Although he is unlikely to be back behind the wheel of an F1 car in competition this season, Robert Kubica will be able to race again in future, according to his manager.
The Pole, who was seriously injured in a national rally in Italy during the pre-season build-up to this year's F1 campaign, underwent the final planned operation of his recovery over the weekend, with both doctors and manager Daniele Morelli reporting that it had been 'a total success'. The procedure was designed to finally free up Kubica's right elbow, which had deliberately been 'frozen' in an effort to aid the rest of his arm - in particular the hand that was almost severed, to gain strength.
Such has been the decline in Lotus Renault's form this season - the team took podium finishes in each of the first two races but fired Nick Heidfeld ahead of the Belgian GP - that Kubica was tentatively linked to a possible return before the end of the year. While that is unlikely, as even Morelli and team boss Eric Boullier now concede, the Pole remains a candidate for 2012, even though both Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean have recently stakes claims to the seat alongside Vitaly Petrov.
"I can say with certainty that Robert will be able to race again," Morelli confirmed to Italian television station RAI
, "The function is good and now we enter the last phase; the recovery of the arm through specific training.
"Let's let nature take its course because the boy needs to recover his full strength. After months of surgery that's obvious and normal but, within a month, a month-and-a-half, we will know when he can get back on track."
Renault has already offered Kubica time in its race simulator at Enstone and, over the weekend, Boullier hinted that a 2009-spec F1 car could also be put at the Pole's disposal, although current F1 testing regulations may limit the outings that are possible. Swiss and German media reports suggest the first test will likely take place on Toyota's sophisticated simulator at its state-of-the-art Cologne facility.