UPDATED: Kubica Will Miss F-1 Season
FOREST ROW, Great Britain — Robert Kubica will miss the F-1 season after suffering serious injuries in a crash during in the Ronde di Andora Rally in Italy Sunday. Co-driver Jakub Gerber escaped injury, but a guardrail pierced into Kubica’s side of the car.
“Unfortunately the impact with the guardrail caused serious harm,” Kubica’s manager Daniele Morelli said at the Santa Corona hospital where Kubica underwent surgery and where, fortunately, top hand surgeons were present. “He has been diagnosed with multiple fractures to his leg and right arm, especially complications related to his right hand [which was partially severed.]”
Seven doctors split into two teams operated on Kubica for seven hours.
“The hand is warm and this means the operation went well,” surgeon Mario Igor Rossello said. “We need at least six days to check if the circulation of the blood in the limb responds as it should.”
Rossello said rehabilitation will be relatively long, probably one year.
“But you never know,” he added. “Drivers are always very special patients. I have a lot of motorbike patients and they heal in a much faster way — faster than normal people.”
Kubica has previously recovered from serious injuries in F3 and road car accidents.
He will miss out on preseason testing and the vital information he and the team would have gained about the new Pirelli tires and the new Renault R31. That’s bad news for Renault which relies heavily on his acute technical feedback.
This is a huge blow for the team. Kubica posted the fastest overall time at the Valencia test last week in the Renault with its novel exhaust layout. While it is way too early to judge the relative speeds of the various cars, Renault certainly looked like it would be competitive this season.
Having recently named no less than five test/reserve drivers — Bruno Senna, Romain Grosjean, Fairuz Fauzy, Ho-Pin Tung and Jan Charouz — Renault certainly doesn’t lack a substitute for Kubica. The team had stated earlier that Senna would be its first choice as he has the most F-1 experience. However, Kubica is considered to be one of the best drivers in the field so the team may search for a veteran driver rather than relying on relative newcomers Senna and Vitaly Petrov.
Possible replacements: Nick Heidfeld has a vast amount of experience and is still a fast driver. Nico Hulkenberg only has one year as a F-1 driver, but he showed considerable talent at Williams last season.