Renault hopeful over Kubica

Team boss says that Polish driver could be back a lot sooner than doctors' predictions following rally crash in Italy.

    Kubica was taken to hospital by helicopter after being cut out of his rally car by firemen [Reuters]

    Renault's team boss said that doctors were being too cautious over Robert Kubica's recovery and that the Polish Formula One driver could take anything from two months to get better.

    Kubica needed seven hours of surgery involving seven doctors split into two teams after he sustained multiple breaks to his right leg and arm, was put into an induced coma after hitting a church wall at high speed in Italy on Sunday.

    Doctors predicted he could take a year to recover after the crash at a rally near Genoa and were worried at first about the functionality of his right hand.

    "When you have a big crash like Robert suffered on Sunday doctors always predict the worst case scenario," Renault's Eric Boullier told the BBC on his way to visit Kubica along with fellow Renault driver Vitaly Petrov on Monday.

    "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."

    Despite Boullier's optimism Kubica's surgeon said the possible recovery time could be around a year, with the next few days crucial to see if the operation 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."

    Popular and competitive

    With testing already under way in Spain and the first race of the season in Bahrain on March 13, Kubica's Lotus-backed team will have to find a replacement for one of the most popular and competitive drivers on the grid.

    "The hand is warm and this means the operation went well. We need at least six days to check if the circulation of the blood in the limb responds as it should"

    Mario Igor Rossello, surgeon

    The team's official third drivers are Brazilian Bruno Senna and France's Romain Grosjean.

    Senna competed last season for the HRT team while Grosjean started seven races for Renault in 2009.

    Neither has scored a point in Formula One and media reports have quickly focused on Germans Nick Heidfeld and Nico Hulkenberg as possible long-term alternatives, although the latter is contracted to Force India as a reserve.

    "We are already starting to think and work on a contingency plan," added Boullier who strongly defended Kubica's love of rallying in his spare time despite the risks.

    "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."

    Goodwill messages have poured in for the 26-year-old, a race winner in Canada in 2008 with BMW-Sauber.

    Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso visited him late on Sunday and the Internet and Twitter have been full of with support.

    "I am still upset by the news about Robert Kubica. It is shocking ... just terrible. I hope the medical efforts are working and will continue to work so he can go back to normal with no lingering damage," seven-times champion Michael Schumacher said on his website.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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