Lotus Renault GP team principal Eric Boullier refuses to accept that he may have lost Robert Kubica for the entire F1 season, despite the Pole undergoing lengthy surgery following his rally accident on Sunday.
Kubica, who was tipped for success in 2011 following a strong Valencia test last week, had to be cut from his Skoda Fabia RS rally car after crashing into a church wall during the Ronda di Andora Rally in Italy, and endured seven hours of surgery as doctors battled to save the mobility of his right hand. The initial prognosis is good, although Kubica's doctors insist that the next few days will be critical to his recovery, especially as he may require further surgery to correct the fractures to his arm and leg.
Boullier, meanwhile, has shrugged off suggestions that the Pole may be out of action for the entire 2011 campaign, optimistically hoping that he may be able to return as the season wears on.
"When you have a big crash like Robert suffered on Sunday, doctors always predict the worst-case scenario," he told the BBC
on Monday, "Definitely, it took seven hours in the surgery room to repair his hand and his arm [but], this morning, it was really fine. They needed 24 hours to make sure he recovered completely and it looks like, this morning, they are all happy.
"He is definitely out for a couple of months. The recovery will be quicker than one year, but it is a bit early to know exactly how long he will need."
Boullier also admitted that he was in no rush to name a replacement for the 26-year Pole, saying that his decision could rest on knowing how long Kubica would be out of the cockpit. While the inexperienced Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean head up the list of Lotus Renault's 'in-house' reserves, there are several veterans left on the sidelines this season who may fit the bill should Kubica be out long-term.
"We are already starting to think, and work, on a contingency plan," Boullier said, "but we don't know yet. We are actually waiting to know how long it will take because, if it is a short-term replacement, we will take one of our reserve drivers. If he has to be longer, we may have to consider different options."