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Kubica may miss start of F1 season after rally crash
Kubica may miss start of F1 season after rally crash
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Feb 2011   |  12:59 pm GMT  |  171 comments

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.

Photo: Darren Heath

Kubica has always enjoyed honing his skills in rally cars, but this accident, so close to the start of what was set to be a crucial season for him and the Renault team will inevitably call into question the wisdom of F1 drivers taking part in extra curricular activities.

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.

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If the extent of his injuries is true then the team need to bring in another driver. Senna and Grosjean can't lead the team. Looking down the list of drivers maybe hiring Nick Heidfeld would be best. Still up to speed as last year showed, vastly experienced and proven points scorer. Failing that perhaps try to buy Clock from Virgin.


Autosport are reporting Kubica has lots of 'repair work' to do on his hand - reconnecting blood vessels and the like.

The car crashed into a barrier, which penetrated the footwell of his car, causing the multiple injuries to his right side. It seems that the nature of his accident left him trapped in the car for over an hour, requiring specialist cutting tools to free him.

Really serious stuff unfortunately, particularly for his formula 1 career which some commentators are - perhaps overzealously - casting into a significant degree of doubt.

I hope that's not the case. Best wishes, Robert and a speedy recovery.


Obviously since the story first broke, and the first comments were made here, our understanding of the severity of his condition has greatly increased. First, I wish him a speedy recovery to the point where he can lead a normal life, anything after that is a bonus by the sound of it.


I'm not sure you intended to come across the way you did, but may I suggest a slight pause before hitting "send" next time?

This world is becoming sterile to no end, and people seem to be little short of pathological rule followers these days. In the context of F1, and sport in general, I find it extremely boring. Good for Robert for fighting for his right to rally, and for going for it. Anything worth doing comes with risk.

I am self employed. I do a skilled job in aviation that requires my body to be intact. I also race my dirt bike. I am writing this message from a war zone where I indulge my hobby turned partial income of photography and journalism. What does that make me in your books?

As mentioned by other posters, the corporate overtones of you post represent an awful lot of what is wrong with the world these days imho, and I comment anyone who takes the time to live life to its fullest. There are a great many people on this earth who work to survive. You would do well to remember that.




While I obviiusly do not wish anyone ill, I have precious little sympathy for either Kubica or his F1 team. These guys are spoilt beyond belief if they think it's ok to get to F1 and risk it all on a hobby, There are many kids out there that never get their shot at F1, you'd think those who did would respect it a little more. It smacks of arrogance to me, plain and simple.


I could not disagree more. In this day and age, too many drivers are acting too corporate.

Kubica (along with Webber) is one of these guys who tells it like it is (such as saying his driving for Lotus Cars as much as driving for Total) and enjoys the good things from life.

Furthermore, he treats rallying as driving skill honing. That's the same as you and me attending a training session of some sorts in my view.

It's not about the millions. It's all about the racing.


Wayne, your comment is poor in both taste and timing.

Thomas in Australia

Agreed. Very distasteful comment.

Additionally, Wayne - would you prefer a field of David Coulthard's? Or a field of Senna's? Enough of this sterile corporate rubbish. We want passionate driver's in F1, and Kubica is one of the most passionate.

F1 needs the likes of R.K, Kimi etc. Without them it starts to look very boring and manufactured.


Wayne...The more they brake their bones with activities outside F1, the more "kids that never get their shot at F1" are likely to finally get their shot, by the way.

I dont think driving rally cars with proper homologated rollcages and other safety features is plain arrogance. I think it shows that he is interested in racing. They cant drive too much these days with testing limitations. It would be completely ok if other drivers would seek for more too. This is what they live for, racing. At least I love to think that way.

Moreover, was he racing under false name and with fake hair? No. The team had to know about it. Both the driver and team knew what the risks were. If a driver races other categories with his team approval, it is far from being arrogant.

Im also convinced these 26 drivers that get an opportunity to fight for world chapionship title, are very privileged persons. They should really respect that, I agree. But more important problems are liegates and other ways acting like a complete x, huge demands for paycheck from some drivers(are you there for money or what?) etc.

But let them race and do something real. Otherwise they would play with simulators or dumbbells all the time and rarely see the sun:D

Get well soon Robert. Hoping to see your "arrogance" again.


As I am sure the hundreds of people in the team whose dreams and aspirations Kubica carries on his shoulders for 2011 are hoping..... As are the sponsors who have paid tens of millions in the hopes of getting tv time due to results are hoping..... As are the owners of the team hoping.... As are the guys who clean the factory and who depend on the teams success to keep them employed are hoping.....


Well it is a Motor Sport 'hobby.' He is a racer - and he and Renault knew the risks. I am sorry he hurt himself and hope is is back soon, but I can't help but admire him for wanting to race all sorts of cars.


to wayne: Saying that rallying is just a hobby and he needs to respect F1 more, you are being direspectful for rallying. Maybe you watch F1 and don't think much about other motorsport categories but I bet rally is so much more to Kubica than just a hobby.


I could not disagree more. If I play football for fun at weekends and break my leg I'll be off work. By your logic, everyone who has a job should stay at home when they're not working and do absolutely nothing until it's time to go back to work again!


Say I'm the fulcrum for a company employing 50 people. Breaking my leg and being off for 2 months would impact their income significanlty. (More than it would impact mine - I'm insured.) Where do you draw the line?

Although it's rhetorical as I'm rubbish at football!



No, do not put words in my mouth or twist my logic. Are you the fulcrum for a 50 million dollar investment and hold the dreams of hundreds of people and sponsors in you hands? No? Well then play football all you like.


