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. HounslowBusGarage
    7th February 2011, 10:31

    Eric Boullier defends Kubica’s rallying.
    Good, I’m glad he did that, but it must be a very difficult time for Renault. And it’s great to read your post Maciek, that he’s conscious and able to feel his hand.

    1. I think that’s the right thing to do. You need your heart and mind involved in giving your best, so if he wants to do that, he should be allowed.

      I think we all know how amazingly unlucky he’s been in having an accident such as that. He has, subsequently, been very fortunate in having these amazing surgeons on hand locally..

  2. From Robert is conscious, talking, aware :

    We have the latest and very positive information about the health of Robert Kubica. Literally a few minutes ago Daniel Morelli, manager of our countryman, made at the hospital of Santa Corona in Pietra Ligure statement.

    – Robert is conscious. I talked to him. In comparison with the situation before 24 hours there has been very positive, indeed astounding improvement of his health – he said Morelli. – Robert said he feels the consequences of the accident, but the situation is definitely better than yesterday.

    1. Video of the next car coming up the crash site :

      Drivers pull over, clearly very shocked. The stage looks terribly dangerous and exciting to drive. Narrow roads, lots of very steep drops. A few armcoves in various places show how easy it would be to make that mistake.

      It also shows you of the MASSIVE energy that would have been involved in that crash..

      1. Kubica’s co-driver and a number of others slow the next car down.

        The co-driver is understandably frantic, he runs back to the car. The drivers side door is open.

        The damage is clear to see..

        1. My video quality isn’t good but looks like that there was a little fog which may play a part.

      2. The car is smoking considerable, there looks to be a flicker of flame over the bonnet, but is more likely the just video quality and the car’s livery.

  3. From Reuters:

    Surgeon optimistic on Robert Kubica injury
    Robert Kubica’s injured right hand is making progress but more time is needed to determine if he can fully recover, his surgeon said on Monday after the Formula One driver spent his first night in hospital following a crash.

    The Pole, who went through seven hours of surgery involving seven doctors split into two teams to attend to multiple fractures to his right leg and arm, was put into an induced coma after hitting a church wall at high speed in a rally in Italy.

    The possible recovery time for the hand has been put at around a year if the next few days show the surgery was totally successful.

    “The hand is warm and this means the operation went well,” surgeon Mario Igor Rossello told reporters at the Santa Corona hospital near Genoa.

    “We need at least six days to check if the circulation of the blood in the limb responds as it should.”

    Messages of support have poured in for the 26-year-old Renault driver from across Formula One.

    1. Reuters article was posted as follows:
      MILAN | Mon Feb 7, 2011 10:27am GMT

      Direct link:

  4. Any on board video from Kubica’s car on the accident?

    1. Not so far.. not sure I’d want to see it :S

    2. Oh come on. You don’t want to see that.

    3. I expect that to be with the police to help figure out exactly what happened.

      Not too sure it will be released for viewing even after that is closed. Just think about what it might be showing.

    4. Disgusting. If such video does exist I hope it is never released.

  5. This is terrible. I honestly hope it doesn’t stop his Grand Prix career.

  6. On BBC website
    The reserve drivers for 2011 include Bruno Senna – who raced for Hispania last season – and Frenchman Romain Grosjean, who drove for Renault as a replacement for Nelson Piquet Jr in 2009.

    “We are already starting to think and work on a contingency plan,” added Boullier.

    “We don’t know yet, we are actually waiting to know how long it will take because [if it is] a short-term replacement we will take one of our reserve drivers; if he has to be longer we may have to consider different options.”

    It is likely that either of the reserve drivers will be called up for the second pre-season test which starts in Jerez on Thursday

    1. Sounds like poor strategic planning. Why bother having two reserve drivers who if called upon you’d not use.

      I suspect they will go for the Hulk, but I would like to see Bruno given a chance.

      Lets not forget he very nearly signed for Brawn instead of Rubens.

    2. I don’t know why, but I have a good feeling that there might still be hope for him racing in F1 – and I wish him that with all my heart.

      What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, I hope this will be the case with Rob, and we will get to see him get better sooner than we expected.

  7. Keith
    what are your thoughts on the driver situation?

    I can’t understand why they would have Grosjean or Senna in the team (both of whom have F1 experience) if there were no real opportunity for them.

    I would like to see Bruno given a chance, and if he doesnt perform then find someone else.

    By Boullier coming out with this, it just reaffirms to me what poor decisions all of the reserve drivers are. If you cant get one driver out of about 5 you have to question your policy no? While nobody would hope that such a terrible accident would come along, it doesnt state much for their strategy on drivers if they keep all of those reserves and then go to the market again.

    Get well soon Robert.

    1. I like potatoes
      7th February 2011, 12:20

      Andy I don’t think it shows a poor decision on testers.

      Boullier said the point in taking the kids on was to give them time in an old F1 car to build up their knowledge so they would be ready to step up when called upon. Nobody saw this coming so soon, so they can’t be blamed for that.

      If its a short term stand in then a junior, relatively inexperienced driver is fine. But if it is for the whole season, they need an experienced head who can develop the car in testing and maximise it in race trim.

      Heidfeld’s got the experience and has to be favourite along with de la Rosa. Will Buxton suggests Anthony Davidson as a good option given how good he is as developing cars.

