Robert Kubica, Renault, Valencia, 2011

Kubica’s recovery could take a year, surgeon says

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Robert Kubica, Renault, Valencia, 2011
Robert Kubica, Renault, Valencia, 2011

The surgeon who operated on Robert Kubica following his crash this morning said it could take a year for him to recover.

Professor Mario Igor Rossello, a specialist in hand surgery, spent over seven hours operating on Kubica. Afterwards he said, “We will see in one year what will happen with his nerves injury.”

Rossello said it was “really difficult to say now” whether Kubica would be be able to use his hand as well as he could before.

The professor added that the next few days were crucial to ensure the surgery had been a success:

“The danger is in five, seven days, you can have vascular problems, vascular shocks. We could do surgery again to solve these problems.”

With Kubica likely to face a long time out of the cockpit, Renault are expected to turn to Bruno Senna to take his place in the team.

Renault has two third drivers, Senna and Romain Grosjean. Team principal Eric Boullier said last week that if one of his race drivers had to be replaced, “I will get the one who is ready and obviously Bruno is the most ready driver.”

This video shows more from the interview with the doctor, as well as footage of Fernando Alonso who went to visit Kubica.

Update: Renault have issued the following statement:

“Robert Kubica underwent a seven-hour operation at the Santa Corona Hospital in Pietra Ligure this afternoon.

“The Lotus Renault GP driver had been diagnosed with multiple fractures to his right arm and leg following a high-speed accident at the Ronda de Andora rally this morning. He also suffered severe cuts to his forearm, which could have an impact on his right hand mobility.

“Doctors are reasonably satisfied with the way the operation went. Tonight, Robert’s condition remains stable but serious. He has been placed into an induced coma and could be woken up in the morning.

“Professor Mario Igor Rossello, Director for the Regional Centre of Hand Surgery at San Paolo Hospital in Savona: ‘It has been a very important and difficult operation. Robert Kubica’s right forearm was cut in two places, with significant lesions to the bones and the tendons. We did our best to rebuild the functions of the forearm.

‘It took seven doctors, split into two teams and a total of seven hours to complete the operation. One team was the emergency task force from the hospital of San Paolo (Savona) that is normally appointed to treat this sort of injury, while the other team came from the orthopaedic department of the Santa Corona Hospital (Pietra Ligure).

‘At the end of the operation, Robert’s hand was well vascularised and warm, which is encouraging. Following the surgery, Robert Kubica will remain under permanent monitoring overnight because his condition remains serious.’

“Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director of Lotus Renault GP: ‘The news of Robert’s accident came as a real shock to the whole team. All of us, at Lotus Renault GP, wish him a quick recovery.

‘We have been really impressed with the way the doctors looked after him today and we would like to thank the whole team of the Santa Corona Hospital for their professional approach and dedication.

‘I will be travelling to Italy tomorrow, along with Vitaly Petrov, in order to see Robert and tell him that we are impatiently waiting for his return.’

“Another update will be made tomorrow morning at 9:30 CET (8:30 GMT), at the hospital, by Professor Rossello and Daniel Morelli, Robert’s manager.”

Thank you to everyone who emailled and Tweeted to let me know about the video

Robert Kubica rally crash

285 comments on “Kubica’s recovery could take a year, surgeon says”

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  1. Man this really sucks. I hope he makes a full recovery and comes back to win a title, but please please pleeeease let Kimi come back!!!!!

  2. There’s doubt that his hand will ever recover fully AT ALL, let alone this year. Obviously he’s not going to be on the Bahrain grid, but there’s a very real chance that he’ll never drive in F1 again.

  3. Sunday left me broken and crying…

    Rob, best wishes and hope you will be back to f1 racing.

  4. Also, if you assume that Kubica won’t be back until 2012 (if at all), surely that makes Raikkonen a more likely contender.

    If Kubica is only going to miss a couple of races, sure, give Senna the seat. But if there’s a decent prospect of an available seat for the entire season, wouldn’t Senna be a bit of a waste?

    1. Yes Senna is a waste of a seat. Heidfeld or Kimi need a comeback!

      1. What? You’re judging a man based on his driving the WORST car last year?

        1. He is no replacement for Kubica. That would leave Petrov as the senior driver. Renault can just kiss any chances goodbye if that’s the move they make. They need to sign a veteran driver and pronto.

          1. Thats exactly my thoughts, you need a senior driver in there. A lot of people say Raikkonen would not be good anymore, i completely disagree, he would be able to do it.

