With his recovery still in the critical phase after his accident, it is looking ever more likely that Robert Kubica will be out for the season, and possibly for the rest of his career.
The Renault Formula One driver suffered a devastating crash yesterday at the Ronde di Andora rally in Italy, where he crashed his Super2000 Skoda Fabia into the side of a building at a reportedly very high speed. He was airlifted to a local hospital where teams of surgeons operated on injuries sustained to his right limbs, including severe tendon damage and multiple bone fractures in his right forearm.
Although Kubica does not appear to have suffered any serious neurological damage from the crash, the injuries sustained could spell the end of his career, as questions remain as to how fully he can recover. What looks to be all but certain, however, is that he will in all likelihood be watching the impending F1 season – set to start in about a month – from pit wall.
Fortunately for Renault – and unlike the situation faced by Ferrari after Felipe Massa's crash – the team has a deep roster of reserve drivers at the ready to partner with Vitaly Petrov, including Bruno Senna (who drove for HRT last season), Romain Grosjean (who drove for Renault two years ago), aspiring Asian drivers Fairuz Fauzy and Ho-Ping Tung, and LMS champion Jan Charouz.
Of course, at this point, everyone is wishing Kubica a fittingly speedy recovery, and we'll keep you updated on his progress. In the meantime, we invite you to follow the jump for the latest statements from the team, and for video footage of the surgeons' press conference outside the hospital.
[Source: Lotus Renault GP | Image: Roberto Ruscello/AP]
07.02.11 UPDATE ON ROBERT KUBICA
Robert's general condition is much better today.
After spending the night under constant observation, he was briefly woken up by the doctors of the Santa Corona Hospital (Pietra Ligure) this morning. The Lotus Renault GP driver was then able to talk to his relatives. He was also able to move his fingers, which is encouraging for the rest of his recovery process.
Professor Mario Igor Rossello, Director for the Regional Centre of Hand Surgery at San Paolo Hospital in Savona, did not notice any swelling or infection on his right forearm, and this is another good sign, although it will be several days before it is known if the operation has been 100% successful.
In order to avoid any physical stress, Robert will be put under gentle medication in order to sleep for the next 24 hours at least. Meanwhile, the doctors will decide how they will treat his elbow and shoulder fractures. Robert may have to undergo surgery once again for this, but not for a few days.
Lotus Renault GP wishes to thank the Hospital of San Paolo (Savona) and the Santa Corona Hospital (Pietra Ligure) for their professional approach and their dedication.
Lotus Renault GP will issue another update on Robert's condition later this evening.
UPDATE ON ROBERT KUBICA'S CONDITION
Robert Kubica underwent a seven-hour operation at the Santa Corona Hospital in Pietra Ligure this afternoon. The Lotus Renault GP driver had been diagnosed with multiple fractures to his right arm and leg following a high-speed accident at the Ronda de Andora rally this morning. He also suffered severe cuts to his forearm, which could have an impact on his right hand mobility.
Doctors are reasonably satisfied with the way the operation went. Tonight, Robert's condition remains stable but serious. He has been placed into an induced coma and could be woken up in the morning.
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. 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."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director of Lotus Renault GP: "The news of Robert's accident came as a real shock to the whole team. 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 traveling to Italy tomorrow, along with Vitaly Petrov, in order to see Robert and tell him that we are impatiently waiting for his return."
Another update will be made tomorrow morning at 9h30, at the hospital, by Prof. Rossello and Daniel Morelli, Robert's manager.