@wayne are you saying that throughout a drivers career they are not allowed to have any hobbies? the other drivers tht havent made it to F1 arent in F1 because they couldnt give enough commitment or because they just simply arent good enough. If you make it to F1 you shouldnt just stop the rest of your life in case you get an injury.


That's a bit harsh. Top drivers can spend nearly 20 years in F1, a quarter of their life. It is a bit much to ask them to forgo their natural urges. I see no arrogance, just someone who enjoys driving fast.

Neither do I see any reason for him to consider those after his job. I feel certain they would not consider his. I wonder if the phone has stopped ringing at Renault GP's HQ.

The injuries he sustained in the accident seem rather freakish. If what is being suggested at the moment is true it is going to be a long job. Shame. He's given us a lot of enjoyment.

He won't read this but best of luck.



With all due respect, that's a ridiculous point of view. What is the point to life if one does not do what one enjoys? Given his situation, I would be doing the same thing, in fact, back in the day drivers used to race all sorts of non-championship events - I wish they still did.


Well said Wayne.

Someone who risks his career for a hobby is immature.Some of these kids get away with it,some crash.

I wish Robert the best,speedy recovery.

But come on,noone besides me saw this coming?


Well, one would hope that at least one of the things they most enjoyed in life was racing in F1 so you have a pretty entitled and selfish opinion yourself for saying that he somehow deserves to goof off when his team depends on him. If you worked for a multinational corporation that paid you millions of dollars to do your job, lets say in marketing because lets face it the drivers image plays just as much in selling the sport as his skills, and you go and do something outside of work that makes you unable to do the job they pay you for, what do you think the consequences will be?

I do a lot of contract work that requires relatively high level of physical ability daily at work and I have yet to sign a contract that doesnt have some sort of clause basically stating that if I go off acting like an idiot and hurt myself to where it affects my job performance Im essentially on my own, and I get paid way less than a Formula one driver. Most footballers (at least here in the US) have contract restrictions like this, at least during the season that is, because you are of no value to the team on crutches or in a cast. This stunt by Kubica could ruin Renault this year and I expect management to act accordingly, sure its his right to go rallying just as much as it is now the right of Renault to sack him being an idiot. It was extremely selfish and arrogant of him to go out playing like that in such a crucial time for the F1 season, worse still because Renault had basically told him not to. Yes I know they only blocked him ebcause he wouldnt be driving a Renault powered car, but thats the polite corporate way of saying "dont be yob we are depending on you."

Selfishness aside, dont you think Webber wishes at least to some small degree he hadnt stuffed his mountain bike back before Korea?

The problem is that today society feels entitled to self gratification and lack of responsibility or accountability as if the money our employers pay us is just chump change, I fully agree with the OP, there are way too many talented people who want and deserve a shot at F1, I bet Nico Hulkenberg would have loved a seat at Renault for example, and so much talent gets pushed through the revolving door for me to feel sorry for people who recklessly squander the opportunity. I loved Kimi, and part of that was his spirit but I would feel no less sorry for him if he screwed things up with his extracurricular wandering.


The team that pay him to race the finest machines in the world would disagree. My opinion is not 'politic' or the 'right' thing to say but it certainly is not ridiculous sir and of course I join with everyone in wishing him a speedy recovery.

However, these guys are highly privilaged, the team has invested tens of millions in building a successful team for 2011 and Kubica's hobby has likely ended the aspirations of the team, the designers, engineers, pr guys, admin people and cleaners in one fell swoop.

The drivers have an obligation to remember that they represent the hopes of hundreds of people and it IS arrogant to risk all that on a hobby.


Best wishes to Robert...

If Renault does not take someone else in, then could this be the shot that B. Senna has been waiting for?


Why Senna, what has he shown so far in F1 (even given his equipment)? Stand in drivers cam into HRT last year and outperformed him straight away.


Well, Senna has to be the natural choice, as hes the most experienced of the reserve drivers. A reserve drivers job is just that, to be in the car when the regular drivers cant, especially with the restrictions on testing, thats the only thing they can pretty much do.

Ferrari chose to ran Luca BaDoer when Massa had his accident, even though he was out of racing for 10 years or more.

But if we were talking of replacements from the outside, maybe Klien would be a good choice, still young, has lots of testing experience, sent time with Honda, BMW. Has good racing experience and was on the pace when he raced this year.


Hulkenberg on loan?




Impressive tests for Honda... nearly signed for them until they became Brawn and found themselves with minimal testing time.

I think it's unfair to judge him on last year.


Thankgoodness I'm not the only oneremembering this.

Senna also smashed Chandhok in GP2 then only beat him in F1. Senna atleast at teh start had a worse car than the sister car that the others drove. And finally Senna and HRT lothed each other more than Webber and Red Bull at time of the season for the later.

Senna should be given a chance, plus he is the reserve driver, plus Boullier named him as the best choice right now less thana week ago at the launch and finally the marketing poeple would love the idea of a Senna in Lotus Renault with black and gold paint


Senna, because as far as i know he is the teams 3rd driver, and certainly he expects that he gets promoted to a race seat. However, how sustainable such a thing is for the team, is another question.


Calling quick Nick...

Get well soon Bobby K- a great driver, with an excellent character.


Get Heidfeld now!


I really wish Kubica all the best in his recovery. While it might be tempting to question the what-ifs and what-nots, the last thing we want to see for any of these drivers is a life or limb threatening injury.

Hope he gets a speedy recovery and show us what he's really made of!


I hope he hasn't re-injured past breaks. Pining and plates can only do so much and a loss of strength or mobility could make life difficult in an F1 car.

Such bad timing in his career too, with what looks to be a competitive car and a team that appreciates his skills.

Get well soon Robert.