    2. There’s very few drivers which would be a suitable replacement for Robert.

      I think it’s right that Senna gets to show what he’s got in a front running team, especially after HRT. Kimi is focused on rallying, so I’ve given up any fantasy’s there, and Heidfeld is over the hill IMO, he’s never really impressed with his driving in the past.

      Cmon, give Bruno a chance!

    3. People are saying Senna is a waster, but he was in line for the Brawn seat last year before Barichello decided to stay, so obviously some people think he has potential.

      1. and they only kept rubens since the testing ban came into play. If testing was allowed to resume, it’d be Senna in I believe.

        But, it didn’t happen!

  5. Kimi's Ice-Cream
    6th February 2011, 23:25

    Your GF may be right, but there are several factors here
    -the nature of the nerve injury. A cleanly severed nerve heals much better -and faster- than a smashed one. There are contradictory early reports about the state of RK’s hand (from nearly severed to beaten to a pulp) but they are probably exaggerated.
    -the time of ischaemia (i. e. without appropriate blood flow) the the time from injury to reattachment. It has been fairly long (simply getting RK out of the car took over 1 hour we are told)
    -the ability of the surgical team and the meticulousness of the job. We have reasons to believe it was top-notch.
    -the shape of the injured person and their motivation for rehab. Again, top notch.

    Although an ulnar + cubital section sounds pretty bad, I wouldn’t give up hope. Dr Rosello has been quoted today saying “RK should be able to get back the full functionality of his limb amd _maybe_ (forse) get back to his piloting job. So I would expect to see Robert back in business anytime soon.

  6. Horrible news, I’m rather depressed about this. I’m also depressed for Renault. After a great comeback last year I was expecting even better things this year and it was mostly resting on Kubica.

    1. I think a lot of us are just shocked, and at a loss of words. It would be one of the greatest losses to the sport if Robert is unable to get behind the wheel of an F1 car again.

      But I guess what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger. Hoping that Kubica can make a 100% recovery at some point of time, and come back to claim the crown.

  7. I am devasted. Ever since Kubica joined F1 he was my favourite driver. I am unlike my fellow Brits supporting Ham and But.

    I am angry at Kubica for doing this to all of us. He should of just been happy driving in F1. Now we may never see him in F1 again which breaks my heart. I have no idea who to support if he leaves..! :,(

    1. Carsvschildren
      7th February 2011, 2:33

      Yeah cos you are the one really suffering in all of this. We sit back and get amazing entertainment from these men putting their lives on the line, what they do in their free time is between them and their employer.

      It’s not always about you.

    2. very same here :(((
      im shocked and depressed.

  8. Very very sad news. But this wasn’t needed. Kubica should not have taken such big risks. Anyways one person’s bad luck can be other’s good luck. Would like to see Bruno Senna taking Kubica’s seat and living upto the expectations and if the car proves to be a top one than who knows maybe championship.

    I would say he will convincingly beat Petrov.

    1. Agreed. Such big risks right before the start of a new season with testing etc. Unnecessary. Renault leadership should not have let him rally (or any other racing) this close to the start. Its a crying shame but a race car driver will do what they feel they need to do.

      1. Impreza_600BHP
        7th February 2011, 1:23

        he is one of the most passionate racing addicts on the grid, i would have thought a bit of karting competition would have satisified his apetite for racing between F1 meetings, it does ok for Micheal Schumacher, you will often see shumi in Amateur kart racing inbetween F1 meetings, ok its not exactly “safe” (no racing is) but its much safer than Rallying.

  9. Gutted for Kubica, one of my favourite drivers on the grid! Hope he makes a full recovery, awful timing for him.

  10. this is aweful news :( i was really looking forward to kubica this year.. dare i say it. this destroys any hopes renault had for this season :\

    1. @nemo, Not if they get Kimi.

      1. i realy hope they do. but hasnt he already made it quite clear he wont be returning..? :\

  11. this is a pic of the car after the accident

  12. Forza Robert!
    Great talent and a likeable personality.
    You’ll be sorely missed.
    I hope you get well soon and will one day race again.

  13. Just been sent this picture which shows how the barrier went into the front of the car. Quite horrifying:

    1. Impreza_600BHP
      7th February 2011, 0:53

      the idiots responsible for desiging/maintaining that barrier should be brought to justice, is there not supposed to supposed to be a buffer at the end of the barrier to stop it from stabbing through the car?

      1. more so the event organisers for providing an unsafe facility than the maintainence people.

        The track would have had to have been passed by course cars before the stage was run…

        1. But this happened when driving to the start of the next stage.
          Still, I would hope everyone goes out checking their guard railing for that kind of problems now.

