Kubicas 2011 campaign in doubt after rally crash 06 Feb 2011
Renault race driver Robert Kubica looks set to miss part - if not all - of the 2011 Formula One season after suffering multiple fractures to his right arm, leg and hand in a high-speed accident on Sunday, while competing in the Ronde di Andora Rally in Italy.
Kubica, who regularly combines rallying events with his F1 career, was airlifted from the scene of the crash and underwent lengthy surgery at the Santa Corona Hospital in Pietra Ligure, with most attention focused on his heavily injured hand. His co-driver Jakub Gerber was unhurt.
Reports suggest that Kubica lost control of his Skoda Fabia on damp roads and hit a wall during Sundays opening stage. The car is then understood to have impacted with a barrier, which pierced its footwell.
Following seven hours of surgery, doctors were reasonably satisfied with the way the operation went and Kubicas condition was described as stable but serious. After the procedure he was placed into an induced coma and could be woken up on Monday morning.
It has been a very important and difficult operation, said Professor Mario Igor Rossello, Director for the Regional Centre of Hand Surgery at San Paolo Hospital in Savona. Robert Kubica's right forearm was cut in two places, with significant lesions to the bones and the tendons.
We did our best to rebuild the functions of the forearm. It took seven doctors, split into two teams and a total of seven hours to complete the operation. One team was the emergency task force from the hospital of San Paolo (Savona) that is normally appointed to treat this sort of injury, while the other team came from the orthopaedic department of the Santa Corona Hospital (Pietra Ligure).
At the end of the operation, Robert's hand was well vascularised and warm, which is encouraging. Following the surgery, Robert Kubica will remain under permanent monitoring overnight because his condition remains serious.
Rossello added that it would be around a week before the success of the operation could be judged fully, warning that the Polish driver is likely to face an extended rehabilitation period, possibly 12 months, to regain full use of his hand.
Kubica, who survived an horrific crash at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix, was set to start his fifth full season of Formula One competition in Bahrain next month, lining up for a second year alongside Russian team mate Vitaly Petrov.
"The news of Robert's accident came as a real shock to the whole team, said team principal Eric Boullier. All of us, at Lotus Renault GP, wish him a quick recovery. We have been really impressed with the way the doctors looked after him today and we would like to thank the whole team of the Santa Corona Hospital for their professional approach and dedication. I will be travelling to Italy tomorrow, along with Vitaly Petrov, in order to see Robert and tell him that we are impatiently waiting for his return."
Top of the list to stand in for Kubica will be Bruno Senna, who raced for HRT in 2010 and was announced as a Renault third driver last week. However, given Sennas and Petrovs relative inexperience - and the apparent seriousness of Kubicas injuries - there's already speculation the team could consider other options.