A terrible accident for Robert and my thoughts are with him and I wish him a speedy recovery.

I would love to see Seena in a black and gold "Lotus-Renault" but I think the team would be wise to try and secure Hulkenburg's services on a loan deal...


Not sure why it was an accident... he was driving.... a mistake in driving is not the same as an accident...


Robert is a tough guy and I'm sure he will recover soon and get world-championship in response!!

Robert Good Luck!!


Kimi might end up driving a Renault after all! Best wishes to Kubica for a quick return to health.


JA You seem to be very quick with your analysis, even quicker than Italian doctors with diagnosis.


Someone give Kimi a call. Aside
from Hulk the alternatives aren't up to scratch...


Yes they are.

How is Kimi, a man who doesnt' want to compete in F1 this year, and gave a bit of shout to late over a drive this season to renault late last season a better candidate? He doesn't want to, so he isn't on the list. Why not also put Martin brundle down? I'm sure between comentary and the grid walk he could factor in a drive for renault. Because he doesn't want it either.

Hulkenberg has jsut been signed with a different team which allows him to drive fridays and I'm guessing that buying him out of the contract would be rather difficult and quite expensive.

Senna on the other hand IS ALREADY under renault contract and hence doesn't cost a sigle cent more. Added to that he is alreayd there for all races as he isn't competing in anything else this season.

And finally, most people who give there opinions (at Autosport, here, among other places) all seem to have lost there memory ffrom more than the last year.

Here are some facts

- Hidfeld beat Kubica 2/3 seasons. Ergo, if they replace him with Hidfeld it isn't a ditch effort or a comparison to Senna. It is about equal in pace. As much as you (plural) can't admit to it. Kubica isn't Fangio V2. Kubica is about as fast as Hidfeld and as such if they want to blow some cash and hope he isn't locking himself into something else already then he is an option, not a great one, especially for a team needing cash, but he is one.

- Senna. Where to begin. For a start, he is not slow.

* Senna stopped raicng after Ayrton's death and has only in the last few years come back. He has gone through the ranks faster than most redbull rookies.

* In his best indicator yet, the 2008 season in GP2, his 2nd season, he came 2nd. Smashing teammate Chandhok. And 3rd was Di Grassi who was teammates with.... dun dun dun Petrov! Senna is faster than Chandhok. And Petrov is alot slower than Di Grassi. FACTS.

* Senna had a bad relationship with HRT. HRT gave Chandhok better equipment atleast at the start and probably throughout. It really says something that they wanted Chandhok back this year but not Senna, who beat Chandhok most of the time they raced. Vettel, Webber and several others complained last year about a small crach or two slowing them down. THe HRT wasn't ever fixed or didn't ever have new chassis to compete with. That probably also made something. And finally, probably the most revieling piece of infomation, although may not be 100% accuracte. Senna had his car the whole year at HRT bar one race. In that race yam got smashed by Chandhok. Judging by that, and what he alreayd know of Senna vs CHandhok, Senna should have smashed Yam every race, but didn't. Hence supporting the theory that Senna's car wasn't as to the standard of the other HRT.

* Senna was 3 or 4 tenths off WDC-to-be Button's time just prior to Honda becoming Brawn. He was to be signed but stopped when Honda became Brawn and with the lack of testing inseason they needed someone with more experience.


Terrible news for Kubica, Renault and F1 fans.

Can only hope his injuries are not as bad as feared and he can make a comeback to F1 as soon as possible.


Hope all goes well and he recovers.

Shows just how much we take for granted the saftey levels in F1 that when something like this happens in Motorsport, no matter the formulae, that its a shock to find out. Im not a fan of some drivers/teams, but id never wish this on any driver. Hope he gets fixed up and see him in a F1 car asap.


Hmm, not the best way to start your championship campaign. You can't blame the team because Kubica was famous for controlling the car on the road but this being a more powerful S2000 beast - it probably caught him out. I bet Boullier and Lopez thought it would be alright...

Let's hope RK can make a successful return and have the same physical condition.

Portuguese media are speculating Nick Heidfeld will replace RK... Surely Senna could do the job; all photographers in the pit lane will be hanging around LRGP garage if he gets the seat.


Very terrible indeed. EuroSport and N24 News are reporting that Kubica may have his hand amputated! That is how bad the accident was! Has anyone else heard the news? I hope it is wrong....


BBC reports the following:

'His manager Daniele Morelli told reporters at the hospital: "Surgeons are trying to re-establish the functionality of his right hand."'

This sounds like damage to the tendons and perhaps as mentioned earlier - the blood supply.



That is awful to hear. I wish him the best, but it doesn't look good for him to race this season. Such a waste just to go rallying on the weekends when he was not busy with F1. But I guess thats what makes him a great racer!


Autosport report that amputation of Kubica's hand has been ruled out, but the initial prognosis of recovery for his hand does not look good at all, though of course he will have access to some of the best medical and rehabilitation service in the world.


Terrible but true. Right hand, leg and arm seriously injured (he has the femur broken i've read), and with amputation risk for his hand as well as internal "hemorragia" (I don't know how to say it in enlish).


F1 Fanatic reporting serious injuries, more specifically multiple fractures to right arm, leg and hand but no other information than that. Unfortunately all very reminiscent of other drivers before and while I wish Robert a speedy recovery, surely it's time the out of office activities of drivers were reigned in.



Get well soon Robert!


Looks like Heidfeld shouldn't hang up his helmet just yet.


Terrible news for Kubica, Renault and all F1 fans.

We can only hope the injuries are not a bad as feared and he can make a comeback to F1 as early as possible.


Shame to lose such a true blooded racing driver. I hope Kubica gets well soon.

