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F1 2022

The F1 drivers who also competed in the Olympics

The Winter Olympics currently taking place in Beijing may seem a world away from Formula 1, but there have in fact been a number of drivers in the past who have competed in the Games.

Formula 1 and the Olympics are two areas of sport that do not have an obvious connection. However, there are in fact a number of former F1 drivers who have taken their chances at the Games.

Amongst these was Ben Pon. The entrepreneur and racing driver competed in one race in the premier class, in which he crashed out on the second lap.

Pon also struggled to achieve success when he took part in the Olympic Games. The Dutchman participated in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, where he competed in clay pigeon shooting, but failed to win any medals.

Other ex-Formula 1 drivers also failed to score highly at the Olympics. Prince Bira sailed for Thailand in the Summer Olympics on four occasions, but never picked up a medal. Meanwhile, Britain's Divina Galica also came away empty-handed when she competed four times for her home country in skiing.

There have been several other former F1 drivers to try their luck in the Olympics, including Spain's Alfonso de Portago (Bobsleigh), Argentina's Roberto Mieres (Sailing), America's Bob Said (Bobsleigh) and Britain's Robin Widdows (Bobsleigh). All failed to win a medal.

Zanardi won gold four times

The most successful ex-Formula 1 driver at the Games is Alex Zanardi. The Italian raced for Jordan, Lotus and Williams in F1, and was also active in a forerunner of the American IndyCar series.

Zanardi lost both legs after a CART crash at the Lausitzring in Germany in 2001, but that did not stop him from achieving sporting success. In 2012, he competed in the Paralympic Games in London, and won two gold medals in the handcycling event. He went on to claim a third at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

In total, Zanardi won six medals at the Paralympic Games, with four gold and two silver. The Italian suffered a handbike accident in 2020, where he collided head-on with a lorry and was left with 'severe' neurological damage.

His wife, Daniela, gave an update on his condition in December, stating that her husband's recovery is ongoing.

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