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Doctors say major hurdle overcome in Kubica recovery
Doctors say major hurdle overcome in Kubica recovery
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Feb 2011   |  6:43 pm GMT  |  27 comments

The signs continue to be very positive from the doctors looking after Robert Kubica in Italy. The Polish driver, whose right forearm was partially severed in a rally accident on Sunday, has moved the fingers of his right hand and the doctors say the indications are that the blood flow is stabilised and therefore that the hand has been saved.

Photo: Darren Heath

The injury was described by the surgeon Igor Rossello as complex and occurring at 2 levels (segmental). This involved damaged to the bone, muscles, tendons, blood vessels and nerves. The forearm has been reconstructed (ie put back together) by fixing the bones and then reconnecting the blood supply before repairing the severed muscles, tendons and nerves.

According to specialists I’ve spoken to in London his arm and hand were at risk if the reconnected blood vessels blocked off again in the first few days after surgery. The doctors’ most recent comments suggest that this hurdle has been overcome.

Specialists tell me that over the next 3-6 months the muscles and tendons will be rehabilitated. The repaired nerves will take a year or so to recover and it will not be until about two years that the final result is known. From the surgeons description of repairing both the ulnar and median nerve which are the two nerves, which provide movement and feeling to the hand, there is a very big rehabilitation programme to go through if he wants to get the fine motor skills back to drive an F1 car. But as Rossello said on Sunday night racing drivers have such determination anything is possible.

Kubica showed incredible determination to get to F1, leaving his native Poland for Italy when he was a teenager, sleeping on the floor of the kart factory, bouncing back from a severe injury to his left arm in his F3 days. He will surely give it his best shot.

Tomorrow morning the doctors will operate to repair the fractures in Kubica’s tibia, fibula and shoulder and then early next week – if he continues to recover well – they will work on his fractured elbow.

After that the rehabilitation begins. “An important hurdle was overcome with the stabilisation of Robert, ” his manager Daniel Morelli told Gazzetta dello Sport today. “We have had it confirmed to us that all the operations have gone well now we can start to think about Robert’s rehabilitation, even if for the moment it is hard to evaluate his psychological state. He’s under heavy sedation for the pain.”

Kubica has been visited by many well wishers including Fernando Alonso, Vitaly Petrov, Flavio Briatore and Renault F1 team owner Gerard Lopez, who dropped in yesterday.

If you wish to send your best wishes to Kubica, you can go to Renault’s Facebook page

Of if you want to send him an email, please check in again tomorrow morning when the Renault team are going to supply us with an official Contact Robert email address to which you can write your messages.

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Get well soon Robert. MotoGP star Valentino Rossi goes rallying every winter and has even competed on the Rally GB.He has won club rallies in Italy but mashed his shoulder whilst riding a motocross bike and a year on is still healing, although he only had surgery recently. I imagine the oxygen tent will be much in use.



Hi James

You wrote:

“bouncing back from a severe injury to his left arm in his F3 days”

In 2003 Kubica broke his right arm as well. So it is his second injury there. From the reports available in Polish media we know that titanium plate placed in his arm after 2003 accident was damaged and had to be replaced. As for his general condition it is as you have written – nobody knows if he will fully recover. Polish specialists also claim that he could never be 100% fit but it is too early to predict.


James, do you know if there is a publicly availably medical report on Robert’s condition written by the medical staff rather than a press officer..??


I cant help but think that Kubica has got a pattern to get rid of. Whenever something in your life occurs regularly there is a pattern there. If it is an unwanted one you’d better clean it up or it will happen again.


yes it would be a little miracle if Robert would be ready to race in (say) 5 months.

But, as I already posted, RK is a quite special character. In so many ways. Perhaps not too many fans know it, he is also quite spiritual person. He has asked his manager to bring the late pope JP II photograph to his room. So he will be using all the powers available to him to get well quickly. Thanks James again on this report( honestly I thought you had a downer on Kubica, I guess I was wrong)And, yes, I am Polish.


Robert, Just hoping you all the best and get better soon.

James, Thanks so much for actually going to talk to real surgeons and Doctors concerning the health of Roberts hand, wrist, arm, elbow, leg and all the necessary work to repair and get it all functioning again – Your excellent honest reporting is the only media I can trust. Thanks.


Fabulous news! Keep it up Robert. We are all pulling for you to have a speedy and complete recovery.


I look at the whole case in a different way – some people say that a terrible thing happened to him. I look at the accident, see the car after the accident and I think that God saved him from a certain death….

He is lucky!


I’m currently recovering from a broken femur. Reading the stories about Roberts ordeal brings back the memories from my own stay in hospital, just a few weeks ago.

My revalidation is keeping me busy every waking hour (even when I’m not doing any exercises). I’m young, fit and ambitious enough to try and beat the doctors time schedule (at which I’m currently succeeding).