      It could be Senna’s big chance but will they give him a shot? Grosjean is cup tied, as he has GP2 Asia this weekend and Boullier already said GP2 was Grosjean’s focus this year.

      1. Senna and Roman are both experienced racers, thats my point. Grosjean is already committed.

        They may not be so experienced in F1, but the experience last year counted very little for PDR last year. Kobayashi did really well, despite his lack of experience.

        So if you want someone to help develop the car, I think bring them into the reserve role.

        You could argue that if senna is not ready now, he’ll never be ready. But dont remove the opportunity before it has even happened.

        1. They have not shown their chops in F1 and it would be an expensive training session to go an entire season with 2 drivers (Petrov) that need training and have less input into the car. If they can get a truly experienced F1 driver (Kimi, Hiedfeld, Klien, etc…) then they will have a better chance of scoring points.

          I don’t know why this is shocking, all the teams do it. When Massa was hurt they put Bodoer in for a few races and then pulled Fisi out of FI. Some teams have “experienced” reserve drivers, but most teams have the next generation as reserves so they can learn the ropes…..but that doesn’t mean they are ready for a season.

  8. I guess Heidfeld can replace him for the season, for his experience as compared to Senna and Grosjean.

  9. According to some tweets ‘After the operation Kubica has moved his fingers, recognised parents and girlfriend and responded to doctors, say hospital sources.’
    That would be quite a miracle to be able to move your fingers just hours after leaving operation theatre. There really is hope.

    1. Fingers crossed for him. Its a massive injury for someone who needs to use their hands and particularly their fingers so much.

      Hope the good news keeps coming over the weeks to come…

  10. This reminds me so much of when Sandro Nannini had his helicopter accident not long after finishing 3rd at the 1990 Spanish GP. Hopefully though we’ll see Kubica back and competitive in an F1 car one day.

    Its also why teams are reluctant to have their “investements” doing other dangerous activities such as racing a non-F1 car these days. By Renault allowing Kubica to do this rally they have now left themselves without their lead driver possibly for the season.

  11. Anyone think this may affect his potential Ferrari drive next year as well?

    1. His coming back to F1 at all is still questioned, so I guess that ‘deal'(rumor rather) with Ferrari is off too.


    Some more insight into how he is doing, though some parts are translated in a weird way. Maybe some polish could fix it?

    All I have hopefully managed to fix myself is that he did not ‘successfully break his neck’ – which sounded way off, they meant ‘femur neck’ I hope.

    1. Also, they have another cockpit video on their website.

    2. Yep, it’s femur neck. Nothing really new from this article.

      His manager stated that even now it can be said that Rob’s healing is beyond normal.
      He was put again in a coma.

  13. After this incident, it really does hit home how talented Formula One drivers really are in such a dangerous sport

  14. I wish Kubica all the best in his recovery.

    With regards to who his replacement will be, I think it would be a shame and a vote of no confidence for all reserve drivers if they don’t go with Senna. That’s what his job is there for.

  15. by Christophe Malbranque, French F1 commentator, Kubica managed to move his fingers ! (On Twitter)

    1. That would be absolutely amazing.

      From the link in the polish website posted by Mister Nillionaire it seems he also spoke and the first thing he asked about was how his co driver was doing.

      1. The medical team has reported he can move his fingers to some degree. I half expected to wake up today and hear the worst, as these complex surgeries are as dangerous as the initial injury at times. Yes, that is amazing. All the more because, though we are all mostly focused on his hands and legs, he easily could have died in this accident. Their first task was to secure his life and they managed to do that and still tend to the incredible task of saving his hand. This medical team is truly amazing and I’m certain the treasure and honor they receive for their daily labors are in no way sufficient.

        1. Agree with that.

  16. Article in the Telegraph:

    Robert Kubica crash: drivers who could replace Pole

    Not very informative but you can make your own minds up.

  17. no conspiracy theories as of yet regarding Senna ‘luckily’ (not the circumstances anyone approves of) finding himself with an almost certain drive, I am glad to notice

    1. You’ll have to feed this into Google translate, but it’s the report of this morning’s press conference – overall: it was really scary (he lost 5-6 litres of blood!), but given the circumstances things aren’t looking bad.,96296,9065703,Wypadek_Kubicy__Wszystkie_zakonczenia_nerwowe_zrekonstruowano.html

    2. A certain drive for Senna in Bahrein perhaps. And for the upcoming tests.
      But I don’t think Renault will settle with Petrov and Senna. They’ll have a very good idea of their performance compared to Kubica. So when Boullier states that they most likely may have to find a different solution for a long term replacement, Senna can be sure he won’t be promoted to be the official nr 2 driver. Although I’d love to see Senna drive a race with a proper car to get a true idea of his skills.

      I think they’ll end up with Heidfeld.

  18. I have followed the development re rob since sunday morning and i have conflicting emotions. First and foremost i am relieved that he survived the crash but i am also devastated and worried as the injuries he recieved may put an end to a carreer with so much promise. Robs talent is absolitely unique and his laid back approach to the whole f1 business is really refreshing. I wish rob a fast and total recovery, lets hope only good news will come from the kubica/ renault camp

  19. Is it not time the safety and strength of rally cars was improved ? I cant think who it was a few years ago that had a horrendous accident when a rock or something basically cut through the door and sill, and they don`t seem any better now.

  20. Pole position for Robert Kubica in Bahrain

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