Niki Lauda has called Robert Kubica 'unreasonable' for insisting on pursuing his love of rallying after the new F1 season had started.
The Pole, who had been expected to carry the hopes of Lotus Renault GP in 2011, was badly injured in an accident on the small Ronda di Andora when he lost control of his Skoda Fabia RS and was speared by a roadside crash barrier. Kubica, who topped the times at the opening F1 test in Valencia, narrowly avoided more serious implications as the barrier passed through the car, and is currently recovering from two lengthy periods of surgery in hospital.
Although he has vowed to be back on track this season, the former Canadian GP winner faces a lengthy period of recuperation, and Lauda has branded him 'selfish' for pressing ahead with a hobby that always carried the risk of affecting his F1 season - even though Lotus Renault team bosses were happy for him to compete [see story here
"It makes no sense for him to put his job and his life at risk like this. Was it unreasonable? Of course it was," Lauda, who was given the last rites following his serious Nurburgring accident in 1976, told SpeedTV
, "He has to ensure that he can do his job, and his job is F1. Only he is to blame for what happened to him. Did he have to be doing this? No!"
While Lotus Renault team principal Eric Boullier insisted that Kubica's rally exploits kept him in a positive state of mind, and the Pole claimed that competing sharpened his concentration and reflexes for F1, Lauda thought otherwise.
"That's nonsense," he exclaimed, "Rally driving has nothing to do with F1. They are different sports."
Kubica has said that he hopes to be back on track at some point this season, and will put all his energies into achieving that aim, but Lotus Renault is already lining up potential replacements, with Nick Heidfeld, Bruno Senna and Tonio Liuzzi all tabbed by Boullier ahead of the recent Jerez test. The German appears to be in pole position for the ride after topping the times on day three, with Senna accepting that he probably does not have the experience to compete with the veteran [see story here