Renault narrow search for Kubica stand-in
Brazilian Bruno Senna, Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi and Germany’s Nick Heidfeld are in the frame to replace injured Robert Kubica at Renault, the Formula One team’s principal Eric Boullier said on Tuesday.
“We will look for Kubica’s substitute: the names considered are Senna, Liuzzi and Heidfeld,” the Frenchman told reporters after visiting the Pole in hospital in Italy.
“The team is close to Robert, we wait for him with open arms and we hope he can come back before the end of the season,” he added.
Senna, who raced for the HRT team last year, is the first reserve at Renault while Liuzzi and the highly experienced Heidfeld are looking for a seat after leaving Force India and Sauber respectively.
Kubica faces more surgery on Thursday after suffering multiple fractures in a rally crash in Italy and is likely to stay in hospital for two to three weeks.
Renault have said he will be out for at least two months but doctors have suggested it could take him a year to recover fully.
The Pole was operated on for seven hours by two teams of surgeons on Sunday.
The big concern at the time, apart from considerable blood loss, concerned his right hand with Kubica’s forearm cut in two places with significant lesions to the bones and tendons.
Kubica is one of Formula One’s brightest prospects, a good friend of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Renault’s leading driver.
“On Thursday, Robert should undergo some more surgery in order to stabilise the fractures to his right shoulder and right foot,” the Lotus-backed team said in an update on the 26-year-old’s progress.
“Three or four days later, another operation will allow his elbow fracture to be stabilised as well.”
Renault said Kubica’s general condition had continued to improve overnight.
“According to the doctors, the levels of inflammation are in the norm considering his medical condition, and the recovery of his forearm remains encouraging.
“Yesterday, Robert was able to talk to his doctors and relatives. His medication makes him sleep quite a lot, but he is responding to all external stimulation,” the team added.
“He has reacted well to the news about his condition and is ready to fight for his comeback.”
Renault said Kubica was likely to stay at the Santa Corona Hospital near Genoa for two to three weeks before a decision was taken about where he should continue his rehabilitation.
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