Renault needs Heidfeld badly. Or the Hulk …


I was really happy to see him doing so well in rallying. Now I'm not sure was it a good idea to carry on with it - especially before this season.

Lets hope he will get back soon!


Any thoughts on who they might draft in James? A temporary return for Kimi perhaps, or may be a temporary race seat for Hulkenburg?



Regardless of beeing Polish I felt that this year's Renlaut is a rocketship.

It is by far most beautifull car this year putting even Mclaren in shade.

I was wery close too my first visit to bookies to put few tenners on Kubica beeing one of the title contenders this year.

I hope he is ok and will be back soon.

He was supposed to be in centre of this seasons drama.

P.s: Wonder what Heidfeld is dooing this morning.Might be good idea to get himself a Lotus Renlaut jumper...


All the best Bob, get better soon.


Hire Kimi !


I wonder if we will see Kimi Räikkönen coming back to F1 with Renault as Kubica's replacement?


Get well soon Robert. Is it too soon then to ponder if Kimi would save the day for Renault? Or is he now solidly tied into his rallying contract?




It is great pity what happened with Robert!

May be Renault should hire Heidfeld. It would be interesting deal.


When I heard the news my feeling was that Renault would need to bring in an outside driver as the reserve drivers were presumably replacements should Petrov not perform.

However, I am not sure who they would call upon. While the Internet would like it to be Kimi, this is highly unlikely as Kimi was not prepared to sign with Renault when there was a full race seat available, so is less likely to want to fill as a temporary replacement, even if the Renault looks to have the potential of being a true front running car.

The only other driver of the calibre Renault need that I can think of is Heidfeld. But the comments he made last year when commentating on 5live make me doubt he would be prepared to stand in for Kubica.

Pedro de la Rosa is one possibility, but whilst he has the experience he is not really a driver you would expect to lead a WDC/WCC challenge which at this point Renault surely must believe they have the car for.

And because of that, they are hardly likely to take on the reserve driver from another team because should Kubica return they would not want information regarding their car to go back to that competitor when the driver is no longer needed.

All of this puts Renault in a very awkward position and unless Kubica is going to be out for a very long time I can see them starting the season with Petrov and Bruno Senna. What were the odds on either of them lifting the WDC trophy 24 hour ago?


While I of course hope Kubica makes a full recovery, if they establish in the near future that he's going to be out for most or all of the season then I wonder....


The Renault looks on a similar pace to the Red Bull. He'd not have team-mate problems. RB have a few drivers they could promote. Only down-side would be it could hinder RB's constructor's challenge. A good way to round out his career maybe?


Very interesting... Webbo's links with Renault are strong and a final season as clear no 1 driver would definitely be an attraction...


In the Sydney Morning Herald last Saturday, Webber mentioned he had another five or six years left in F1.

Realistically, I only see him moving to Ferrari in future. Probably 2013 to replace Massa.


It'd be interesting to consider what the chances of Kimi parachuting in alongside Vettel might be if that came about.


Unless it is certain that Kubica would be out for the entire season (which in order for it to be certain would be if the injuries permanently end his career) Webber would not transfer to Renault. Renault would also not want to bring in a driver that could be deemed a replacement either, unless it was certain that Kubica would not be driving for them again. Although today's incident is 0% Renault's fault, they would still receive negative PR if they were seen to be replacing an injured driver.


I really thought he might be a contender this year. Let's hope he makes a speedy recovery.


Fingers crossed for him to get well soon.

Later on, we could discuss on what was Robert doing driving a Rally car and risking himself to an accident...


Bad luck, but equally poor judgmental call on his behalf. JPM virtually wrecked his F1 career (when Ron rightly lost faith in him. And maybe, Mark Weber was slower than his normal self last year due to his injuries and cost him the title and maybe his only shot at it, though he claims otherwise.

Life off the track will always separate the Good from the Great. Kubica has the talents to match legends, but judgment seems to have failed him.

All the very best for him


Before F1, career drivers go where there's work. F1 can get you a WDC title, but Vettel and Hamilton are the only two ultimately successful drivers whose teams have financed, directly or indirectly, their entire careers, which might be some cause to claim exclusivity on their services. Exclusive service is a contractual point, not a moral obligation or a metaphysical advantage that can conjure greatness. Kubica has already been close to the WDC and he knows what that's worth better than us.


Looks like Heidfeld might find a temporary drive?


As a racer myself I know we all love to drive anything...all the time...this one will leave a dent in all contracts from here on.


Is the Hulk still available or is he now locked into a contract elsewhere ?

He has to be the best guy available to step in.


They ought to get Heidfeld.

What a shame for Kubica.


The news look much worse than what you reported James and I'm really sorry for him. It looks certain he will miss this season altogether. The question is whether he'll ever drive after today. I've read reports in la Gazetta and Eurosport where they suggested that he might loose the use of one hand. It seems that an Armco entered the car.

I hope 1st and foremost that he recovers completely whether he drives or not in the future.

His accident emphasizes how dangerous is rallying and that huge steps have to be made to enhance the situation. Giving that it's less glamorous and wilder than circuit racing, much less attention is paid to fatalities occurring in rallying. If Kubica's name might help in pushing forward awareness towards those issues, it's at least one benefit from a tragedy.

A 2nd thought is whether F1 drivers should be allowed to practice dangerous activities and if not up to what risk level an activity is dimmed dangerous ?

A more scenic point concerns the team Renault, Lotus or whatever its name. Their whole strategy driver-wise was built around him and it's a huge blow to the team spirits and maybe even to the way it works if they heavily rely on him development wise. The hottest prospects for a replacement are either Heidfeld or the Hulk.


Hope he makes a good recovery however long it takes. Such a shame. Think his health takes priority over any racing


Absolutely spot on, Jo.


