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Renault driver Robert Kubica requires further surgery

The wrecked rally car of F1 driver Robert Kubica

Kubica's car shows severity of crash

Renault driver Robert Kubica needs further surgery on injuries he suffered in a rally accident in Italy on Sunday.

He will have an operation to stabilise fractures to his right foot and right shoulder on Thursday, and similar surgery on his elbow a few days later.

The Pole, 26, who also partially severed his right hand in the accident, has already had seven hours of surgery.

Doctor Giorgio Barabino said: "The patient is responding positively. He is conscious and his condition is stable."

Kubica was woken up for a short time on Monday so doctors could assess his recovery before being put under gentle medication to make him sleep.

"Robert's general condition has once again improved," said a Renault statement. "According to the doctors, the levels of inflammation are in the norm considering his medical condition, and the recovery of his forearm remains encouraging.

"[On Monday] Robert was able to talk to his doctors and relatives. His medication makes him sleep quite a lot, but he is responding to all external stimulation. He has reacted well to the news about his condition and is ready to fight for his comeback.

"On Thursday, Robert should undergo some more surgery in order to stabilise the fractures to his right shoulder and right foot. Three or four days later, another operation will allow his elbow fracture to be stabilised as well.

"Robert will remain at the Santa Corona Hospital for two to three weeks. A decision will then be taken about where he should go in order to continue his rehabilitation."

Kubica collided with a crash barrier on the outside of a fast right-hand turn 4.5km into the first special stage of the Ronde di Andora rally.

ANDREW BENSON'S BLOG

The Pole, who finished eighth in the drivers' table last season, was in an induced coma following seven hours of surgery before waking briefly on Monday morning.

"Kubica is conscious, he talks and understands what has happened," said Dr Barabino at the time.

"The first thing he thought about was his co-driver and was informed about his condition.

"Things are going well considering that there was substantial damage. There were huge difficulties we faced and the necessary measures were taken immediately.

"Kubica lost a lot of blood. That is why the first hour was critical.

"He was unconscious and could not be operated on when he arrived at the hospital. He needed many transfusions during the stabilising process as well as during the very long surgery."

Kubica's agent Daniele Morelli said doctors believed the driver had "taken important steps forward" but Professor Mario Igor Rossello, who was part of the surgery team, said it would take a week to determine if the operation had been a complete success.

"The hand is warm and this means the operation went well," said Rossello.

"It was a difficult operation. We need at least six days to check if the circulation of the blood in the limb responds as it should."

Renault team boss Eric Boullier, who was due to visit Kubica along with the Pole's team-mate Vitaly Petrov, told the BBC on Monday: "When you have a big crash like Robert suffered on Sunday, doctors always predict the worst-case scenario.

"They needed 24 hours to make sure he recovered completely and it looks like this morning they are all happy.

"He is definitely out for a couple of months. The recovery will be quicker than one year but it is a bit early to know exactly how long he will need."

KUBICA STATS & FACTS
Robert Kubica
Former team: BMW Sauber
Team-mate
Nationality: Polish
Born: 7/12/1984, Krakow
Grand Prix debut: Hungary 2006

Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso visited Kubica, who is understood to be the Spaniard's closest friend in the F1 paddock, in hospital on Sunday.

"Robert has inner strength and I am sure he can rely on that at this time," Alonso told the official Ferrari website . "The most important thing is that Robert's life is not in danger and the rest can take its time. But I am with him in heart and mind."

Felipe Massa, who was skiing with Ferrari team-mate Alonso in Val Gardena when news of Kubica's accident came through, sent a message to the Pole's agent.

"All my thoughts are with Robert at such a difficult time," said the Brazilian. "I have first-hand experience of this type of situation and I learned how important it is to feel so much support from family and friends.

"I hope that I, too, can send some positive energy his way and I am praying that all goes well and he gets back to normal."

Kubica was trapped in his car for more than an hour while specialist cutting equipment arrived at the crash scene.

He was eventually airlifted to the Santa Corona hospital near Genoa, where the operation took place.

His co-driver in the rally, Jakub Gerber, was unhurt in the accident and has spoken about how Kubica was injured when a crash barrier penetrated the floor of their vehicle.

"The guard rail pierced through the car and went all the way through it," Gerber told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I immediately saw it was serious. [Robert] also had a bad bruise under his eye after hitting the steering wheel. Robert passed out and I exited through the window because the door was stuck.

"The ambulance arrived immediately and then came the firemen. They took more than half an hour to pull him out.

"The first crew didn't have the shears so they had to wait for another crew. Then the helicopter couldn't land in that spot, so Robert had to be moved and more time was lost."

Gerber refused to blame Kubica for the crash, saying: "In a competition, you try to go as quickly as possible. Robert is the type of person that thinks hard, always looks a step ahead, he's precise, fast and clean. A complete driver."

Kubica has the grit to return to F1 - Glock

Virgin driver Timo Glock, who tested for BMW Sauber alongside Kubica in 2007, told BBC Sport that he believes Kubica has the steely character needed to make a full recovery.

"I know him quite well," said Glock. "He's not just a driver like someone else, he's a good guy.

"He will [have the determination to come back]. He is just a fighter, he already had a big accident in a road car in F3 and he came back and won nearly the first race and put the car on pole position.

"I'm pretty sure if everything goes well he will be back."

Virgin boss John Booth, who raced Kubica alongside McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton in a Formula 3 race, added: "I've known Robert on-and-off since he was 15 years old and he is probably the nicest guy in Formula 1 as well as being one of the fastest.

"I know he's recovered from a terrible accident once before and I'm sure he can do it again.

"He did it from a terrible accident to get back in a Formula 3 car so I'm sure the lure of Formula 1 will drive him even harder."

Former world champion Mario Andretti added his own message of support on his Twitter page , saying: "Feel really bad for Robert Kubica. Definitely an F1 champion in the making. Hope this is just a temporary setback."

Renault have defended Kubica's decision to participate in a rally so close to the start of the F1 season, which begins on 13 March.

"He loves rallying. We knew the risks and so did he," Boullier told Italian news agency Ansa.

"We didn't want a robot or a corporate man for a driver. It was agreed together."

Renault will decide who will replace Kubica once they have a better idea of how long it will take for him to recover.

The former BMW Sauber driver regularly competes in rallies and was taking part in the Italian event a week after a successful testing session in the new Renault car in Valencia.

Kubica had been due to lead the Renault campaign with Russian Petrov, who has signed for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Renault's 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.

One of the reserve drivers looks set to participate in the second pre-season test, which starts in Jerez on Thursday.



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see also
Can Kubica make a successful return?
07 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Kubica career at risk after crash
07 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Robert Kubica profile
19 Nov 10 |  Drivers & Teams
Kubica sets test pace for Renault
03 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
F1 testing photos
03 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Renault
14 Nov 10 |  Drivers & Teams


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