if he could do an F1 test with us.

"We will give him this chance now, the engineers made it possible. I cannot wait to watch his reaction after the test."



SEE ALSO
Zanardi seals fairytale victory
28 Aug 05 |  Motorsport
Zanardi makes low-key start
28 Mar 04 |  Motorsport
Zanardi quits racing
11 May 03 |  Motorsport
Zanardi looks to new horizons
10 Jul 02 |  Motorsport
Motorsport shaken by Zanardi crash
17 Sep 01 |  Motorsport


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