Tag Archives: Robert Kubica

Robert Kubica wins rally race on return to motorsport

Robert Kubica has completed his first motorsport event since his horrific crash in February 2011.

The Pole competed in the Ronde Gomitolo di Lana Rally yesterday, and dominated the entire event, winning by nearly a minute. At the end of the first stage alone, he was 11 seconds ahead of his rivals.

Kubica’s car was modified for him, with the gear lever on his left instead of the right, to compensate for his damaged arm.

While Robert made it clear that he would prefer to be racing in Formula 1, he is still happy with returning to competitive racing:

"Obviously I would have preferred to come back somewhere else, but this is a more 
active phase in my rehabilitation path.

The hope is to be able to return where I was before [F1], and it's already a nice 
goal for me. But to be here in Biella is obviously emotional after 20-21 difficult 
months.

Let's hope we can enjoy ourselves, without looking at stage times because in the 
end it's a matter of re-establishing the way of driving and helping the arm to 
recover better.

Having been a driver for 20 years, my body is accustomed to certain things, and I 
can feel these things only while I drive, so we'll see."

Not content with a one-off rally, Kubica is expected to race in the San Martino di Castrozza rally next weekend.

Kubica suffers return setback after injuring leg

Kubica's return has been delayed again

Kubica's return has been delayed again

Robert Kubica’s already fraught return to the Formula 1 paddock, after the Polish driver broke his leg in a fall today.

Reuters claims that the 27-year-old slipped on a patch of ice in the town of Pietrasanta in Tuscany, Italy. He was taken to the local hospital for a scan on his right leg, which had suffered in his rally crash almost a year ago.

He then requested to be moved to the Pietra Ligure clinic, where he was rehabilitated after his horrific crash in 2010.

Although there has been no official statement from Robert’s manager Daniele Morelli, Autosport claims that the Pole has re-opened a fracture in his right tibia (bone below the knee).

After being ousted from his seat at Renault, and being left with no drive for the 2012 season, I fear that it is improbable that we will see Kubica back in F1 this year.

If he is to return any time soon, it has been rumoured that Ferrari are willing to test him in their 2010 or 2011 F1 car later this year.

Update: BBC reports that Kubica will need a metal screw inserted just above his ankle, and faces another month with his leg in plaster.

Kubica undergoes final successful surgery

Kubica's road to recovery is improving

Kubica's road to recovery is improving

Robert Kubica has undergone his final operation on his injured right arm, which has since been described as a “total success”.

After a rally crash before the season began, Kubica has been left with massive damage to his right arm, which has taken three operations to allow him to heal.

With this final operation, it is believed that Kubica can regain full control of his right arm and albow. It has been reported that there were no complications during the surgery, and that the operation was 100% successful.

Robert’s manager Daniele Morelli has stated:

"Robert has left the surgery room just a few minutes ago. Luckily I can confirm that 
the operation was completely successful, so the whole elbow joint has been restored 
and functionality is now fine.

Certainly this one will be the final surgery, so we can say that tomorrow starts the 
final phase with full recovery of the arm movement functionality, and Robert will be 
able to start training specifically to regain full control of his functionality."

Apparently when Kubica regained concsiousness after the operation today, the first thing he asked was for the results of today’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Unfortunately, no estimate can be made on his possible return to Formula 1. However, his manager added that his future will become clearer by mid-October.

Kubica set to leave hospital

Kubica has made good progress on his road to recovery

Kubica has made good progress on his road to recovery

Robert Kubica is poised to leave hospital in the next 10 days, after his rally crash in February.

The Pole has been resting at the Santa Corona hospital ever since his accident, after suffering arm and leg injuries.

In an interview with the Renault F1 website, Kubica has stated that he will soon return to his home in Monaco, then move to the Formula Medicine clinic in Italy to continue his recovery.

He has also stated that his injuries are getting better every day:

"The mobility of my hand is limited but this is pretty normal in this kind of 
situation, because the connected arm muscles are still very weak due to the long 
period of immobility. Things are definitely improving day by day.

As soon as I leave hospital, I'll head to my home in Monaco for a short period of 
rest. Then I'll move to Dr. Ceccarelli's facilities in Italy where I will start a 
deep rehabilitation program and a preliminary soft training programme. The two 
programmes will gradually cross over based on the speed of my recovery."

He also revealed that his team have been keeping him well up to date with their progress in the 2011 season.

