F1 driver Robert Kubica has been seriously injured following a rally crash in Italy.
The 26-year-old Pole was taking part in the Ronde di Andora Rally near Genoa when he left the road at high speed and crashed into a wall, the Press Association reports.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Kubica was taken to hospital with serious injuries. Eurosport reported that Kubica may have a fractured hip and multiple other injuries, including possibly a fracture to his arm or wrist, the Daily Mail cites. His co-driver, Jakub Gerber was unhurt.
A statement from Renault said: “”Lotus Renault GP driver, Robert Kubica, suffered an accident at high speed while competing in the Ronde di Andora Rally. The driver was airlifted to Pietra Ligure Hospital, where he is currently undergoing medical checks. His co-driver is fine.
The crash reportedly took place 4.6km into the race. Kubica’s car, a Skoda Fabia, left the road and collided with the wall of a church.
The driver is said to have remained conscious during a lengthy operation to free him from the car before he was airlifted away.
Health officials confirmed that the Kubica’s life was not in danger and that his limbs had taken most of the damage.
“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 local health authority official, told Sky Italia.
Responding to rumours that one of the driver’s arms may be amputated, Carrozzino said that “all assessments have yet to be made. An amputation is not a decision that is made so rapidly. I do not confirm or deny this report.”
[adsense]Kubica has had serious accidents before. His Formula 3 crash in 2003 caused injuries to his left arm, which required surgery. He then missed the 2007 United States Grand Prix after a spectacular crash in Canada. He returned to the site of that accident a year later to claim his first, and to date only, F1 grand prix victory.
The start of the Formula One season is just over a month away, with the first grand prix to be held in Bahrain on March 13.
Kubica was due to lead the Lotus Renault F1 team this season alongside Vitaly Petrov of Russia, with former HRT driver Bruno Senna named as a third driver, USA Today reports. Romain Grosjean, who drove for Renault in 2009, was also named third driver alongside Senna.
Whether Senna or Grosjean would take Kubica’s place should he fail to recover in Bahrain has not been disclosed.
Last week, Kubica closed Formula One’s first test session of the season with the fastest time over three days in Valencia, Spain.
Images: Wikimedia Commons