Here's a short video showing the damage to Kubica's car:


Most shocking is the damage inside the cockpit visible at 0:55-1:00. Looks like his injuries could have been much worse, even fatal, based on the extent of the damage inside the car. Those pipes and other metal components protrude scarily far into the cockpit.

Hope he makes a full recovery or at least as close as could be expected and can get back to racing in F1 when he's fit and ready and not a moment sooner. These injuries could be career ending.



Robert, get well.

I don't know about you, but along with wishing Robert all possible things that could aide his recovery, moment like this make me appreciate the joys of life. One day you're the fastest driver of a session in an F1 car, the next there are talks about palm amputations. Which I truly hope are just a case of false media reporting.


I thought that Renault had already stated that Senna was in line to step into the car should one of their drivers (Petrov) not be able to race....

Somehow I just don't see that happening, could this mean a return for Kubica's old team mate? Will Heidfeld find his skills called on once again in F1 I wonder. Can't think of any other drivers apart from Kimi who could fill the role, and I really doubt Kimi would want to fill in for a few races.


Really shocking news ! My thoughts and prayers are now with Robert. I was so relieved when I learned about a month ago that he was not allowed to start at Rally Monte Carlo. And now this ! I wish to say to Robert: if you like your F1 fans, please stop this "rally nonsence". At least for some time. The injury reports are quite different: from amputation to "not so bad". In any way: it is very bad news for Robert, Renault and F1 fans. Hopefully he will be able to drive in 2011.


Get better quickly RK. F1 needs you.


Sad news, I'm sure we all wish him the best and speedy recovery possible.


I wish Kubica all the best. When will these teams learn? A much as one can get injured participating in seemingly low risk activities like mountain biking or... tennis, the highly paid spearhead of a (near) top team doing an event like this is too great a risk. I wonder of they'll get Heidfeld in if he has to miss races? The prospect of Bruno Senna in the car is hardly a great one. A real shame, he's such a great talent and character; I wish he'd stayed in the gym this weekend...


Too bad for Kubica and for Renault. Looked like they could have indeed been a force to recon with.

Who to replace him? Guess there is Heidfelt or de la rosa, but surely they lack the raw speed. I would consider the Hulk if I was them. If the Hilk beats Petrov then they can keep the hulk when kubica gets back and can tell those russian sponsors their man just aint good enough!


Two words. Kimi Raikonnen.

Is this likely now Kubica wont be there?


Lets wait and see what his condition is before talking about whose going to replace him shall we.


Two words: No chance.


Ny thought exactly.

After Lopez and Bouiller used Kimi to leverage Petrov's contract, I very much doubt he'd have anything to do with those Genii people (also known as Lotus Renault GP).


two letters: RK for Robert Kubica, KR for Kimi Raikkonnen


Disaster, especially as the new Renault looks good.

A return for Heidfeld maybe, or even Kimi?


No no no! this is very sad for Robert. This year's car was very promising and the Lotus Renault team was built around him wasn't it? I hope he can join the 2011 season soon, I love to watch him drive.


SID is reporting that his wrist is badly damaged. I dare not repeat the doctors' reported considerations.

As a fan of Kubica, I wish the best for him. I hope he comes out on top of this.


Very sorry for him, Renault seem to have a very strong car. They should give a call to Kimi Raikkonen`s management, now. Third drivers are not good enough. Hope Robert will be able to come back for the second half, but highly unlikely to get back his fitness, so soon.


ohhh, no! What a nightmare!


Hmmm, who will replace him. Fractures take weeks, even months so he will definatly not be back for a while.

Will they trust Senna?

Will they give Kimi a phone? I would love that, but dont think it will happen. If Kimi was to sign for them it would have to be for the whole year I would think, meaning either RK couldnt come back this year or would have to take Petrovs car.

It has to be quick Nick. He was Kubicas team mate for years and was not much if at all slower than him. I believe he is a good development driver and has always been overlooked.

Either way I wish RK all the best for a speedy recovery, he must be hitting himself for that though. I hope it is not the end of F1 drivers competing in other catergories. If anything I think they should do more of it. I would love it for some of the F1 guys to hop in Le Mans cars for the weekend, just like back in the bad old days.


I dont think kimi will consider renault unless its for the full season...and its too early to say if kubica needs that long a time for recovery.

More likely for me are heidfeld, hulkenberg or maybe even fisichella...far more prudent stop gaps, with heid/fisi having loads of experience for testing.


Is Kimi still getting 19 million from Ferrari, or was that only for *last season?


He is free of Ferrari since the end of 2010.


Funny how almost everyone immediately agrees that Renault's reserve drivers are not really good enough to step in to replace Kubica. What's the point in employing someone (in Renault's case *five* drivers) as reserve if you wouldn't really want any of them to race if your lead driver is unavailable?

I wonder what the next press release from the Hulkenberg camp will be.

During the last hour or so the news on Robert's state has sadly changed from "serious injury" to a probable career-ending injury - which will also influence Renault's decision, now they'll probably need a new lead driver for good and not only a replacement for a handful of races.

But most importantly I hope Kubica gets well soon.


renault wont get heidfeld or raikkonen.

they have 4 reserve drivers and eric boullier said during the launch that bruno senna would be the 1st driver called if anything happened to kubica or petrov.

if they were intrested in someone like heidfeld they would have brought him in as a reserve instead of senna, grosjean, tung and fauzy.


To be honest, I think they will have to revisit.

I mean, with no expectation of looseing a race driver, you would big up your reserve drivers wouldn't you? Why dent their confidence.

But what they need now is a car developer. Which is why Heidfeld is a better choice than Hulk. (Who would need to be bought off FI anyway.)



