RENAULT chiefs have defended the decision to let driver Robert Kubica compete in the rally which almost ended his motorsport career.
The Polish driver, 26, needed seven hours of surgery and spent the night in an induced coma after breaking his hand, arm and leg in a crash on Sunday.
Doctors warned yesterday it is too early to predict whether he will race again, as his hand was partially severed in the collision with a church wall.
Kubica was taking part in the Ronde di Andora rally in Italy just weeks before the start of the 2011 Formula One season next month. Some F1 teams prevent their highly-paid drivers from indulging in dangerous pursuits away from the track, but Renault boss Eric Boullier said they had granted permission for Kubica to take part.
“Robert is a true racer, his life is motor racing,” said Boullier. “It was agreed between us that he keep doing the rallies because it was part of his balance in his life. We knew the risks of doing the rally; he knew it as well. It was agreed together.”
The hand specialist who operated on Kubica offered no guarantees that he would recover sufficiently to return to the grid. “It’s impossible to predict,” said Dr Igor Rosello. “With the nerve system you never know, and a lot will depend on the patient’s will.”
Kubica has, however, returned from serious accidents before and Boullier refused to rule him out for longer than two months. “He is definitely out for a couple of months,” he added. “The recovery will be quicker than one year but it is a bit early to know exactly how long he will need.”
Former Renault boss Flavio Britore predicted he would be out for six months after visiting him in hospital yesterday. He said: “Kubica is an extraordinary guy with great potential of recovery.”