          1. so sad ;(

          2. Hm, from what I picked up on his co drivers told they were already in the firsts stage:

            Kubica’s co-driver Jakub Gerber told Gazzetta dello Sport: “We were on the first four kilometres of the first special stage. I was looking at the notes and didn’t notice that the car was skidding. Only when we crashed I saw Robert holding his arm, and after a few moments he lost consciousness. Robert isn’t just a great driver, he is a friend. I just hope he can recover soon.”

      2. @ Impreza_600BHP

        Going by your logics even Adrian Newey should have been put into jail for killing Senna by building a wrong steering.

        1. No – there’s a difference – Senna’s steering column failure was unforseeable.

          If you watch the video from the car following Kubica you can see ALL the armco barriers at the roadside are setup exactly like the one he hit – they all start with just the sharp edge exposed in mid air. It’s blatantly obvious that a car would get skewered if it ran wide approaching any of them. I unbelievable they’re installed as they are.

          (if you don’t want to see the crash scene, stop that vid before the 3 minute mark or so – it’s not nice hearing the terror in the driver’s breathing as they stop to help)

    2. Bloody hell, that’s scary. I thought armco barriers would stand up to much more severe impact without buckling.

      1. Seems he hit it head on, rather that side on like the barriers are designed for.

        In my mind, he was turning, hit moisture, drove in to the end of the barrier, which stuck in the car and span it round to finish in the position you see in the picture.

        I may be right, I may be wrong, but it seems like that to me.

        We are, rightly concerned and saddened by his situation. It’s very shocking, but I think it’s worth mentioning that he’s alive, and he will recover at least some if not all of his hand function.

        On the other hand, I had a friend some years ago, who had a similar accident, and passed away because of a matter of inches and a fence post.

        It could have be very much worse, so for that.. it’s better his current situation than the other.

        Having said that, I wish he could have walked away like he did in 2007, and like his co driver did. Perhaps more cars will be built around a carbon fibre monocoque safety cell the the McLaren MP4-12c in the future?

    3. Keith, as you can still see Kubica in the car in that photo I think it might be in better taste to remove the link…

      You call of course, but that’s my opinion.

      1. I do not see him in there, am I blind? >.>

      2. We’re talking about a few pixels at most, I don’t think it’s likely to cause distress.

        1. Well easy to get righteous some times. I don’t think its a problem personally. We are racing fans. There were pictures of mass a after his accident, I believe posted here too, but maybe not by Keith, I can’t remember.

          The fact is, Robert is doing well, so these pictures for many carry a little less severity that if the result was ultimately fatal.

          People need to see and understand the dangers of these sports. Road cars are subject to the same kinds of accidents, with much less protection. Maybe seeing these pictures will slow a few people down.

          As I mentioned before, I guy I knew passed away in this exact manner. He wasn’t paying attention to the road.. His fault, but perhaps he would have shown more respect to the road if he was aware of these possible consequences. I know that’s how it affects me.

          1. Massa* sorry. IPad is very pedantic about words it doesn’t understand.

      3. I don’t see the problem with this photo. Kubica isn’t dead, not in this picture or otherwise, so why treat him as such? Kubica is barely even visible in the picture; the information value here is therefore clearly (and only) in the crash site and the condition of the car.

        Instead, take this photo and celebrate the monumental fortune that he actually came out alive from a crash that violent and life-threatening. :)

    4. Shame you felt the need to post a link to a “quite horrifying” picture at all. Rubbernecking at its worst.

      1. I haven’t posted this for shock value or out of some morbid curiosity. People want to know what happened and when I put the link up it was the best available image which illustrated the ferocity of the accident. Yes, it’s upsetting to consider what’s happened, which is why I cautioned people when I posted it.

        1. True its not comfortable viewing, but people are interested in what happened. It was only the car and not Kubica in it which would have been unacceptable, such as the one of Massa after his accident.

          You didnt have to click on the link.

        2. Some people want to understand what happened. Some don’t. Those who want to can click the link, those who don’t can ignore it.

          It’s not like Keith has posted the image itself as an article on its own.

        3. For what it’s worth, I think you’ve handled the whole incident very sensitively.

          I have to admit that I was pretty upset by a photo I saw posted directly on a major (US) news site without any warning. I wasn’t sure whether I was being too sensitive or what, but I found myself feeling thankful for not encountering such photos without warning on other sites (including yours).