Very sad news indeed, and I for one hope the reports on the extent of his injuries are not borne out in reality. He is a true racer's racer and the paddock would be much the poorer without him, to say nothing of the Renault team itself whose aims for the season must now be completely up in the air.

Fingers crossed for more positive news.


Really bad news, hope he can be fit to drive during the season. Kubica is a real star and great to watch in action so all the best for a speedy recovery. It would be a real shame for me and all of us fans if he was missing.

It might ask for some awkward questions though. Why was he allowed to drive another race car during F1 testing and so close to the start of the season? Why did this accident happen on a link stage between actual race stages? Why was he driving a Skoda? If the car was privately entered or not he is affiliated with Lotus/Renault/Lada.

I think the days of driving other race cars, riding bikes and doing anything dangerous outside of F1 for drivers might be over. There is too much at stake these days to risk.


Here's hoping RK makes a speedy recovery to full strength.


Really horrible news, I hope it's no more than leg and/or arm fractures and that he can resume his career.

I can see driver contracts getting a lot stricter about these sort of activities.


though i enjoy seeing F1 drivers do something outside of F1... it is kind of irresponsible of Renault to allow him to do this 1 month before the start of the season... now i understand teams that do not allow drivers to do extra-f1 activities.

i could not help thinking how F1 has its turns and twistst throughout an entire year. as senna has been named the first in line, at least no one can say he never got a fair chance to prove himself.. the black-gold livery seems to be pulling him in (black-gold magic perhaps)


Isn't it in poor taste to be talking about a replacement already when the extent of RK's injuries have not been released, and the man is still in surgery?


Speculating about a replacement for someone in Surgery seems prudent.The next test is next weekend.


I second that. Get well soon Robert, you didn't deserve that


Not at all. Its the natural 2nd thought when *the key figure in *any business gets hurt. Renault were dumb not to have contractual protection from this kind of thing.


Well said.


Horrendous news!! Really could of been a fantastic season for him and Renault. Reports are saying everything from amputation to just broken bones. Apparently previous injuries have made issues worse.

Hope it's not as bad as feared.

Get well soon Bob!


Anyone remember Alan Jones breaking a hand hitting someone in a road rage brawl while at Williams? Sandro Nannini? Graham Hill? Carlos Pace? Life happens outside of F1.

Heal quickly, Robert.


I thought Nannini was gonna be 'the best' one day.

At least his chopper crash injuries were not caused by indulging in some high-risk sport for fun, though.


Drivers for hire supplement their income. For fun it's different?


Sad news!

We need to understand how serious it is and he is to miss half of the season, Renault needs to do something. They need a top class driver this year and even Heidfeld is not going to be good enough. The only option that I see is Kimi!

if Renault is going to be compromised because of the lack of top driver, they will have serious issues with the future of the team, not just now...

And there is nobody available, who can challenge Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton - only Kimi.

Call Raikkonen!


Whether these injuries are truly severe or not, as we will find out shortly, they seem extensive and the imply at least multiple fractures.. Why even consider a replacement, he will not be in the car for the start, and it will spilt drivers points if he does come back midseason. So unless Petrov steps WAY up, kiss that trophy goodbye

Renault, bite the bullet and purchase Kimi's services, its problably a novel and exciting enough set of circumstances to get him onboard, at least 1 season


If it was up to Renault I think we would see Senna in the car, Brazil is a huge market for Renault. The question is how much influence the new director Mr. Bahar has and what would he want? Any thoughts on this James?


Terrible news, I wish Kubica all the best.

As an aside,

"... and one always had the impression that Ron Dennis lost faith in [Montoya] at that point."

This is certainly true, Dennis said so when he came to speak at the Oxford Union about 18 months ago. He was very honest about how let down he had been by Montoya. He was also *scathing* of Alonso.


Dish the dirt!


Terrible news. I really hope Kubica will be back to his best this year. The Renault looks quick, and he could have had a chance at the title.

Had Kubica's incident come at any other time I think they would have had no hesitation in putting Senna or Grosjean in the seat. It is clear that neither had the opportunities in F1 that their talent in junior formulae suggested.

But I think they will look to Nick Heidfeld because his experience will be invaluable at the pre-season testing stage to get the car where it needs to be.

Whatever happens it will be a big test for Petrov, because I could see Senna, Grosjean and Heidfeld making him look very ordinary given half the chance.


I think Senna should have a go. Thats the point of having a reserve driver isnt it?!





It doesn't look good at the moment. The video showing the car shows its a real mess...


The car is a wreck - check out 22 seconds - there is a massive hole in the front end, which is where the armco may have penetrated the car.

Terrible news for Kubica, Renault & F1.


Thoughts with Robert Kubica hope he gets well soon. Even if he misses the first couple of Grand Prix he can still have a good season.

If he faces a more lengthy layoff then surely Reanult need to seriously consider Nick Heidfeld over Bruno Senna?


Very unfortunate.


terrible news for a great bloke and an unfulfilled talent. All indications seem to point to a long rehabilitation period.

It would be uncomfortable for Renault to overlook nominated reserve drivers (but it is tempting to wonder whether Daniel Ricciardo on loan from Red Bull might be an outside possibility at some point)


Whilst I understand that Renault will be thinking about driver line-ups, they have to... couldn't we hold our horses for a little while, especially when Robert is still on the operating table, and just wish him well?


We all hope Kubica recovers well, he recovered from the massive accident at Montreal.

But why should drivers be banned from activities?

Maybe ban Webber from going on his bike after his terrbie accident which ended him suffering a broken leg or two.

and Kimi was taking part in Rally events while in F1.