In a message to the fans, he raised hopes:

"Well, just continue to enjoy the F1 show even though I'm not there at the moment. 
From my side, I'll try to use my difficult experience to come back as strong as I 
possibly can."

Unfortunately, there was no word as to when Robert predicts a comeback to Formula 1 racing.

Heidfeld confirmed as Kubica’s replacement

Nick Heidfeld has been chosen as Renault's driver for 2011

Nick Heidfeld has been chosen as Renault's driver for 2011

The Renault team have confirmed that Nick Heidfeld will replace the injured Robert Kubica for the 2011 season.

Nick was always the favourite for the drive, after leading the third day of testing in Jerez after a 1-day trial with the team.

Nick said:

“I would have liked to come back to Formula 1 in different circumstances, but I’m 
proud to have been given this chance.

Everything has happened so quickly, but I’ve been very impressed by what I have 
seen so far in terms of the facilities and the dedication of the people at Enstone.

I really enjoyed the test last week in Jerez and I’ve already settled in well with 
the guys at the track. I have a good feeling for the car, which is quite innovative. 
I’m extremely motivated and can’t wait for the season to begin.”

Interestingly, when Robert Kubica was asked who he would prefer to be his replacement, he stated that he would have picked Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India’s driver last year. The 26-year-old is friends with both drivers.

Kubica promises to return in 2011

Robert Kubica has vowed to return to racing this year

Robert Kubica has vowed to return to racing this year

Despite going under the knife for the second time in a week after his horrific rally crash, Robert Kubica has already vowed to return before the season ends – and better than ever.

The Polish driver is set to undergo a 7-hour operation today, as doctors try to repair the damage to his hand, arm and leg. Kubica was involved in a crash at the Ronde di Andora rally, where a crash barrier went straight through the car, causing his injuries.

While doctors have warned of a 12-month recovery period, F1 personnel have speculated he could return in 6, and Kubica has stated he “must” return to racing this year:

"I want to get back on the track stronger than ever, because after these accidents 
you aren't what you were before, you improve.

It happened to me in 2007 too, after the crash in Canada. I was out for a race and 
when I got back I was better. A driver is not just throttle and steering wheel, it's
more than that. There's a difference between someone who drives at 80 per cent and 
who does at 95 per cent: in that 15 per cent extra you find the abilities and the 
motivations coming out.

Since 2007, I'm stronger head-wise as a driver. And it will be the same this time 
again, when I'll be back in good physical shape. I must return this year.

I remember well my state when, seven years ago, when I was in a car with a friend 
driving, we were hit by another car driven by a drunk. Back then too, we ended up 
against an armco barrier and bent it, before falling down a cliff.

It was the same right arm - massacred. But after four days it didn't feel as good 
as it feels now, and this reassures me. Dr Ceccarelli did the rest, and he assists 
me now too.

I have an insane urge to cut the times with the best possible preparation. I don't 
even know what a bone is like, but since they are fixing it for me, it's up to me 
to make it work the way it's supposed to."

It has been reported that Polish church leaders have sent Kubica a drop of blood from Pope John Paul II to aid his recovery. They have also sent the former Pope’s robes to Robert, for him to keep his faith.

However, it’s worth noting how close to death he actually came. His manager, Daniele Morelli, described how he was prepared for the worst:

"When he arrived here he had only one litre of blood. 'Call the boy's parents,' 
the doctors told me on Sunday afternoon. I felt a chill in my spine."

Heidfeld to be evaluated for Renault drive

Nick Heidfeld will be testing with Renault this weekend

Nick Heidfeld will be testing with Renault this weekend

Nick Heidfeld is to share a car with Bruno Senna this weekend in Jerez, as Renault seek a replacement for he injured Robert Kubica.

Kubica, who of course was involved in a rally crash last week, will probably be out for the entire season, and Renault have already made moves to shuffle their line-up. Vitaly Petrov will continue to drive one of the Renaults, but the other drive is up for contention.

Bruno Senna, one of the team’s test drivers, is in the running, as is Vitantonio Liuzzi and Nick Heidfeld. Nick will be evaluated by the team this weekend at Jerez, according to a statement:

Lotus Renault GP has revised its driver line-up for this week’s test session in Jerez 
de la Frontera, Spain.

