Formula One teams take a huge risk when they let one of their star drivers contest other forms of motorsport during the offseason. Never mind questions of focus: crashes happen all the time in every motorsport discipline, and one false step can have disastrous consequences for both driver and team.
Renault, however, has long permitted Robert Kubica to have his run at rallying on the side. Not unlike Kimi Raikkonen, Kubica has been proving himself a competent rally driver, but his skills didn't prevent him from suffering a high-speed crash today at the Ronde di Andora rally. This was the first time Kubica – fresh from topping the time sheets in the third F1 test session at Valencia – was driving a top-spec Super 2000 rally car, in this case a Skoda Fabia, which he crashed during the opening stage.
The Polish driver was airlifted to a local hospital, and though sources confirm that he remained conscious throughout, reports of multiple broken bones are circulating. This close to the opening of the 2011 F1 campaign, observers can't help but wonder what will happen if Kubica isn't well enough to start the season. Fortunately for the team, they've lined up a full roster of reserve drivers, including Bruno Senna, who is tipped as the top among them.
Of course we wish Kubica – who bounced back well from his spectacular crash at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix – a full and (characteristically) speedy recovery, and hope to see him back at the wheel in full health in short order. Follow the jump for the brief statement from Renault, and watch this space for more.
UPDATE: Lotus Renault GP reports that Kubica is undergoing surgery for multiple fractures to his right hand, arm and leg. Updated statement posted after the jump.
[Sources: Renault, Autosport]
06.02.11 STATEMENT ON ROBERT KUBICA
Lotus Renault GP driver, Robert Kubica, suffered an accident at high speed this morning while competing in the Ronde di Andora Rally.
The driver was airlifted to Pietra Ligure Hospital, where he is currently undergoing medical checks. His co-driver is fine.
Lotus Renault GP will issue another statement as soon as more information is known about Robert's condition.
UPDATE ON ROBERT KUBICA'S CONDITION
After undergoing extensive medical checks this morning, Robert Kubica has been diagnosed with multiple fractures to his right arm, leg and hand. He is currently undergoing surgery at the Santa Corona Hospital in Pietra Ligure.
Robert suffered a high-speed accident this morning while competing in the Ronde di Andora Rally.
Daniel Morelli, Robert's manager, will be available for the press in front of the hospital emergency entrance at 16h30 CET.