If Kimi accepts an offer from Renault... then we will have 6 World Champions racing together in one season! WOW


If I was Eric Boullier, I would definitely give Tonio Liuzzi a call!!


Too bad for poor Kubica, i wish him a speedy recovery. But to everyone who is suggesting kimi, heidfield or hulkenberg or another driver don't you think it would be a huge lack of respect to senna and grosjean? so what is the point of being a reserve driver if they can't take a seat when available.


It would be different if the season were already underway, and if it were to be only for a few races. In mid-season, the chance of a WDC (or a high position) for someone else would already be gone. As it is, if a high calibre replacement can be found (e.g. Kimi, Nick, Jarno etc ) then a high WDC position and a high WCC position (=cash) can still be achieved. Robert may be out for the season, unfortunately, and they need someone to score a lot of points.


If the damages are serious it could even be the end of his carrier...

Considering they NEED an experienced driver including as soon as for the next testings, I would definitely go for Heidfeld. Not sure Raikkonen really wants to come back and would like to come back with Renault, so Nick's the best – only – reasonable choice.


Get well soon, Robert! F1 would be a poorer place without you.


last i heard, he will not lose his right hand, but full funcionality of it is in doubt. the left arm concerns are also valid. this is sad sad news and as much as i'm a fan of bruno senna, this is not the way i picture him getting a drive. get well soon robert!


Some reports are saying that his left hand/arm might have been amputated.

I sincerely hope that is not the case, but if this is the extent of the injuries then his F1 career is unfortunately over.

I wish RK well.


Really dumb.

But, thats young athletes for you: bulletproof and immortal.

Now, if Renault hires an outside driver, what does that say about the practice of having test/reserve drivers on staff?


Only Kimi Raikkonen is at the same level as Kubica. There is no point to give a potentially winning car to a second driver who has been beaten many times by mid-class drivers just because he is the official replacement. Too much money and effort go into an F1 car until its got a great potential for race wins. Renault just may have one great car this year. No point to waste an opportunity like that. Get well soon Robert!



They're not going to care about hurting a test drivers feeling, over getting someone who can drive to the potential of this car.

I'd expect a move for Webber or even a Massa. Both drivers look like they're on their last year at their current teams, so buying out their contract would not be impossible. Both have the ability to win races.

Marty McSuperFly

Gut wrenching news.

Herbet survived what would normally have been an amputation at the ankle to eventually return to racing (though arguably he was never quite the same). Hopefully Kubica can make a return.

Such a shame for everyone involved



Goodness me!! He's on the operating table and all people can talk about is replacements?!

Kimi fans, hate to break it to you, he's not coming back. Heidfeld? Why oh why?! He's had his chance. Senna is the 3rd driver and Renault have confirmed Senna is likely to get the seat if Kubica can't compete. There is nothing to discuss here.

But I stress again, the man you are discussing is on the operating table and was earlier on today was fighting for his life. Quite frankly, unbelievable stuff! Can we just wait until we have confirmation that the operation was OK first?

My thoughts are with Kubica and his family.


When did Heidfeld have his chance? Did he get promoted to a fast team when he beat his team mate Kimi? Or Massa? Or Webber? Or Kubika? He has always been in mid range or backmarker cars, Heidfeld is the most under rated driver in the world and can still perform.

PS: We fans are not heartless, I and many others hope for RK's full recovery ofcourse.


Formula One has always been a rather unemotional sport. You obviously think it heartless, but that is the way the sport has always been.

If you don't think his team is at this very minute working full stop to find a replacement, you're greatly mistaken.

Personally, I find it odd when the followers of stick and ball sports try to apply that level of sporting morality to a truly dangerous profession like motorsport.

Perhaps the tremendous danger implicit in the sport is what makes Formula One more akin to an military battle than a stick and ball sports.

Whatever the reason, that is the way of F1. Someone is gone. OK, we're in a war people, get on with the work and find a replacement.


I agree that is what the team in a corporate F1 world will in all likelihood be doing.

But that doesn't mean we as fans have to succumb to this level.

Now that Kubica is out of surgery, it would be appropriate for that discussion amongst fans to happen. That argument can be as passionate or matter as fact as we like. But whilst someone's life is at risk under the operating table, that was not the time. I would hope that most F1 fans would not be so animalistic, but there is no hard and fast rule on people's morality.


I understand your point, but just disagree with you. Just because the sport is like that, doesn't have to mean the fans have to be like that.


You miss my point.

This has nothing to do with "Corporate F1". Decades before there was a single big corporation in the sport, Formula One was ever as emotionless, some would say heartless or ruthless.

Passion, heart, niceness all have a place. such a place has nothing in common with Formula One.

By asking F1 to be civil and nice, you're asking F1 to be something it has never, ever been, and in my mind, shouldn't be.

It's a very dangerous profession, the mentality that goes with such danger is one of required dis-attachment. It's a mentality where you know bad things are definitely, positively, 100% bound to happen. In this, F1 has more in kind with the military than with stick and ball sport.

F1 is a hard world, drivers get injured, drivers die. Everyone quickly moves on.


These guys know the risks, but still ... a damn shame.

I don't understand all this Kimi talk ... he didn't want to drive for them before, why is he suddenly going to help them out now?

Hopefully we will see what Bruno can do in a decent car, but first of all let's hope Robert's injuries are not as bad as all the reports suggest.


The Gods are having a private joke amongst themselves at our expense.

I can see Kimi coming in for Kubica and winning the Drivers' Championship, giving a two fingered salute at F1 and going back to Rallying at the end of the Year with his No.1 Status. That should do Bernie's nut.


For one day in the last two years I haven't been on the Internet. Just logged on to see this.

