The doctor heading up the surgical team overseeing Robert Kubica's immediate recovery from Sunday morning's rally accident in Italy has confirmed that the Pole is unlikely to race this season, but held out hope for the longer term.
Once initial fears that Lotus Renault GP driver Kubica may lose his right hand to amputation had begun to fade, Professor Igor Rossello explained that the next few days would be critical in determining the Pole's long-term prognosis, but suggested that his patient's signs were promising.
"We will see in the next few days what will happen," Rossello, director of the Regional Centre of Hand Surgery at San Paolo Hospital in Savona, told Reuters
reporters after emerging from seven hours of surgery on Kubica's hand and forearm., "The danger is that, in five or seven days, we could have vascular problems, and he could have to have surgery again to resolve the problems. However, at the end of the operation, Robert's hand was well vascularised and warm, which is encouraging. I expect him to recover enough functionality to resume his activity."
Whilst admitting that Kubica, who topped the final day of testing in Valencia last week, was likely to be out of action for at least a year, the surgeon suggested that his status as an elite athlete may enable him to recover in a shorter period of time than normal.
"One year is the best provision [for recovery, but] drivers are always very special patients," he noted, "I have a lot of motorbike patients and they heal in the fastest way possible, much faster than normal people."
As well as the serious concerns over his hand, multiple fractures to his right leg and arm after his Skoda Fabia RS careered off the road and into the wall of a church, badly deforming its front-end. Reports also suggest that a section of guardrail penetrated the cockpit area, likely causing the extent of Kubica's injuries. Co-driver Jakub Gerber emerged unscathed from the accident, which occurred on the opening stage of the Ronda di Andora, but the Pole was reportedly trapped in the car for more than an hour before being cut free.
news agency reports that Kubica's car has been impounded by police, while initial suspicions point to the combination of a wet road and protruding tree roots as a possible reason for the accident.