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Kubica rehab could be six months or more
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Kubica rehab could be six months or more
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Feb 2011   |  8:21 pm GMT  |  89 comments

Hand reconstruction specialists in Italy have been working hard for seven hours to save the functionality of Robert Kubica’s right hand tonight after a high speed accident in a rally car this morning. After the operation finished, Dr Igor Rossello explained that an amputation was a possibility but that following surgery “the hand is alive,” although he added that ” we will have to wait a week before we will know if it will survive. ” More surgery might well be needed. He added that a recovery period of a year was to be expected.

Tonight I called a friend in London, Richard Young, who is a plastic surgeon specialising in hand reconstruction at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, for some insight into hand crush injury, of which he has extensive experience.

I wanted to know what the risks are in a situation such as this and likely recovery times. The caveat for all of what follows is that we do not know the precise details and therefore this is not a specific prognosis on Kubica, more some general medical principles for my -and your – background understanding.

Apparently when they say a hand is at risk of amputation it is because the blood supply to the hand has been severed. That is the first thing to restore and that has clearly been done, although it sounds as though there is some waiting to be done to see if the blood vessels will function again properly. Then it’s a question of whether the doctors can restore full functionality, to the level which an F1 driver needs. This means repairing the nerves and tendons and their work will determine whether Kubica will race again. How long the recuperation will take depends on how severe the injury was in the first place. If the doctor is now saying up to a year, it must have been a very severe injury.

Dr Rossello has said tonight that the repair of the nerves in the hand is the big doubt in terms of whether the hand will regain functionality.

The first point is that the energy in the accident was clearly very great if it also caused long bone injury such as the broken leg and arm which Kubica suffered. Kubica’s hand appears to have been crushed by some armco entering the cockpit. So the extent of the hand crush injury was likely to have been severe.

The hand has many small muscles, tendons and nerves, which if crushed are likely to reduce the ability to roll the fingers in and to make fine movements, such as picking up a pin or in the case of an F1 driver, operating the buttons and dials on the steering wheel. Damage to the nerves will impair feeling and this can take at least three months to return.

As for rehabilitation it is long and crucially there is no short cut. Sometimes when athletes break a bone they can speed up the repair by sitting in a chamber to boost oxygen or blood flow, but that will not apply in this case.

Here we are dealing with tendons and these must be protected for up to three months before any effort can be put through them, otherwise the tendons rupture again. Also if there is severe damage to nerves in the hand or forearm the ability to make fine movements can be lost forever.

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89 Comments
  1. Johnty says:

    I severed a tendon in my hand a few years back, a simple cut and underwent micro surgery and 3 months of rehab. Obviously the rehab I went through will be so basic compared to what Robert will have. All the nest Robert, we hope to see you this year!

    1. Patryk Barnas says:

      Here’s some more info about Kubica.. hopefully he’s gonna be back soon! :)

      http://blog.bitlogic.biz/2011/03/kubica-only-for-3-4-weeks-will-genuine-rehabilitation/

  2. James says:

    Ouch !

    Even if the injury is on the milder side of severe, I do not think we will see Robert in an F1 car this year…

    The timing of this is all the more depressing as it appears that Renault have built a car which could have allowed an extra driver to get into the mix for race wins….

    Speedy recovery Robert.

  3. Andy C says:

    Let’s hope the news is good. Have seen the car and it’s in a hell of a mess.

    Having something like a piece of Armco coming into the car could have been even worse (thank goodness for small mercies).

    The surgeon seems to be well respected so fingers crossed.

    No matter how long he is out for, hope his recovery is a full one. Top guy, proper racer and no bull. Hard not to like him…

  4. nige says:

    I would like to wish robert a speedy recovery. A truly great driver who has shown his talent in f1 and rallying. And hope he can return soon.

  5. Harvey Yates says:

    Thanks for that, James.

    There were similar rumours of amputation and probably never regaining the ability to drive an F1 car when Johnny Herbert had his crash at Brands and look how he turned out.

    It didn’t do his career any good but it didn’t seem to slow him.

    1. Declan says:

      Sorry Harvey. Have you disagree with you there. Herbert had a wonderful F1 career, but that crash certainly took away his fitnesse and his ability to truly dance a car on it’s limit. When a driver has to physically compensate – it’s just not going to be the ‘same’.

