Lotus Renault GP has issued another update regarding the condition of its star driver, Robert Kubica, who was badly injured in a crash while competing on the Ronda de Andora Rally in Italy on Sunday.
The Pole underwent a seven-hour operation at the Santa Corona Hospital in Pietra Ligure, having been diagnosed with multiple fractures to his right arm and leg following the accident, in which his Skoda is reported to have crashed into a church wall at high speed shortly after starting the day's first stage. Kubica, who suffered a serious accident in the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix but returned to win the same race the following season, had to be cut from the wreckage of the car, and was airlifted to hospital, but his co-driver escaped unharmed, despite the front of the car being badly damaged.
The major concern for doctors were severe cuts to the driver's forearm, thought to have been caused when guardrail penetrated the cockpit, which they believed could have an impact on the mobility of his right hand but, after a long time in surgery, they claim to be 'reasonably satisfied' with the way the operation went. Kubica's condition remains stable but serious, however, and he was placed into an induced coma overnight, from which he is likely to be woken in the morning.
“It has been a very important and difficult operation," Professor Mario Igor Rossello, Director for the Regional Centre of Hand Surgery at San Paolo Hospital in Savona, commented, "Robert's right forearm was cut in two places, with significant lesions to the bones and the tendons. We did our best to rebuild the functions of the forearm, [but] it took seven doctors, split into two teams, and a total of seven hours to complete the operation.
"One team was the emergency task force from the hospital of San Paolo (Savona) that is normally appointed to treat this sort of injury, while the other team came from the orthopaedic department of the Santa Corona Hospital (Pietra Ligure). At the end of the operation, Robert's hand was well vascularised and warm, which is encouraging.
"Following the surgery, Robert will remain under permanent monitoring overnight because his condition remains serious.”
The accident came as Kubica escaped from the early season pressure of F1 and indulged in a regular hobby which has seen him prove successful in recent years. He was competing in Italy with permission from his employer despite the second pre-season test of 2011 looming next week, having ended the first session by topping the times on the final day in Valencia last Thursday.
"The news of Robert's accident came as a real shock to the whole team," Lotus Renault principal Eric Boullier admitted, "All of us wish him a quick recovery. We have been really impressed with the way the doctors looked after him today and we would like to thank the whole team of the Santa Corona Hospital for their professional approach and dedication. I will be travelling to Italy tomorrow, along with Vitaly Petrov, in order to see Robert and tell him that we are impatiently waiting for his return."
Another update will be made on Monday morning by Professor Rossello and Kubica's manager Daniel Morelli, but is unlikely to shed any light on the Pole's immediate future in motorsport, and will definitely not reveal who will replace him in the cockpit. With Kubica set to miss the entire 2011 season as he recuperates, Lotus Renault is faced with the choice of putting one of its relatively inexperienced reserves into the car alongside Petrov, who himself has just one season of F1 under his belt, or maybe looking at the veteran drivers currently on the sidelines.
The team's 'official timing partner' TW Steel issued a brief statement regarding Kubica's situation.
“We have obviously been following the situation very intently since hearing of the news and we simply would wish Robert Kubica a swift and full recovery from the injuries he sustained today,” chief commercial officer Stewart Bain commented, “He is very much in our thoughts as he undergoes his surgical procedures and everyone at TW Steel sends Robert their best wishes. We are in close contact with Lotus Renault GP concerning updates on Robert's condition and our thanks go to the team for their prompt communications.”