Kubica faces a long recovery from rally crash injuries

Posted on February 7, 2011

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Robert Kubica faces a long road to recovery and may never get back all the movement in his right hand, his surgeons have said.

Kubica face a long recovery before getting back in a car. Credit: Lotus Renault

The Lotus Renault driver spent seven hours in surgery on Sunday as two teams of doctors battled to repair the damage caused in a high speed rally accident.

In a a statement, the team said he suffered multiple fractures to his right hand, arm and leg, plus bad cuts to his right arm. There has been some nerve and tendon damage, meaning doctors cannot yet how well the surgery will take.

Professor Mario Igor Rossello, director for the regional centre of hand surgery at San Paolo Hospital in Savona: “It has been a very important and difficult operation.

“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.

“At the end of the operation, Robert’s hand was well vascularised and warm, which is encouraging.”

Kubica was kept in an induced coma overnight and further statements on his condition are expected today.

It seems certain the Polish driver will now miss the start of the 2011 Formula One season, indeed he may well miss the whole year.

There is the sad possibility this injury could take him out of the sport altogether. If movement can’t be recovered in his right hand, it would be hard to control all of the functions on the steering wheel.

Either way it is a great shame for a driver who could have challenged for wins. Renault have produced an innovative car, which finished the Valencia test fastest, and Kubica bears many of the hallmarks of a champion in waiting.

Team principal Eric Boullier said Lotus Renault would be standing by their driver, adding: “All of us, at Lotus Renault GP, wish him a quick recovery.

“I will be traveling to Italy [today], along with Vitaly Petrov, in order to see Robert and tell him that we are impatiently waiting for his return.”

The team has a choice to make over its lead driver for this year. Kubica will be a huge loss on the development side and it’s only Petrov’s second year.

Both Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean are in reserve but alongside Petrov but either would make for a very inexperienced team with little proven pace.

I wonder if Nick Heidfeld might get a call to bring some experience on board. Even trying to get Nico Hulkenberg out of the Force India reserve role could be a quicker option.

A very long bet could be Anthony Davidson – he’s been out of Formula One since 2008 but he has been active in other series and commentates for 5Live. He was also linked with seats at the new teams in 2010. Stranger things have happened.

Update @ 13.07:

Lotus Renault have issued a further statement this lunchtime, saying doctors are broadly happy with Kubica’s progress.

They said there was no swelling or infection following Sunday’s long operation. Medical sedation is being used to keep Kubica out for 24 hours or so.

But the statement did say a further operation may be required to finish repairs on the driver’s shoulder and elbow.

Team principal Eric Boullier has said this morning there is no way to see Kubica back in the car before May. This sounds optimistic, given other statements from the medics, but who knows.

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