  6. Miha says:

    How unfortunate. I would really like to see Robert racing again on top level and possibly fighting for the championship. He deserves it… Get well soon, Rob.

  7. Graham Hodgson says:

    Having suffered a ‘crush injury’ to my own right hand, I can echo James’ comments. In my case I lost two fingers and a portion of the palm below, with the middle finger requiring total reconstruction. Yes, with time, you do regain some functionality and learn to adapt, but sadly it’s never the same again. My heart goes out to Robert. I hope he makes a speedy and full recovery. However, from experience, the prognoses is not good.

    1. S.J.M says:

      Sadly i fear you are right. I dont think that we’re being morbid (or atleast its not my intention), but we’re all only human and the body isnt designed to take great impacts.

      Hopefully he makes a complete recovery and races again at the same level as he has done. But i keep thinking to myself, he’s walked away (figurally speaking ofc) from 2 accidents that could have ended his life, and heres the 3rd… sometimes luck only takes you so far. I hope and pray thats not the case and that he’s in a cockpit challenging for wins, i really do.

      We’re lucky (for lack of a better choice of words) its 2011 and not another racing era, then it would be a completely different story about what happened today.

      1. kowalsky says:

        i agree. His accident at canada would have been lethal 20 years earlier. He was taking chances, because the sensation of safaty f1 gives nowadays. Probably too many chances. But thats the reason why fans like him.

  8. Luca says:

    such an unfortunate accident at the start of a very promising season…. still if Zanardi can make a come back, then I am sure some like Kubica will have the potential to make a good and speedy recovery!

    Best of luck and hope to see him back in due course.

  9. Anssi says:

    It’s terrible news but I think some people discussing this are a bit harsh on Robert for him to have gone rallying. It is his very own life and he will judge what is appropriate for himself. It is so easy to judge but what if one is placed in the same situation?

    Hindsight is so easy, should not have done this, should not have done that, et cetera.

    It’s useless. Now the focus must be on how do we get this person back to good health – and possibly also back to F1 but that’s not very important now.

    1. pjg says:

      It’s disappointing when people interdict their own pettiness in situations like these; as if their accusations that he was careless are meaningful or interesting. Strange that people bristle at unsolicited advice but seem all to eager to offer it, especially to those they don’t know personally.

      I have no doubts that Kubica will be back. More than most race car drivers, he appears to “live” the sport. He seems unimpressed by the pomp, the PR, and the cacophony of celebrity. He wants to drive, fast, in any machine he can.

      I feel heartsick at what has occurred to him, but believe, of any of the drivers, he’ll be back.

      I for one, will be one of the biggest cheerleaders of Kubica at the Austin GP in 2012. Can’t wait.

    2. devilsadvocate says:

      being one of the people who responded negatively on James last post I will begin by stating, my comment was not directed to say he deserved this, and it is shamefull to insinuate that those who expressed disaproval would ever wish something like this on anyone… I was more getting at the the fact the Rallying is an extremely dangerous sport, it is made as safe as it can be with the cages and tech in the car, but just head over to youtube and look at all the horrific crash compilations. A cage only does so much against unforgiving materials such as ARMCO and trees, and knowing the risks means he doesn’t have much recourse if Renault decides to take action accordingly for potentially endangering not only his own career and chances but also the team’s chances for the season.

      The point being specifically talking to Ansii this isn’t a typical hindsight is always 20/20 armchair call, this is simple common sense that you don’t go out of your way to look for danger when you are in season especially in the position of team leader and WDC hopeful for Renault. The justification for him racing is that it was a hobby, but to be honest there are a lot of hobbies that can keep you happy during the season that are not as risky as rallying, and lets be serious, they make a darn lot of money so I do think the team has a right to reign them in for these 6 or so months that the season runs out, the powers to be deserve a right to protect their investment. This doesnt mean go hide in your house and disappear for the season, just be reasonable, and if you do take risks, there are consequences if you fall foul.

      I hate it because RK was one of my favorite drivers, and one who arguable deserved the spotlight the R31 looked like it was going to give him. Its just a shame and my thoughts go out to him, but like someone said earlier, the is a reason for everything and until some water goes under the bridge we may not see why, Bobby K is a tough guy, he’ll be back.

