Following Robert Kubica's much-publicised accident on the Ronda di Andora rally in Italy, the wisdom of allowing F1 drivers to take part in risky extra-curricular has been called into question.
The Pole, who had the full backing of the Lotus Renault
GP team, is not the first high-profile talent to endanger his F1 chances through injury [see story here
], although he is certainly the one to have come off worst in recent times. Mark Webber
was able to return to the cockpit just a couple of months after breaking his leg after being knocked from his road bike during the Pure Tasmania adventure race, while Juan Montoya soured his relationship with McLaren
after attempting to race with injuries sustained in a pre-season motocross ride.
Of course, it is not just adrenaline sports that can threaten careers, as both David Coulthard
and 1990s Benetton driver Alessandro Nannini can attest. While the Scot was fortunate to emerge unscathed from a plane crash that killed his pilot, the Italian lost part of his arm when his helicopter came down in 1990, ending his F1 involvement immediately.
So the question has to be asked whether, even in times of the so-called 'nanny state', expensive assets such as F1 drivers should be prevented from indulging in dangerous extra-curricular activities that may cost them - and their teams - dearly.
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