Vitaly will drive the R31 on Thursday and Friday, as originally scheduled. For 
Saturday and Sunday, the team will give mileage to Bruno Senna and will also 
evaluate Nick Heidfeld, who is a potential replacement for Robert Kubica as a 
race driver. The exact running order for the weekend will be confirmed on 
Friday evening.

If Senna gets the drive, it is believed that he will take the second driver role, while Petrov would be the lead driver. On the other hand, if Heidfeld or Liuzzi is hired, then either of these two will lead the team.

Up to 12 months on the sidelines for Kubica

Robert Kubica may be ruled out for the entire year after his crash

Robert Kubica may be ruled out for the entire year after his crash

After his crash while rallying, the injuries sustained by Robert Kubica could take up to a year to heal, doctors say.

He lost control of his Super 2000 Skoda Fabia, hit a wall, and the crash barrier penetrated the cockpit of the car. He suffered multiple fractures to his right arm, leg and hand. He has been in surgery up to a few hours ago.

There were initial fears that his hand would have to be amputated, after a huge amount of blood loss, but doctors say that his hand is safe – for the moment.

Dr. Igor Rossello, a surgeon with a specialty in hand injuries, told the media:

"We need to wait for a week at least to verify whether the hand survives. The nerve
lesions are the ones that leave us with the most question marks over the recovery of
functions.

Rehabilitation will be relatively long, probably one year. He came here with
multiple traumas, with several associated injuries. He won't necessarily have to
undergo further surgery on the hand, but he will if needed."

Regarding Kubica returning to racing, he stated:

"One year is the best provision.

I think it is quite difficult now, but you never know. Drivers are always very
special patients. I have a lot of motorbike patients and they heal in a much
faster way - faster than normal people."

Kubica’s co-driver Jakub Gerber avoided injury from the crash, although he said that he did not know what caused the Poe to lose control of his car:

"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."

Some have criticised Renault for allowing Kubica to go rallying, particularly just before the start of the season. However, team principal Eric Boullier defended the decision:

"We've let him do it because rallying is what he loves to do. Rallying is vital for
Robert and for his sanity. Besides that, there is a reciprocal agreement. We knew
the risks and so did he. We didn't want a robot or a corporate man for a driver."

The following is a press conference a few hours ago: (note Fernando Alonso at the start of the video, he visited the hospital where Kubica is)

Update: Renault have released 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 9h30, at the hospital, by 
Professor Rossello and Daniel Morelli, Robert’s manager.”

 

Kubica seriously injured in rally crash

Robert Kubica's 2011 season is in doubt after a crash while rallying

Robert Kubica's 2011 season is in doubt after a crash while rallying

Robert Kubica has suffered multiple fractures to his right arm, leg and hand, and possibly his hip, after a high-speed crash at the Ronde di Andora rally today.

He is currently undergoing surgery at the Santa Corona Hospital in Pietra Ligure. All we know about his crash so far is that he left the track and hit a wall, caving the front of the car in, and shattering part of the roll structure.

His co-driver, Jakub Gerber, has posted on his Facebook account that he is perfectly fine.

A statement from the team read:

“After undergoing extensive medical checks this morning, Robert Kubica has been
diagnosed with multiple fractures to his right arm, leg and hand. He is currently
undergoing surgery at the Santa Corona Hospital in Pietra Ligure.

Robert suffered a high-speed accident this morning while competing in the Ronde
di Andora Rally.

Daniel Morelli, Robert’s manager, will be available for the press in front of
the hospital emergency entrance at 16:30 CET (15:50 GMT).

Lotus Renault GP driver, Robert Kubica, suffered an accident at high speed this
morning while competing in the Ronde di Andora Rally.

The driver was airlifted to Pietra Ligure Hospital, where he is currently
undergoing medical checks. His co-driver is fine.”

This has without question ruled him out of pre-season testing, and there will be huge doubts as to whether he will be able to start the 2011 F1 season, which begins on the 13th March. If he is not able to compete, new test driver for Renault Bruno Senna will probably be the one to take his seat.

All of us fans surely must have breathed a sigh of relief after hearing that he should be alright. However, after an accident like this, restrictions on F1 drivers competing outside of F1 will probably become even more stringent. For the moment though, let’s just hope that his condition doesn’t get any worse.

Update: It appears his injuries were caused by a crash barrier penetrating the door. Reports say that he was stuck in the car for more than an hour before specialist equipment extracted him from the car.