    3. dans says:

      You dont need much hindsight to see that this could happen. Rallying in particular is dangerous and injures are common.

      Its his life, he can do what he wants but why risk the chance of a lifetime on a bit of fun.

      And thats saying nothing about the responsibility’s he has to the team, the mechanics who worked untold hours to build a car just for him. The fans who follow him world over who booked tickets, flights, hotels ect.

      Either way, lets hope he gets full function back and will be amazing us with his speed again soon.

      1. Rudy Pyatt says:

        Like everyone else, I hope Kubica gets better as soon as possible. Whether he races again or not is immaterial. What counts is his health.

        For him to be injured while racing other than in F1 is not shocking to me, and for me doesn’t indicate selfishness on his part, mainly because it is not new.

        Sometimes there are terrifying consequences when racing or testing – Moss, Surtees, Clark, McLaren, to name obvious examples – outside of the F1 championship. But look at what all of these guys achieved away from F1; Indy 500 wins, CanAm championships, etc, etc, etc. These accomplishments, all of them, are no less worthy than their F1 triumphs.

        Much of what made these drivers great was their ability to
        win in any category in which they raced. Clark’s genius, alone, demonstrates this.

        To a one, all of the affected teams not only survived, but thrived. They pulled together in the face of crisis and moved forward with a will. Yes, large sums of money are at stake for Renault. Yes, Kubica’s injuries are a hammer blow to team morale. As demoralizing as losing Jim Clark? As much a blow to the very existence of the team as Bruce McLaren?

        Kubica’s health is the most important thing. If history is any guide, Renault will get through this too.

      2. I agree.
        Let’s hope Kubica will not be another Moss.

  10. DK says:

    Thanks for going to so much trouble James. This is really bad news. I am gutted for Kubica as there is no doubt he is up there as 1 of the best in F1, a real championship contender. I just really hope he makes a full recovery so we see him for the 2012 season at the latest.

    I guess now we will see if appointing Senna as a reserve driver was purley to get the Senna, Renault, lotus together for marketing. Will they trust to put Senna in as replacement? Im not sure, maybe Hulkenburg could step in. I hope they do give Senna a chance myself, give the guy a chance. I want to know if he has any of his uncles magic.

    Get well Kubica, We all want to see you racing soon.

  11. Nilesh says:

    I was gutted to read about Kubica’s accident the first thing this morning. It’s a huge relief to know that amputation is not considered now. The level of fitness and state of health of these supreme athletes is much higher than the rest of us and the medical attention and treatment that they receive is much greater. Considering these things lets hope that Robert recuperates well and returns to full time F1 racing very soon. Get well soon Robert!

  12. Stephen says:

    James have Renault made a statement? Terrible news, I do hope he has a speedy recovery and he is able to compete at some stage this season. If Bruno Senna is selected for a race seat this could leave the Renault with an inexperienced driver line up. This will make for a intertesting week at the Jerez test.

    James would it be possible to write a piece for drivers like Robert Kubica who is contracted to Renault but injure themselves in another sport. Who looks after Kubica’s recovery? Do Renault still pay him? If Kubica is out for an entire season can Renault void his contract?

    I as I’m sure others would be very interested to know.

    Thank you

    1. Andy C says:

      They have a twitter account and have posted various stuff in there.

  13. Thanks for the update James,

    How frustrating for him, I wonder how he will be feeling mentally. Im so excited for the 2011 and Im just a fan! of F1 (long term fan, since 1989 never missed a race or qualifying session)

    Imagine how he must be feeling, new team, looking good, a chance to run at the front and a certain future World Champion, and this could be it well over…. bet he is (was) even more excited

    I really hope he has the mental positivity of Alex Zanardi, to get over this and get back in that cock pit

    shame for us, could have been another top team with top driver in the equation for the title, or certainly in contention

  14. Galapago555 says:

    So here I write again my best wishes for a full and fast recovery for Robert. Get well soon, mate.

    But this is F1, and the Show Must Go On. James, any hint on who will replace Robert?

