Flavio Briatore has predicted that Robert Kubica will be back racing in Formula 1 in six months, after visiting him in the hospital. The former Renault F1 team boss reported that Kubica is in good spirits and is already talking about when he can return to F1.
"I've found him well, compared to the terrible crash he's had," Briatore told Italian media. "I'm very happy he has improved and I'm glad I came to visit him and exchanged a few words with him.
"Kubica is an extraordinary guy with great potential of recovery. We didn't talk about the crash itself, but more in general about Formula 1 and his chances to come back to racing soon. Considering his ability to recover and his fitness, I bet he'll be back in good form within five or six months."
However, hand specialist Dr. Igor Rossello, who assisted in Kubica's surgery, says it's still to early to determine whether he will be able to race again.
"It's impossible to predict," he Rossello said. "With the nerve system you never know, and a lot will depend on the patient's will. If [Alessandro] Nannini managed to come back, why shouldn't Kubica do that too? Racing drivers are exceptional people, able to slash recovery times. I had a patient who recovered 90 percent of the hand's functionality."
The hospital's director of orthopedics, Dr. Francesco Lanza, has confirmed that Kubica will require further surgery however, as the initial operation was focused purely on preserving the functionality of the hand and stabilizing blood loss.
Nannini, who himself returned to racing in the DTM three years after his right forearm was severed in a helicopter crash in 1990, explained the difference between his injury and Kubica's.
"Kubica's trauma is different from the one I had," Nannini told Gazzetta dello Sport. "His arm did not detach: nerves, tendons and muscles will grow back – it's just a matter of time. Robert will race again. I don't know him, but I wish him well."
Fernando Alonso has also visited Kubica, and Briatore added: "A crash is always a crash. This sort of dramatic event can happen anywhere, not just on the track and not just in competitions. The risk is always there.
"There is usually rivalry in F1, but sporting closeness too. On the track they're ready to better their rivals, but outside the circuits maximum solidarity is shown among drivers."
Marussia Virgin Racing team principal John Booth spoke in support of Kubica entering a rally so close to the start of the Formula 1 season.
"He has been a good friend for many years and we all feel gutted with it," Booth told AUTOSPORT. "We wish him all the best for the future as he is a lovely chap.
"Every team has its own policies, but they are young competitive fellows, if they are on a push bike, or a skateboard, or even a road car, sometimes, they are competitive fellows and they will get themselves in a bit of a scrape. It is unfortunate the consequences in this case have been quite high.
"It is up to a team to do what it takes to get the best out of that driver, you cannot wrap them in cotton wool and you cannot stop them doing things. They are young men who drive fast racing cars. The whole nature of them – they want to push the whole time."