“I will not be back in the WTCC. It's a shame, but when one door closes a bigger one may open. It can be cool to move when there are new challenges, but there aren't any yet,” Zanardi was quoted as saying to British publication Autosport.
Italy will therefore lose two highly rated drivers for the 2010 season of the FIA WTCC – Zanardi and Larini – but both announced they are keen on experiencing other forms of motorsport in the near future.
Zanardi has been a works driver for German marque BMW for the last 5 years, since joining the series in 2005. During this period of time, he scored only 4 wins for his team and was never really in contention for the drivers' title. On the other hand, he did help BMW clinch 3 consecutive manufacturers' titles in the series, from 2005 to 2007.
At 43 years of age, Zanardi's resume includes several outstanding performances, including a couple of CART titles in the 1990s and some dozens of GP presences in Formula One. The one thing that most racing fans remember Zanardi from is his terrible accident during his ChampCar race at Lausitz, which left him without both legs midway through the 2001 season.
He didn't give up racing though, as he returned to full-time action during the 2004 ETCC season wearing prosthetic legs. As for his future plans in motor racing, Zanardi is yet to reveal any of it to the media.