    1. Andy C says:

      You’d have to think senna will get to test next week wouldn’t you. If he’s quick I think he will get the nod.

      I dont see any additional value in bringing in someone like heidfeld or PDr.

      1. Neil White says:

        The value in Heidfeld is proven car development skills.

      2. kenny5 says:

        Heidfeld has proven that he can stter a good car around the midfield.

        Renault need a winner.

      3. Neil says:

        Heidfeld beat every team mate he had bar Kubica, and they were pretty even. (Look back across the whole 3-year pairing – both had better and worse years.)

        I think he’s a 1 or 2 year option, but I’d love to see what he can do in a top-flight car.

        Watched him flatten the Goodwood FoS Hill Climb in a McLaren years ago. Stonking!

        Neil.

    2. Surely someone like Nico Hulkenberg is the best option for Renualt?

    3. speedyrecoveryforkubica says:

      I’m hopping it would be KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN!! come on renault, you can do it!

      1. James W says:

        He’s booked up with rallying this year. And I doubt Renault would risk another part time rally driver…

        It’s blatently gonna be Senna. I hope he’s up to the task, he’s got a lot to do…!

    4. Declan says:

      I hope it’s Senna.

      Let’s face it – Hulkenberg, Luizzi, Heidfeld and even De la Rosa are a safer pair of hands and possibly as quick if not quicker.

      But the guy paid through the nose to be the ‘test and reserve driver’ for Renault, when he knew that the current rules would mean he would get less time during an entire season in the cockpit than I would if I paid for the ‘Renault F1 track day’ (okay – not the same car, but you get my point).

      Give Senna a chance to see what he can do in a competitive car. Who knows. It might prove to be his big break.

  15. Antony James says:

    Although I wish everything to be fine, I do have a bad feeling about this incident. Anyway thanks for the research James, appreciate your effort

  16. Chris says:

    I think it’s very irresponsible of him and the team.

    In the first place, why is he allowed to race outside of the F1 team?

    The risk / reward for renault doesn’t make sense.

  17. Jeremy (CapeTown - SA) says:

    Robert,I wish you a speedy recovery. I will keep you in my prayers. Hope to see you soon on the race track.

  18. Pawel says:

    Thanks for that article despite it is Sunday today. We all respect Robert talent and wish him fast recovery to 100% health.

  19. Yeah, that was extremely unlucky for RK but still nothing compared to what happened to Nannini in the 1990s, although we obviously don’t know how bad things are with Kubica’s right hand. Hopefully, he’ll make a full recovery.

    Formula 1 teams will now think twice before letting their drivers race or take part in potentially dangerous activities outside F1. I mean it happens to other guys in the WRC or MotoGP like it did with Loeb a few years ago or with Rossi who still can’t recover properly from all his adventures last year, not to mention F1′s own Webber and Schumi!

    Thanks for an interesting update.

  20. Ben G says:

    Thanks for the updates. Poor Robert.

    Am very surprised he was allowed to do the rally. I remember Damon Hill said his contracts with Williams forbad. Him to go skiing or ride a motorbike.

    I hope Bruno gets a crack at the seat.

    1. F430-FOX says:

      I can’t imagine that Bruno gets Kubica’s seat. From the medical information released by now, it is unlikely he will make an F1 comeback any-time soon, certainly not for the first part of the season.

      I doubt that Renault would fill his seat with another inexperienced driver. If Robert is really out for a long time, the team will likely look to hire an experienced racer.

      There are quite a few around who would probably jump at the chance – Heidfeld, Liuzzi, de La Rosa, maybe even Hulkenberg, if money flows the right way …

  21. Neville says:

    well, Robert is in good hands. Apparently one the best specialist in Europe in hand surgery has taken care of him. RK is a very strong guy. I trully believe that he will recover fully. He loves racing and his passion for the sport will keep him going. Let us keep fingers for him ( I also feel that this is not the best time to disscuss his succession)

  22. Fausto Cunha says:

    The most important thing is that he´s alive and will not loose is hand, so that´s the most important thing.
    As for the recovering only time and his body will tell.
    I wish him all the best and if he has to seat this season out that´s ok, we will be here when he comes back to cheer for him again.

    My best wishes for Robert Kubica.

