Kubica’s recovery could take a year, surgeon says

2011 F1 season

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

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

  1. Tarcisio said on 7th February 2011, 0:00

    this is a pic of the car after the accident http://www.gry-online.pl/Galeria/Forum/2/350348059.jpg

  2. 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.

  3. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th February 2011, 0:02

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


    • Impreza_600BHP said on 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?

      • Scottie (@scottie) said on 7th February 2011, 1:29

        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…

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th February 2011, 6:45

          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.

          • Peter said on 7th February 2011, 6:48

            so sad ;(

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th February 2011, 7:47

            Hm, from what I picked up on Grandprix.com 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.”

      • Peter said on 7th February 2011, 6:58

        @ Impreza_600BHP

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

        • FergalF1 said on 8th February 2011, 2:53

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

          If you watch the video from the car following Kubica http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALbxMiwf4nw 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)

    • Burnout said on 7th February 2011, 7:31

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

      • 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?

    • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 7th February 2011, 11:12

      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.

      • Mister Nillionaire (@mister-nillionaire) said on 7th February 2011, 11:36

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

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th February 2011, 23:11

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

        • darren said on 7th February 2011, 23:36


        • 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.

      • Sandra said on 7th February 2011, 23:42

        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. :)

    • Robert said on 7th February 2011, 23:05

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

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th February 2011, 23:16

        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.

        • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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).

        • Robert said on 8th February 2011, 22:32

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

      • Ian Craig said on 8th February 2011, 0:42

        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

  4. Hamish said on 7th February 2011, 0:03

    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.

    • I like your thinking!

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 7th February 2011, 7:21

      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.

    • 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.

  5. Mister Nillionaire (@mister-nillionaire) said on 7th February 2011, 0:05

    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 :/

  6. Nocturnis (@nocturnis) said on 7th February 2011, 0:16

    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 ;)

  7. Robert said on 7th February 2011, 0:31

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

  8. Victor. said on 7th February 2011, 0:36

    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: http://f1.pl/Artykul.82+M590c0ec71da.0.html

    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

    • Impreza_600BHP said on 7th February 2011, 0:42

      thank you for the information and translation its much appreciated

    • Impreza_600BHP said on 7th February 2011, 0:43

      that has truly shocked me :(

    • 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.

  9. Impreza_600BHP said on 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!

  10. BROOKSY007 (@brooksy007) said on 7th February 2011, 0:42

    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.

  11. Gusto said on 7th February 2011, 0:49

    It`s not how you crash, It`s how long it takes. This looks like a sudden stop, get well soon RK.

  12. JamesC1991 said on 7th February 2011, 1:14

    thoughts and prayers are with Robert.
    thankfully he is alive and I hope he makes a full recovery.
    If he never races again a big loss to F1,would have been a future champion without question but hopefully he does return,however a full recovery far more important

  13. Dan83 said on 7th February 2011, 1:37

    So sad for Robert. I really hope Heidfeld gets a shot. He deserves one IMO. Or Kimi coming back would be great too.

  14. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 7th February 2011, 2:10

    All I wish that he make a quick recovery so that at least he is good enough to talk to us & use his hand well,coming in the cockpit well we will have to wait for that as the doctor said that the problem is the nerves which is difficult to recover.

  15. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 7th February 2011, 2:20

    I cant believe this has happened to him, like it has been said, he has what many believe to be a promising car this year, I had high hopes for him this season – we’ll see what happens. I wish him the quickest of recoveries. A similiar thing happened to my mother’s wrist recently, it isn’t pretty at all.

    • wasiF1 said on 7th February 2011, 2:53

      Sad to hear about your mom hope she is recovering well. Yes many of us think that this year Renault is a good car to fight for the WC shame we won’t see him driving it.

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