Update 2: Kubica’s operation will finish at 8:00 CET (7:00 GMT). His hand will not have to be amputated, but it remains to be seen whether he will be able to use it afterwards. The focus of the operation is on the blood supply to his hand.

Update 3: Co-driver Jakub Gerber has stated: “(he) was conscious, then fainted and woke up a couple of times, without having full knowledge of what has happened”. It has been confirmed that there is no threat to his life.

His manager, Daniele Morelli, has said: “The surgeons are trying to restore the functionality of his right hand. They must now think about the muscle function, but Robert has a very strong temper and will succeed.”

An Italian video after the crash:

Kubica leads third day of testing in Valencia

Robert Kubica headed the final test in Valencia

Robert Kubica headed the final test in Valencia

Robert Kubica headed up the final day of testing in Valencia today. His fastest lap got him on top of the timesheets, despite spending only the second half of the session on track.

Adrian Sutil was 5 hundreths behind in the Force India, having completed 117 laps, albeit in the 2010 car. Button, in 3rd and also in his 2010 car, struggled in the cold temperatures, and was half a second off Kubica.

Massa's Ferrari F150 catches fire

Massa's Ferrari F150 catches fire

After a master cylinder failure yesterday, 4th place and impressive constant pace was good for Mark Webber. Felipe Massa was 5th, but had a spectacular incident after the hour mark.

His Ferrari ran wide, and when it rejoined, a small fire started at the back of the car. He continued on for a few more corners, before he spun on his own oil, and stopped in the middle of the track. The red flag was thrown while the car and oil were cleared.

Ferrari later explained the incident:

"As he was coming to the end of his first run of laps, the Brazilian had to 
park at the side of the track, with an oil leak caused by a broken clamp.

Unfortunately the lubricant ended up on the exhausts which led to a small 
fire breaking out and that caused some damage to the car.

The mechanics immediately set to work on repairing the damage, but it is 
unlikely that the car will be back on track much before three in the 
afternoon."
Massa soon spun the car on its own oil

Massa soon spun the car on its own oil

Virgin did mostly 12-lap runs with Timo Glock in the VR-01 for 114 laps, and were rewarded with 6th place. Pastor Maldonado focused on longer stints, testing the team’s KERS system, and was 7th. Sergio Perez stopped after 9 laps to get a gearbox change, but still got 104 laps on the board.

Michael Schumacher failed to keep up with the frontrunners, and ended the day 9th. Sebastien Buemi and Narain Karthikeyan did mostly 5-lap runs, and were 10th and 11th, Narain being 1.7 seconds off the Toro Rosso.

Jarno Trulli had a torrid day, waiting the entire day for a steering part to be sent back to the team from England. It never arrived, and he spent 38 laps doing installation laps and aero checks, never getting a lap time in.

Jenson Button was happy with the new Pirelli tyres:

"I like the feeling of the tyre.

It has a stable rear when you enter high-speed corners, you have a stable 
rear when you brake for low-speed corners, and that is something that I 
really do need with the car. I am happy with that step.

There are areas where it is weaker than previous tyres, but that is the 
way it is built. You just change the balance of the car to suit that.

There will be degradation on the soft tyre and you do have to look after 
it, but there always has to be a balance. You want to be quick over one 
lap and you want to be quick over a long run, so there is always a bit of 
a compromise. It is whether you can get the compromise right or not."

Times from Day 3 in Valencia:

Pos Driver            Team                Time    Gap    Laps
 1. Robert Kubica        Renault               1.13.144           95
 2. Adrian Sutil         Force India Mercedes  1.13.201  0.057  117
 3. Jenson Button        McLaren Mercedes      1.13.553  0.409  105
 4. Mark Webber          Red Bull Renault      1.13.936  0.792  105
 5. Felipe Massa         Ferrari               1.14.017  0.873   80
 6. Timo Glock           Virgin Cosworth       1.14.207  1.063  114
 7. Pastor Maldonado     Williams Cosworth     1.14.299  1.155  101
 8. Sergio Perez         Sauber Ferrari        1.14.469  1.325  104
 9. Michael Schumacher   Mercedes              1.14.537  1.393  110
10. Sebastien Buemi      Toro Rosso Ferrari    1.14.801  1.657   73
11. Narain Karthikeyan   HRT Cosworth          1.16.535  3.391   63
12. Jarno Trulli         Lotus Renault         N/A               38
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