  23. bones says:

    First of all I hope he is ok and wish him a good and fast recovery.
    If he is out for 6 months most likely he will miss the whole season,so Renault not only need a fast driver,they need a guy that can lead the evolution of the car since is the start of the season with all the updates on its way,the 2 third drivers are (IMO) not good enough for that so besides the obvious choice of Kimi I can;t think of other driver than De La rosa,maybe they could do what Sauber did last season:6 months and once the focus is on next year car replace him for a young driver.
    Is Fisichella available?

    1. MercPower says:

      Fisichella is definitely available to replace Kubica in Renault. Fisi is really eager to get a F1-seat in a competitive car and end his F1-career in a worthy way.

      Otherwise he’s supposed to continue race touring cars like Le Mans in the same team as Jean Alesi. But Fisico certainly has more to prove in F1… =)

  24. Tom (London) says:

    Thank you for the update.

    Formula One drivers are my hero’s, I don’t like to hear of any of them getting hurt.

    Kubica as added to my enjoyment of forumula one. I hope to see him come back and win again.

  25. Iain M says:

    James,

    Thank you for your efforts!!

    I am sure Robert is receiving the best care possible. I sincerely hope he has a speedy recovery. I wish him all the best!!

    Iain

  26. Nilesh says:

    As much as I’d love to see Kimi back, I doubt we’ll see him with Renault or any other team as long as he is enthusiastic about competing in the occasional rally especially after this.

    It will be very difficult for other F1 drivers to have their teams allow them to compete in rallies or other high risk activities now.

  27. Steve Arnott says:

    This is very sad news. I wish you well Robert.

  28. Bevan says:

    Shocking news.
    A very focused,fearless driver/character,he’ll be a huge loss to F1 this season,& hopefully only this season as it sounds as though his injuries maybe quite severe.Also looking at the damage from the 1st 2,”I really don’t like the odds on 3rd time lucky”!
    “Get well soon Robert & all the very best”.

  29. speedyrecoveryforkubica says:

    hope for a speedy recovery… but just a thought, the renault not going to use the reserved driver. they need a fast driver!… then BRING KIMI BACK PLEASE!!.

  30. Richard M says:

    Are you serious?

  31. Richard M says:

    Feel sorry for Kubica, so unfortunate, hope he fully recovers but deep down I think that it is unlikely we will see him in a F1 car again. F1 might of lost a very good driver and possible future champion, big loss to F1.

  32. JimmiC says:

    This is a cruel twist in a promising career. Get well soon Bobby.

  33. Matt Devenish says:

    I’m absolutely gutted for the kid. At 26 and just about to start a new season in a top team with possibly a race winning car, for this type of accident to occur is just terrible. I thank God his life has been spared, that is the most important thing. But I’ll be praying again that he makes a full recovery and soon. We’re used to doom and gloom, but I’ll remain positive for you Robert, miracles can happen and I hope to see you in the Lotus-Renault car again soon.

    To the detractors, I wish to commend Robert for trying something different and wanting to better himself. It’s a great shame that the greatest drivers on earth are limited to 20 weekends racing per year. Oh what I would give to see Jenson Button do a touring car race or Michael Schumacher at the Indy 500. What we must remember is that everything we do has a calculated risk and for a top-line F1 driver to enter a minor rally is surely a lot less risk than some of the competitors he was up against, doing the same, let alone entering an F1 race! We know now the crash itself was unlucky in so much as the car hit the end of an Armco barrier. Sometimes these accidents need to occur in order for them to be prevented in the future.

    Thinking of RK

    1. Rudy Pyatt says:

      This, +1

      1. Neville says:

        that was a great post, thanks !

  34. nick says:

    Presumably they will use Senna, as that’s exactly what he’s there for. They wouldn’t have recruited him as a reserve driver otherwise. It’s not like in the old days when teams had test drivers – that doesn’t exist any more due to testing limitations.

    James, as always some great reporting on this from you, with your insights into the medical side.

    1. James Allen says:

      I just wanted to know more and luckily I have a good mate who does this for a living

    2. PaulL says:

      Senna in a black-and-gold Lotus.

