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Page last updated at 22:41 GMT, Friday, 11 February 2011

Renault driver Rober Kubica targets F1 return this year


BBC Formula 1 pundits on Kubica's rally accident

Injured Renault driver Robert Kubica says he is planning to return to racing before the end of the year.

The Pole suffered multiple fractures to his arm and leg and a partially severed right hand following a crash in Sunday's Ronde di Andora rally.

Kubica, 26, is expected to miss the whole of the 2011 Formula 1 season.

But he told Gazzetta dello Sport: "I want to return this year. I am really determined to reduce the recovery time with a very defined programme."

Kubica, who finished eighth in the 2010 drivers' table, underwent seven hours of surgery to save his hand after crashing his Skoda Fabia against a church wall.

On Friday, he underwent a further nine hours of surgery to rebuild his foot, shoulder and the inner part of his elbow.

Renault said a team of 15 doctors and nurses were involved in the operations.

Kubica is expected to be in intensive care at the Santa Corona Hospital, 35 miles south-west of Genoa, for two days and a further operation on his elbow is planned for next week.

The fingers work and so does the arm, I can feel them

Robert Kubica

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Francesco Lanza said: "We finished the second surgical intervention on his upper arm, which was already compromised in a previous accident.

"We gave him a bone graft and inserted a plate. We operated on the inner part of the upper arm but we still have to operate on the outer part."

Dr Igor Rossello, who operated on Kubica's hand, said the had not been an adverse reaction to the second operation.

"Robert's hand reacted well to this phase, the blood circulation has been restored and it's not swollen," he said.

Kubica had told the media ahead of Friday's operation that he could feel his fingers and his arm.

He added: "On Saturday, I will be able to know what my condition is after I undergo the double surgery.

"Then there will be the countdown to begin preparation. I only have that in mind."

Robert Kubica

Team: Renault
Former team: BMW Sauber
Team-mate: Vitaly Petrov
Nationality: Polish
Born: 7/12/1984, Krakow
F1 GP debut: Hungary 2006

A highly-rated talent, not only has Kubica targeted a return before the end of 2011 but he said he also wants to come back a better driver.

"I want to return stronger than before," said Kubica, who has had serious accidents in the past, requiring surgery to his left arm after being a passenger in a road accident in 2003, and then missing the 2007 United States Grand Prix after a serious crash in Canada.

"After this accident, you are no longer the same, you are better.

"I had already gone through that in 2007 after the crash in Canada.

"I was out for one race and when I came back I was better. A driver is not just about accelerating and steering.

"There is a difference between those that drive at 85% and those that drive at 95%. The 15% remaining is the capacity and motivation that comes out of you.

"Since 2007, I'm a stronger driver and I'm stronger mentally. It will be the same this time when I recover physically."

Kubica said he was still trying to piece together the sequence of events that led to his accident, where a guard-rail penetrated the front of his car, causing his injuries.

When he arrived in hospital 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

Kubica's agent Daniele Morelli

"I really don't know what happened because I don't remember anything of the accident," Kubica explained.

"I just found myself in hospital and my agent Daniele Morelli has explained everything to me.

"I am saddened with what has happened. It should not have happened.

"I am sorry for my mother because I have made her worry and suffer.

"One does this job but never thinks of the consequences. I just know that I did the rally and now I am in this bed."

Morelli added: "When he arrived in hospital 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."

Renault team principal Eric Boullier told BBC Sport that Kubica was understandably down about his accident and injuries but claimed it was still too soon to say for certain that he will miss the whole season.

"All I know for now is that for the next three months for sure he won't be back. After that, it could be four, five, six," said Boullier.

"He needs at least three months to recover physically, and then we see."

Kubica had shown excellent early-season form after topping the fastest times in the first testing session in Valencia last week in Renault's new R31.

After the accident, Red Bull's Mark Webber sent his best wishes to Kubica.

"It was a big shock for all of us, I couldn't believe it," said the Australian.

"I'm happy, as it looks like the people involved have done an incredible job for him after the accident to keep him in the best shape possible.

"It's a big loss for our sport that he's not here this year and a big loss for us as competitors, as we're motivated to race against the best guys in the world and Robert is one of them.

"I wish him all the best for his recovery; every day he'll make progress and I'm looking forward to having him back when he is ready."

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see also
Hamilton rolls out 2011 McLaren
10 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Renault give Heidfeld test chance
09 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Three in frame to replace Kubica
08 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Kubica requires further surgery
08 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
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
14 Nov 10 |  Drivers & Teams

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