Wishing Robert a full recovery (hopefully). An absolutely top guy. Always hate to see news of anyone getting injured.

Sounds like the guy operating on his hand is one of the best in Italy.

Get well soon Robert.


This is terrible news for Kubica, and for any fan of Formula One. Here's hoping the true nature of his injuries isn't quite so severe, that he makes a full and swift recovery, and that the team stands by him in the interim.


I wish a speedy and full recovery to Robert (as we all do).

I understand the calls for Heidfeld and Hulkenberg to be his temporary replacement, but it really has to be either Senna or Grosjean, otherwise it makes a mockery of having appointed reserve drivers in the first place. I would go with Grosjean, as he has proven he wants to race, and has done pretty well in lesser series.


Not necessarily - you don't choose a reserve driver with the intention of them taking over the lead driver role for the majority of a season. They are there to help develop their career, bring in a bit of money to the team (sometimes) and to stand in for the odd session, maybe the odd race if absolutely necessary.

A top driver is unlikely to take a reserve driver role unless there is nothing else available - look at Hulk for example. In circumstances like these a team does need to consider drivers outside their reserves as they need someone capable of leading the team, pushing for top scores and helping development. I suspect Senna could be a good driver but he needs a team leader to sort the car. Grosjean, well, who knows? He seemed to have his moments last time around but didn't set the world alight. Petrov certainly can't give the team direction, you need someone with the experience to do that.

For the sake of the team they need someone with more experience.


Get better soon Robert - I hope your recovery is as speedy and "full" as possible.


Can see Renault hiring Fisichella, makes perfect sense, he has driving for Renault in the past he is available (I am sure Ferrari will let him go) and has experience. However I am hoping Bruno Senna gets the seat because he deserves a chance to show what he can do.

Hope Kubica get better soon and is nothing that will ruin his career.


really gutted for Bobby K.

in my opinion he was more than equal to most of the current crop of drivers with WDC's under their belt.

such a shame.


You can safely exclude Kimi Räikkönen from the list of replacements. He has commitments to rallying signed up for this year and for example his co-driver has committed himself to be Kimi's co-driver.

I can't see Kimi breaking all of the commitments he has made to rallying just because some F1 driver got injured. It would not be a good way to go about business or sport.

Leaving the commitments aside, I don't think he is desperate to get back to F1 at all. Many of his fans may be, but he is not. It does not make sense for him to come back to a team which is most likely not a front-runner. He won many races and the WDC and driving for WCC points for Renault may just not be appealing-enough!

Kimi has not ruled out a come-back to F1 out completely but it won't happen this year that's pretty clear.


I will have to agree with the people who are saying that the reserve drivers the team has now are not good-enough. I said this immediately to myself after I heard about Kubica's accident.

The only sensible option I see for them who could be about as good as Robert Kubica has been is Nick Heidfeld.

Kimi Räikkönen would be the best one who is out of F1 now and who has the recent experience and success from F1 to justify being there, but he is not available, so we can forget him from this list. So Heidfeld is their best bet if they need someone who can be about as good as Robert Kubica.

Heidfeld may not be an exciting choice but I don't see who else could they call if they want to mount at least a somewhat-serious challenge in the championships.

You can't put this weight on Vitaly Petrov, and I will be shocked if the team decides they don't need any better than Petrov to lead their charge in the championships this season. That would show gross incompetence by the management of the team to handle such a crisis.


It won't be great marketing having the car craned out of a gravel trap or tyre barrier every race, I hope they will not be that stupid.


Feel sorry for Robert Kubica, latest they trying to save his hand



obviously my first thoughts are for robert, he's a brilliantly talented driver who was doing what he loved to do.

as for the reserve drivers, yes senna is third driver but that's maybe because he was a lot more cost effective in terms of media coverage and maybe bringing money into the team than someone like heidfeld. however, if you're actually running the third driver in the car, you'd want heidfeld over senna anyday, especially now with the lack of the lead driver to help shape development of the car.


I hope F1 does not turn into a place where drivers are forced to sign contracts that tell them they are not allowed to take party in any other form of racing. That would be a big shame!

I hope Robert recovers and is able to return at some point. This years F1 championship is not going to be quite the same even though he was (probably) not one of the favorites to take the crown.


renault have confirmed that senna will be doing the testing in place of kubica next week at jerez.


Really upsetting news. I wish Robert all the best in his recovery.


All the best Robert, for one of the best


First of all good wishes to Robert, as I write it looks like he will be out a very long time.

The subject of what drivers do when not in work isn't new Ken Tyrrel had this with Depailler years ago and his hang gliding.

This has been bugging me all night who was the British driver who competed at the top level with only one hand?


Terrible news 🙁

Like everyone, I sincerely hope that Robert makes a full recovery and he can return to the grid sooner rather than later.

There is no doubt this accident will force teams to look at contract clauses, with more specific 'can and cannots' for drivers regarding their involvement in high risk activities away from F1.

Daniel Riccardo would be an exciting addition to the drivers list in my opinion, but only if RK is unlikely to return to the sport. He's on a sweet wicket as Red Bull reserve driver and seems set to replace Webber when he retires/leaves team.


Absolutely awful what has happened to Robert Kubica and hope to see him back in an F1 car soon. I am Lewis fan but have huge respect for Robert who is an exceptional driver and was looking forward to seeing him on the grid at the start of the season. In the meantime in my opinion if Kimi Raikonnen could be convinced to come back he would be the obvious choice. Luizzi too erratic and inconsistent. Senna unproven but maybe should be given the opportunity in a good car to show whether he has it or not. Heidfield a good possible choice but if Raikonnen is not available I would take a punt on Hulkenberg who I think deserves a race seat and towards the end of last season was showing real promise.

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