Renault F1 driver Robert Kubica has been injured in a high speed accident while competing for fun in a rally in Italy.
The Polish driver, who set the fastest time in last week’s F1 test in Valencia, has suffered a very serious hand injury, according to La Stampa in Italy, his right hand was crushed and surgeons are working to restore functionality.
He has fractures to his right arm and leg, according to the BBC and is likely to be out for some time. According to the BBC he is unlikely to be ready to start the F1 season which starts just over a month from now.
A shoulder injury while moto cross riding (although he claimed it was a tennis injury) wrecked Juan Pablo Montoya’s introduction to the McLaren team and one always had the impression that Ron Dennis lost faith in him at that point.
Kubica’s career has already been overshadowed by injury. He broke his left arm in an accident during his F3 days, which threatened to slow his progress through the junior ranks. He also suffered a huge accident in the Canadian Grand Prix in 2007, but was lucky to escape without serious injury on that occasion. If these new injuries in any way complicate his earlier left arm injury, his strength could be compromised and this could have a long term effect on his participation in F1. One hopes that will not be the case.
With a radical new car and a confident technical department, Renault looked set to challenge the front runners more regularly this season. The loss of their lead driver at this stage will upset plans greatly. Bruno Senna is at the top of the list to replace him, an amazing opportunity and a real turn around in the fortunes of the Brazilian. The sight of the Senna yellow helmet in a black and gold Lotus sponsored car will be too much to resist for the marketing people. Senna and Romain Grosjean are reserve drivers, but along with race driver Vitaly Petrov are they a potent enough force to start the season scoring the kind of points Renault need to score to challenge for a top four place? Renault spoke to Kimi Raikkonen last summer but the dialogue ended in bitterness. Renault’s engineers will miss the technical ability Kubica would have brought to the testing programme. Nick Heidfeld is an available and experienced option.