        4. Anyone who wanted to see it could have easily found it elsewhere. Rubbernecking.. nothing more.

      2. Rubbish. People need to see accidents not sanitised coverage. Same as with other news. No-one in the west is “allowed” to see people being killed in wars but it’s fine to show people fall out of the world trade center, because that is used to fire people up. Censorship is manipulation by impression and illusion. He drives in public. He knows it’s photographed and filmed and it’s a lesson to people who don’t know that cars are effectively bullets on wheels. Look and learn. I had to wait over a year I think to see footage and photos of Alex Zinardi’s crash in a documentary about him because of stupid politically controlled censorship. It didn’t do him or anyone else any good. Understanding does not come from ignorance

        1. I agree with Noelinho, if you don’t like it then don’t watch it,just ignore.

  14. I’m putting money on a kimi return. This will be dismissed by many, but Renault are a team with big targets. These won’t be achieved with Petrol, Senna or even Heidfeld. I can see Bernie having a part in this. If he can get Chandhok and Petrov on the grid when they weren’t obvious choices, he can get kimi back in F1. Plus, I wouldn’t mind a grid with 6 champs.

    1. I like your thinking!

    2. Kimi fanboys need to just let it go. He is probably not going to return to the sport, and definitely not going to return this season, and definitely not with Renault.

      I am a kimi fan as well, but dont get your hopes up for a guy who is not interested in F1 anymore, and was never interested in Renault.

    3. I like the idea of Anthony Davidson. Will Buxton suggested him, and initially I thought no-chance, he’s well out of the loop. However, he made some reasonable arguments for picking him :

      Anthony Davidson is a name which has not yet been mentioned but which I believe should be. Rarely has there been a better car developer than Davidson. His work at BAR Honda was incredibly highly valued, and he made something of a name for himself as a Friday driver. He has recent and relevant racing experience for Super Aguri in F1, regular simulator sessions over at Mercedes have kept him sharp, and racing for Peugeot at Le Mans hasn’t done him any harm either. Could he lead the team? You bet. Could he take a good car and turn it into a race winner? Absolutely. He is, perhaps, the very best driver to do so in these circumstances.

      Clever, technically gifted, a wonderful development driver, a proper bloke and a team player, Davidson would be a perfect fit.

  15. What about the leg surgery he was said to be undergoing until midnight?
    Any news on that, or was someone misinformed?

    About the pic, he really had the worst of luck :/

  16. This is the latest information from the most trusted source Mikolaj Sokol Robert friend and journalist:

    Sorry for “Google translator” but it’s too late to translate it all by my self ;)

  17. For me this is the worst F1 news since the tragic death of Ayrton Senna. Gutted. Absolutely gutted.

  18. I might just have realised how serious Kubica’s accident was.

    Mikołaj Sokół, one of the Polish journalists who actually knows something about motorsport, and a friend of Kubica, said that he was close to death.

    I’ll roughly translate what he says here:

    For a long time I was contemplating whether to act as a journalist or a friend of Robert Kubica. In the light of all the false rumours circulating I decided to share some information right from the hospital in Santa Corona.

    The truth is that Robert was fighting for his life. When he was transported to the hospital after a long and not very efficient rescue action, the doctors were primarily occupied with saving Robert’s life rather than healing the injuries he obtained in the crash. Fortunately, Robert’s organism proved to be very strong. As an effect of a continuous ten hour long operation the doctors managed to not only eliminate the threats to his life but also to concentrate on the most serious injuries. I would like to emphasise that Robert was in the hands of truly extraordinary specialists.

    In the doctors’ opinion the next couple of hours will have a fundamental effect on the future. At the moment any estimates regarding the regeneration time are premature.

    We ask all journalists and fans not to rely on rumours and unverified information, since by doing so they might cause a lot of pain to Robert’s family and closest friends.

    I will try to provide the newest information on any development.

    Mikołaj Sokół

    1. Impreza_600BHP
      7th February 2011, 0:42

      thank you for the information and translation its much appreciated

    2. Impreza_600BHP
      7th February 2011, 0:43

      that has truly shocked me :(

    3. I felt this was the truth at the time, as he was trapped for an hour with severed arteries in his arm. Also the ‘rumours’ about him loosing him arm came out pretty quickly.. so it seemed there was very visual evidence of this.

      It’s a damned shame to be honest, and I can’t wait for him to get better.

      However, I’m glad he’s allowed to indulge his passion for rallying, as you need to race from your heart as well as your head.

      He’s just been very very unlucky to have an armcove penetrate the cabin.

  19. Impreza_600BHP
    7th February 2011, 0:41

    im just devastated but thankful hes alive if he can’t race again if anyone is man enough to face the tough road ahead it’s him, he still has his life, his girlfriend, friends and family and will come to terms with it if he can’t race again.

    Get Well soon we all hope to see you back racing!

  20. Good luck mate and wish you a speedy recovery.

    I did want bruno to get a decent chance..but not at this cost to the sport.

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