  35. Stuart Fenton says:

    It’s sad because of the potential he has. God forbid, if he is out for life it would be such a shame. Many people talk about him as ‘when he gets a good car’, like his future as a winner was written in stone. A complete testament to his talent, a talent I beg will not be wasted due to this injury

  36. Erik says:

    I don’t get all this talk about Kimi. The man does not want to do F1 anymore, he does not know this kind of car,and he enjoys doing what he does now. What part of no don’t you understand?

  37. Speed_399 says:

    http://www.ivg.it/2011/02/incidente-di-robert-kubica-i-medici-una-settimana-per-vedere-se-la-mano-sopravvive/

    Next 7 days crucial to have a clear understanding of the actual neurological and vascular status of the hand. At best, if all goes well, the rehabilitation will likely take about a year.

    1. Kyle says:

      Adam Cooper has linked an English interview with hand specialist Professor Igor Rossello discussing various details regarding the surgery which took place earlier today. It can be viewed here:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEe0084HoT4&feature=player_embedded

      He also points out that during the next 5-7 days there is a danger of vascular problems (i.e relating to blood supply and circulation) which may be rectified by further surgery.

      At this stage it doesn’t seem prudent to completely rule out the chance that Kubica might yet have to lose his hand.

      The details of the damage to his arm are unnerving to say the least, particularly Rossello’s comments that the median and ulnar nerves in his wrist were severed.

      Now I’m certainly no expert when it comes to the anatomy of the wrist and hand but having studied information about these nerves in detail as a consequence of my own concerns relating to RSI, I know that the integrity of these nerves and surrounding structures is of paramount importance to the functionality and sensation of the forearm, wrist and hands.

      A full recovery with no ongoing long term problems seems extremely unlikely in my opinion.

      Even if Kubica does regain functionality sufficient to give him the strength, dexterity and sensation required to effectively operate a race car, there are still considerable doubts in my mind over whether his arm will be capable of enduring the physical exertion which racing in F1 demands in absence of substantial pain, numbness and/or progressive weakening of the hand.

      If you read up on RSI which is directly related to median and/or ulnar nerve damage, you will begin to understand why physical endurance is an important factor to consider in addition to psychosomatic considerations.

      Here’s to hoping he can make a startling full recovery and race amongst the top tier in F1 again, although there are many potential hurdles he must overcome in the near, mid and long term future if this is to happen.

      Undoubtedly he would be sorely missed as an incredible driver with unfulfilled potential should it turn out that he is unable to return to F1. Best wishes to him.

  38. steve says:

    one of the top driver in f1 the renault just got a lot less competitive. get well soon Kubica hope to see you back soon

  39. Rubinho's Keyfob says:

    James, given the insight you’ve been able to get regarding the possible effects of this for Robert (loss of “fine” motor capability etc), how would this relate to the F1 rulebook if your findings turn out to be accurate in this case?

    For instance, assuming that the strength in Robert’s arm and leg (both skeletal and muscular) would allow him to return to F1 and it’s only the “fine control of fingers” aspect that remains a problem, are there any technical issues in the rulebook which would prevent Renault from creating a special steering wheel which could either be mostly operated from the left hand or have some sort of accessory which would allow someone with impaired motor function to operate it?

    To anybody who thinks it might be out of order discussing this right now, I think that now the possibility of amputation has apparently been ruled out that Robert’s probably thinking along the same lines … :)

    Anyway, all the best to RK for a good recovery (doesn’t have to be “speedy” ;)) – in my top 3 of current drivers, and the one I was most expecting to shake things up this year …

  40. kowalsky says:

    we’ll see what happens. The fact that nowadays there are levers to do the gear changes help him. But there are so many buttons to activate, that hand control it’s extremely important.
    I think he will come back racing…in rally.

    1. Nick F says:

      I think a smart person could find a lot of work arounds. The left foot isn’t doing anything between braking. I’m thinking of a system where the left foot somehow controls brake bias. Functions are selected by scrolling with the left thumb. A voice or beeps in your ear tell you what function your on, and then you select the setting for that function with another selector with your left thumb again. It could be workable. Another way to go would be to bring back a foot clutch.

      It all depends what he can manage when he is recovered and how flexible Renault are prepared to be.

  41. Thomas says:

    Thanks for the great article James. Just what I was looking for tonight.

