Robert Kubica looks set to miss the start of the new Formula 1 season after suffering multiple fractures to his right arm, leg and hand in a crash on the Ronde di Andora rally on Sunday. His co-driver, Jakub Gerber, was not hurt.
The Polish driver was airlifted to the hospital on Sunday morning following a high-speed crash that took place on the opening stage of the event, on a stage near the village of Testico in Italy. Kubica is understood to have swiped a wall and hit a crash barrier in a Super 2000 Skoda Fabia on the first stage of the rally, which he was competing in shortly after completing the first week of preseason F1 testing with Renault at Valencia.
According to sources at the event, Kubica was trapped in the car for more than one hour until specialist extraction equipment could get to the scene of the crash. There are unconfirmed reports that Kubica's injuries were caused by the end of a crash barrier penetrating the car – which would explain why his injuries were on his right-hand side rather than by the door.
According to a statement issued by Kubica's Lotus Renault team, he has been diagnosed with multiple fractures to his right arm, leg and hand. After being transferred to the Santa Corona Hospital in Pietra Ligure, Kubica underwent surgery on Sunday afternoon for his injuries, with doctors believed to be focusing their efforts on his injured hand and, in particular, its blood supply.
An update from the hospital in the afternoon said that the operation on Kubica would continue until Sunday evening. Although amputation of the hand has been ruled out, the report said it is too early to give a prognosis on how well the hand would recover from the injuries it suffered. It was also confirmed that Kubica was out of immediate danger, and there was no threat to his life.
Kubica's injuries are almost certain to prevent him starting the Formula 1 season for Renault, with the first race of the campaign due to take place in Bahrain on March 14. Renault will likely call on reserve driver Bruno Senna to fill in in the short term, but the team could opt for a more experienced driver if Kubica faces a more lengthy layoff.