It’s a relief to hear that everything is working out for Robert. It seems that he has a fighting chance to get back in the cockpit of his Renault F1 – which is a radically different outlook compared to last Sunday. I really hope that his progress will continue.

It will take a long time for Robert to fully recuperate. In my opinion the quote’s by visitors stating that Robert will be back in three to four months is clouded by the amount of sedation Robert is (fortunately) getting at the moment. I vividly remember the moment I lost my daily morfine dose and had to cope with the pain myself – let me assure you it took a while before I started joking again.

My fracture is relatively straightforward compared to the myriad of damaged bodyparts Robert has to nurse. For several reasons I’m amazed to hear lots of quotes of people expecting Robert back behind the wheel in no-time.

Let me point out just one of Roberts problems. If you break a leg, you start walking using crutches, right? How is Robert supposed to do that considering his badly damaged arm?

I’m happy to hear Roberts’ outlook is positive. I’ll be following his revalidation with interest. But a fully recovered Robert doing winter test a year from now? I think that’s expecting a bit too much…


Well, best wishes on your recovery then too, Henk 🙂

I’ve mashed the odd bone here n there in my time(and that’s an understatement!), all I’ll say on the matter is that different people respond to operations\rehabilitation in different ways – the old cliché of “one step at a time” is never more valid. But as James (and others) have alluded to, “racing drivers” (sports-people) are different beasts, they do have an internal drive (no pun intended) which pushes them on. Robert will recover his health, no problem, it’s the fine motor-functions that will be key to his return to F1.


I hope he recovers fully.

I was looking forward to Robert sat in a car built round/for him.


Fantastic NEWS !!! COME ON ROBERT !!!


James, Never ever write it may take 2 years to repair nerves. Robert will be ready for F1 in 3-5 months. And this is my and I believe real version. 🙂


And you base that on what level of medical knowledge? I live with a surgeon and know several experienced doctors and all of them say that it will take at least a year if not 2 before the outcome of any rehabilitation will be fully understood.

3-5 months is a complete fantasy according to these (very knowledgeable) people.

James, one question I have – earlier in the week there was mention that he’d broken his Femur and yet there is no mention of this in recent reports. Has be broken this or were the early reports incorrect?


I completely agree – the retoric is optimistic in the extreme. We all wish him the best, but even the most basic functions in that hand will take time. Driving again at a world class level ? Unknown.


It would b great if he could be healed in 3-5 months, but I highly doubt he will.

I might b wrong, but I think an elbow injury is difficult 2 heal properly. And even an ankle injury r shoulder injury on their own can be quite serious.

It’s not just a matter of turning a wheel, F1 drivers have 2 cope with forces up 2 5 times the force of gravity.


Robert told Eric Boullier that he was a robot. Miracles can happen 🙂


my first intention would be to ask him, why? But i don’t think that’s would be of any help. So i have to calm down a bit, and try to be constructive.

But if i feel the frustration of all the hard work thrown out of the window, driving in an event nobody cared about, imagine how he’ll feel, when he wakes up from the drugs?


In my opinion this was mighty selfish. Everybody competing at that event cared about it, probably RK the one who cared the most cos he has nothing to prove. It is his passion and like it or not, at least have some respect. I think that when he recovers he will be back on a rally car before you know it.



This season, I will miss Robert’s ability to vex the frontrunners as he did last year. Given the radical nature of the new Renault, maybe he would have had a car that wouldn’t limit his ability to gain wins. But I believe, entirely, that he will be back. As with many other drivers, his win column does not reflect his genuine and inestimable talent. Love his dry sense of humor.

Kubica :bow


Thank you James for providing us with detailed understanding of what hit Robert. It all sounds incredible nasty what happened to him, and at the same time we gain so much respect for the work and occupation of these doctors.

These dedicated people studying and specializing for years on how to repair traumas, put back nerves, muscles, etc.. their work never gets a wide exposure. Also truly amazing life-saving advancements in the medical world.

I hope that somehow F1 – billion dollar industry – through the FIA can also give back something to this global community of these incredibly dedicated and talented medical specialist who repair so many traumas and save so many lives as a result of car accidents.

(hope that wasn’t too sentimental 🙂


Excellent news. I hope they have a big email server as I suspect he will be getting a lot of well wishers….

I really hope for him that he makes a full recovery.


Well said guys, I shall be adding my best wishes as well. James, I asked you yesterday if you could pass on your viewers’ wishes and now you are helping us do it directly, thank you very much.

You often hear of the F1 community and this forum is living proof of it in being.


Yes, Me too… cross the fingers;-)


Great news.

Robert Bionica.


Yep, fantastic news. Thanks, James.

@BenG You mean ‘Robot Kubica’ 🙂


Thanks for the updates, James, and for working to provide fans with a way to offer their support!

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