    Horrible news about Kubica; he looked so promising this year. Hope he recovers and that we’ll get to see his magic again.

    Bad news for Renault as well. If their car is as good as it looks a star like Robert would be the difference between a great year and a good one.

  42. Dan says:

    Firstly let me say that my thoughts are with Kubica and I wish him a speedy and full recovery!

    On a side topic James, do drivers have to ask their team permission to engage in others sports? And do you think that this will prompt the teams to prevent their top drivers from engaging in other activities, the last few seasons Mark Webber has had unfortunate cycling accidents and now this horrific crash of Kubicas.

  43. Merlinghnd says:

    Regarding contracts, it is all for negotiation. I am sure if Renault/Lotus had said to Kubica ” no rallying, no skiing, no motorbikes etc etc etc ” he would probably have not signed or wanted something else in return.

    Very sad, but maybe he should just write of 2011 and have 2012 as a goal. You only get one chance to heal and you should take it. Time is on his side after all and better a good comeback rather than a poor one and all the pressure that puts on a person.

  44. Spongbo says:

    Regarding contracts, it is all for negotiation. I am sure if Renault/Lotus had said to Kubica ” no rallying, no skiing, no motorbikes etc etc etc ” he would probably have not signed or wanted something else in return.

    Very sad, but maybe he should just write of 2011 and have 2012 as a goal. You only get one chance to heal and you should take it. Time is on his side after all and better a good comeback rather than a poor one and all the pressure that puts on a person.

  45. jonrob says:

    Obviously we all wish Kubica well, but ther is little chance of him racing this season and even if he did, he may not be competitive. After an accident like that is one stupid to want to do it again? Ok F1 is a lot safer in many ways, which I still feel is why Kimi left it.
    However this would have been an ideal slot for Nico or Nick both of who are far better qualified to replace Kubica than either of the official reserve drivers.

  46. Fender Meister says:

    I’m gutted for Robert. I love all out racers like him and I was dearly hoping he would win a race or two this year, this makes me very sad, along with how much I actually like him being in the sport!! Great explanation though James as usual, once more you put some flesh on the bones of a story that other sites never do.

  47. What a valuable contribution to our understanding of the situation.

    With all the controls a driver now has to master it must be even more important that they have full dexterity.

    This is a tragic incident and we must just hope that Robert can get back into F1 and perform as we know he can.

    It’s interesting that Rossi is saying that his shoulder injury costs him half a second a lap.

    If the lasting effects of Robert’s accident are anything like as bad, he would not be able to be competitive.

  48. patric says:

    He was the great hope to inject a bit of personality into formula one, which is lacking and balls & heart at present – which TV viewing numbers pretty much back up. Where is the rivalry, the anger, the Senna vs Prosts, Schumis vs Hill. You are now rewarded in F1 for being a dull, non aggressive pilot who never overtakes. If Ayrton started in F1 now he probably who never have made it…too aggressive, too much controlled violence on track. not banker enough like, not boring enough, speaks his mind too much, just too damn interesting. Time for F1 to get its balls back or there will be no-one watching prertty soon. Oh Lets have more Buttons who are goody two shoe bores, or no talent brats like Vettel. Robert, robert, robert, speedy recovery.

  49. Robert Gunning says:

    Terrible news for F1 and Kubica, as the dark horse for the title is already out before the season has begun. Let us hope he recovers and gets the car he deserves in 2012 and challenges for the title. On a different note I suspect Bruno Senna cannot believe his luck, being out of job just over a week ago and could now inherit a top drive; if he blows this he will be out of Formula One and deservedly so.

  50. Nick F says:

    The accident is really crappy news. It sounds like a very serious injury. Modern medicine is pretty good these days though and you’d expect a multi million pound a year driver like Kubica would get the best care possible.

    I’m no expert but i think that it may be possible to control an F1 car with one good hand and one slightly numb hand. I hope that’s the case anyway. You just need one dial (maybe used with the thumb) to switch between functions and then some other button/switch/dial to select for example what you want the differential to be set to. It would be slower to use, but a good designer could work out a way to get it to work.

    …Anyway, I hope it doesn’t come to that and he makes a full recovery and can maybe do a few races at the end of this season.

