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. this is mad, so many different feelings about this story.

    i’m genuinly devestated for kubica, and worried about his career but at the same time can’t help but feel that the risk taken by both him and team is utterly reckless this close to the season.

    i can’t see what was to be gained from kubica taking part in a rally over the weekend? i could understand it in the off season where he would be bored and missing the driving but you he was testing last thursday and would have been again this week.

    all in all though i’m in shock, hopefully he can come back in 2012 and pick up where he left off (any hope of him racing this season is pretty futile if you ask me, maybe the last couple of races).

    get well soon robert kubica.

  2. Looking a that video from Jarek (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALbxMiwf4nw&feature=player_embedded#) there’s a bigger chance of sliding off the road and falling down, or hitting a wall than what happened to Kubica.

    What an unbelievable narrow and dangerous track, I’m sure those 3cm thick railings at some points (bridges?) are useless when you drive around 100 km/h

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 7th February 2011, 9:59

      The sight of that guard rail broken off, and jammed into the car is just terrible. I think Robert was very lucky to have survived this potentially fatal accident.

      • wasiF1 said on 7th February 2011, 10:38

        Honestly what were they thinking when they were rallying through that circuit?

      • Yeah, I really think you’re right.

        • Rally racing is that dangerous, they knew of the scale of the hazard.
          To these days in every race in rally there are horrific accidents, that is the beauty and the potential for tragedy that makes still the pure form for speed and danger.
          I admire Robert for keeping at it and hope he will get back in F1.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th February 2011, 11:52

            I quit get, just why this is a thrill for Robert and Kimi as well. Wow, running there is really tight with walls and cliffs all around.

            Great to see these guys jumped out of their car to see, weather they can help.

  3. the-muffin-man said on 7th February 2011, 9:46

    I bet Jacque Villeneuve has left a message on Renault’s answerphone! – he’s been desperate to get back into F1 for a few years now.

  4. Meander said on 7th February 2011, 10:24

    I wish people would stop with the Raikkonen already. I liked the guy, but I’m glad he’s not in F1 anymore and not coming back and apparently so is he.

    Anybody who has talent and drive is more deserving than any dried up ex WDC. And don’t get me started on Villeneuve.

  5. Maciek said on 7th February 2011, 10:25

    Polish station TVN.24 report that Kubica is awake and complaining about pain in his hand and foot – which under the circumstances is good news as far as nerve tissue reconstruction is concerned.

  6. HounslowBusGarage said on 7th February 2011, 10:31

    Eric Boullier defends Kubica’s rallying. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/9389513.stm
    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.

    • 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..

  7. From f1.pl 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.

    • 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..

      • 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..

      • 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.

  8. Shimks said on 7th February 2011, 10:47

    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.

  9. wasiF1 said on 7th February 2011, 10:52

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

  10. dennis said on 7th February 2011, 11:09

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

  11. WarfieldF1 said on 7th February 2011, 11:22

    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

    • Andy C said on 7th February 2011, 12:02

      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.

    • Mister Nillionaire (@mister-nillionaire) said on 7th February 2011, 12:06

      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.

  12. Andy C said on 7th February 2011, 11:59

    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.

    • I like potatoes said on 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.

      • Andy C said on 7th February 2011, 13:03

        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.

        • 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.

  13. ShawnF said on 7th February 2011, 12:30

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

  14. Mister Nillionaire (@mister-nillionaire) said on 7th February 2011, 12:47

    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.

    • Andy C said on 7th February 2011, 13:08

      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…

  15. Peter said on 7th February 2011, 13:07

    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.

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