Kubica retains hopes of Formula One return as Renault driver has further surgery on elbow
21:06 GMT, 6 June 2012
Robert Kubica is refusing to give up hope on a return to Formula One and has undergone further surgery in an attempt to realise his dream of a return to the pinnacle of motorsport.
Kubica suffered horrific injuries after a rallying accident in February last year. His right forearm was partially severed while he also suffered multiple fractures to his right elbow, shoulder and leg after his Skoda car was impaled on a crash barrier during the Ronde di Andora rally in Northern Italy.
Reports earlier this year claimed a return to Formula One for Kubica was 'nearly impossible'. However, the Polish driver has undergone further surgery to try and improve the mobility in his elbow following tests in a Formula One simulator.
Fresh hope: Kubica
Kubica was operated on at the Pederzoli hospital at the end of last month, when parts of his elbow were replaced with prosthesis. Head surgeon Ruggero Testoni said: 'The surgery was preceded by a series of tests in an F1 car simulator.
'This way the driver will be able to fully handle the steering wheel, while before he was unable to rotate the palm down, so he was forced to release the steering wheel in order to turn left. It will take at least one month in order to stabilize.'
Kubica, a previous victor of the Canadian Grand Prix which takes place this weekend, was ultimately replaced at Lotus, formerly Renault, by Kimi Raikkonen after initial stand-in Nick Heidfeld failed to do enough to secure a permanent drive.
Raikkonen spent two years competing in the World Rally Championship before returning to Formula One this season. But mindful of the loss of such a talented as Kubica, Lotus team principal Eric Boullier revealed last month that Raikkonen's contract prevents him from competing in rallies after it was suggested he may want to compete in his home event in Finland.
Boullier said: 'Obviously, there is a trauma here after 2011. We can't have a contract with a driver that has a clause that allows them to take any risk because they are so valuable to the team. So, rallying, skiing, whatever you want, it is not allowed.'