    This accident i think shows why it doesn’t make sense to have a pay driver driving for you if your a big team with aspirations to win races. There driver line up suddenly looks very weak, and that’s a terrible shame because i was hoping that this car might be very competitive.

  51. Bayan says:

    James,

    First of all, I hope Kubiza has a full and speedy recovery. I was really excited to see what he would do with that renault this yr.

    However, now that he is out, what are the chances of the Hulk driving for renault? Would Force India let him do that?

  52. Drew says:

    wow….what can i say that hasnt been said? Im gutted. Kubica had such a promising year ahead of him. 2010 was his breakout season, not to mention topping the timesheet in Valencia testing. Thanks for taking the time to explain the injury to us, and not just the usual ”omgwtf baibai hand” that other F1 sites (planetf1 pops to mind) give us.

    As for his replacement, i think it should be Senna. Give him some time in a decent car, and see how he does….how can you judge him based on his HRT performance? If not him, then i think Hulkenburg should be the go-to guy.

    I can also see this being a ”lucky break” (no pun intended) for Petrov, so to speak. Because regardless who they bring in, he has a real chance to solidify his position in the team, without living in his eastern european compatriots shadow.

    And to everyone begging for Kimi….it wont happen. Ever.

    All the best Robert, and hopefully, with a strong mind, and resolution…we will see you down pit lane

  53. Gareth Foches says:

    Kubica is like Raikonen, personality wise, not looks. Down to earth-ish, caustic, purposely oblivious to F1 glamor and consistently fast.

    I remembered a comment on a youtube video where Alonso and Kubica were karting in Shanghai, apparently, the two have been friends since age 7. That’s the age when bonds made last a lifetime.

    Here’s wishing RK speedy recovery.

  54. Alexx says:

    Best wishes to ‘the Robert’ as Boullier calls him. Speedy recovery.

    I think Senna deserves the drive if its available, the added spotlight and responsibility of a Renault-Lotus drive hopefully will be the spark that ignites his career in F1.

    De la Rosa could also be considered as a suitable replacement driver in the short-term as he has KERS and Pirelli experience.

  55. RPSeymour says:

    I would just like to say that I feel it’s more important that he is well and recovers to 100%, at the end of the day if he never races again, which would be incredibly sad, his health and wellbeing is far more important. I can’t imagine how depressed he will be feeling once he is out of the induced coma. But I’m sure he is of strong mind and will be supported by family, friends, racers and fans in equal measure.
    Hope for good news soon.

  56. Mark Jordan says:

    best wishes to Robert – hope he has a good recovery

    he needs to take the appropriate time off to ensure his health is 100%

  57. Lalit says:

    James,

    This is single most horrific news in F1 since Massa’s incident in Hungary. My prayers and wishes go out to him. I really hope he recovers well, and also comes back and duly win some World Championships that he deserves.

    Kubica is probably the most ideal racer out there – completely apolitical and super good at developing a car with his team, with an ability to always drive the car beyond its capabilities.
    (He is like Kimi but with additional development capacity).

    On a completely different note, a thought comes to mind -
    If Senna would be to now get a chacne to not only race, but establish himself, wouldn’t it be ironic that while an accident robbed us of one Senna, another equally horrible accident might “launch” another Senna?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s much worse than the Massa situation. This is more like Nannini losing an arm in helicopter accident.

  58. Stephen says:

    This may already have been mentioned but I have just realised that I have been underestimating the sheer scale of this crash.

    If I’m reading things right, the car is left hand drive and he hit the left hand side of the car. However, it was his *right* arm, leg and hand which suffered the injuries.

    That, to me, means that not only did the armco penetrate the car, it penetrated the *middle* of the car. Either that, or something from the engine compartment was pushed far enough inside the car to do that damage.

    By the way, James, can you please clarify where the accident occured? Many of the news stories phrase it to suggest along the lines of before the stage start. Is this a misinterpretation or was he actually not driving competetively when the accident happened?

  59. Bru72 says:

    So good to see the warm wishes to Robert. good one on the Ferrari website

  60. Arnie S says:

    “Get a replacment” they are saying.
    “Get Kimi on-board” is my answer

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