|Kubica was airlifted to hospital after the crash at the Ronde di Andora rally near Genoa, Italy [GALLO/GETTY]
Polish Formula One driver Robert Kubica has been seriously injured while competing in a rally in Italy, according to reports.
Co-driver Jacub Gerber got out unhurt while Kubica had to be extracted by firemen and taken by helicopter to hospital on Sunday.
Italian news agency ANSA said that the 26-year-old was heading to the start of the Ronde di Andora rally near Genoa when his Skoda Fabia went off the road and hit a church wall at high speed.
"Certainly it is a very delicate situation, as the first hours always are after a huge trauma, one in which there could also have been a strong bleeding," Roberto Carrozzino, a health authority official, told Sky Italia, adding that the driver's life was not in danger.
ANSA reported that an operation on the 26-year-old driver began just before 1300 GMT after professor Igor Rossello, a hand specialist, was called to the hospital.
Kubica, eighth in last year's Formula One world championship, now looks highly unlikely to race when the 2011 season starts at Bahrain on March 13.
Carrozzino said the driver underwent an examination to assess any possible damage to internal organs and the brain.
"An amputation is not a decision that is made so rapidly...I do not confirm or deny this report"
Roberto Carrozzino, health authority official
Asked about a report that one of his arms would be amputated, Carrozzino said that "all assessments have yet to be made."
"An amputation is not a decision that is made so rapidly," he said.
"I do not confirm or deny this report."
A Renault team spokeswoman said Kubica, their leading driver and a race winner in Canada in 2008 with his former BMW-Sauber team, was conscious after the accident.
She gave no further details, but ANSA reported fractures of one of Kubica's hands appeared particularly serious.
French sports channel Eurosport reported that Kubica may have a fractured hip and multiple other injuries, including possibly a fracture to his arm or wrist.
Kubica, a keen rally fan who has entered several events previously, tested the new Lotus-backed Renault in Valencia last week.
"Lotus Renault GP driver Robert Kubica suffered an accident at high speed this morning while competing in the Ronde di Andora Rally," the Renault statement said.
"The driver was airlifted to Pietra Ligure Hospital, where he is currently undergoing medical checks. His co-driver is fine.
"Lotus Renault GP will issue another statement as soon as more information is known about Robert's condition."
Renault have Brazilian Bruno Senna and France's Romain Grosjean as their official third drivers.
Senna competed last season for the HRT team while Grosjean started seven races for Renault in 2009.
Neither has ever scored a point in Formula One. Kubica's race teammate is Russian Vitaly Petrov, who made his debut last season.
Kubica walked away virtually unscathed from a massive crash in Canada in 2007 but still bears the scars of a serious road accident as a passenger in 2003 that left him with titanium bolts in his arm.