“When I stood beside RK’s hospital bed in Italy post his crash I simply couldn’t believe my eyes the state he was in….🙏🙏 WHAT a comeback.” – words from Mark Webber yesterday.
Soon to be announced Robert Kubica has finished off what has possibly been the most incredible silly season in formula one. Kimi Raikkonen returns to Sauber, Fernando Alonso says goodbye to F1, Charles Leclerc makes his step up to Ferrari and Daniil Kyvat returns to Formula 1 again with Toro Rosso.
Whatever becomes of Roberts performance for Williams in 2019, TJ13 takes its wig (or hat) off to the Polish driver. After his devastating crash rallying in the off season before the move to Ferrari, the doctors task to rebuild his arm and fix all the injuries sustained is nothing short of a miracle. The fact that he’s driving competitively in any motorsport is incredible, let alone getting back into a race seat after such a long absence.
TJ13 has listed the injuries sustained after the rally accident below. Credit to Polish blog powrotroberta.pl –
Black left eye after hitting the steering wheel: healed,
A painfully broken right shoulder, fractures with splinters and dislocations: the bones were folded, healed
The humerus – open multiple fractures, bending of the previous titanium plate, inserted after the accident in 2003: the bones were folded, stiffened with titanium rails and connected with screws, cured
Elbow – the most suffered during an accident, repeated fractures with fragments, crushing and dislocations, serious damage to the elbow joint: full elbow reconstruction was performed, broken bones were folded and bonded with titanium elements, it is not known whether the joint will work properly. On May 9, doctors removed tissue adhesions in the elbow, which means that it is being prepared for the first exercises. The elbow is no longer immobilized, Robert performs rehabilitation exercises to restore his mobility. On June 15, an operation took place during which the doctors removed the tissue adhesions created during the immobilization period. The last such operation was performed on August 28, after which Robert Kubica is to recover 100% of the hand’s efficiency. Currently, the mobility of the elbow is already good, but there is a problem with rotation on the elbow-wrist segment. For this purpose, on May 25, the doctors performed the surgery consisting in implantation of two mini-endoprostheses of the radial bone and the humerus. The elbow joint consists of two articular-brachial joints responsible for bending in the elbow and a tiny radial-brachial joint responsible for rotational movements in the elbow (so-called “turning-turning”), which take place in the dimple of the small radius head in which it rotates a small head of the humerus, and it was in their place that implants were implanted. They are to ensure full mobility of this joint. So far, the operation has not produced such good results as it was assumed. More about the operation here.
Wrist – multiple fractures with crushes, dislocations and debris: all bones have been folded and stiffened, correct circulation in the hand and hand temperature have been restored. The scale of neural damage that occurred in the forearm was not given. Probably all nerves were broken. The nerves were in the regeneration phase and probably already work properly. It is able to pick up and lift objects, drive a car.
Lungs – disturbed work after losing a lot of blood, cooling down and shock: their work has been stabilized, cured
Knee – damaged kneecap and joint, fractures, reconstruction of the joint, healed
Tibia and sagittal bones – multiple open fractures with dislocations and debris: bones have been folded and stiffened, healed
Cracked tibia (January 2012) – You can read about the fracture here. Robert’s leg was fitted with an external stabilizer, which is now removed, and Robert is completely normal. Cured.
Heel – damaged heel: healed
Foot – bone fractures: fractures have been set, cured
The entire left side of Kubica’s body has normal mobility.
Kubica is able to move on its own, walks without any help, slightly limping.
Overall, Robert Kubica underwent five very serious operations, lasting a total of about 30 hours. A few dozen or so minor treatments were also carried out to improve the titanium fixation of the rails in the right leg, remove tissue adhesions in the elbow, improve limb motility.
The body of the Pole will remain very large scars after the accident and operations. Visible is the lack of a large amount of skin on the outer side of the forearm.
The ongoing news is now being reported in more mainstream publications across the internet, indeed it seems that the evidence is pointing toward an announcement tomorrow by Williams:
Robert Kubica will have a race seat next year for the team, replacing Sergey Sirotkin.
Obviously, we’ve been here before. Last year TJ13 understood the preliminary deal had been done with Kubica and Williams for 2017, and it was merely a formality that was to be ratified after the last test of the season in Abu Dhabi 2017. We all remember how that went…
And so does Robert. Sources suggest that Kubica is forcing the team to make a decision earlier, not willing to be part of another shootout and thus being ‘gazumped’ (forgive the UK colloquial terminology for property conveyance), by a last minute Russian ruble influx post test. Indeed Williams led some reporters close to the team that it was Kubica’s inability to get on with the Pirelli tyres that cost him.
Andrew Benson towing the Williams line in the press soon after (click below). Another esteemed journo with close ties to the team, namely Joe Saward, was fed that Williams made an ‘engineering decision’, and would try to engineer their way out of the slump of 2017.
2017 – Kubica losses out
Despite what the team said last year, Robert wasn’t dumped for Sergey due to performance, the difference was marginal in lap time yes, but nowhere near as big as the money put on the table for that drive. Sources in the team admit that they were 99% convinced themselves that Kubica had the drive, but during the aforementioned end of season Abu Dhabi test the Russians upped their stake, outbidding Kubica’s Polish backed contribution.
2018 has proven to many that the choice of driver Williams decided on was incorrect, with a difficult car based on an entirely new concept championed by ex-Mercedes technical boss Paddy Lowe. Neither Stroll or Sirotkin managed to push the car sufficiently up the grid and Williams knew the Kubica would have done better.
The data collected in Friday practice and simulator tests have provided enough evidence to Williams that Kubica would’ve put the car higher up the grid in 2018 compared to their youngsters. As many as three or four qualifying grid slots, invaluable to the struggling team, last in the constructors standings.
The Italian publication La Gazetta Dello Sport claims that despite Kubica’s increased contribution to the team for next year, it still is less that the SMP backed Russian Sergey Sirotkin. The Italians argue that although Sirotkin offers 15 million dollars, Williams will be going for the Pole (who probably has an amount of USD 11 million) because of his speed, because “he was always faster”, further evidence that Williams were chasing the money last year.
For Polish comeback driver Robert Kubica, the decision for 2019 is more or less set.
The ex Sauber BMW, Lotus F1 and Ferrari (elect) driver understands there are two options for him, stay at Williams and allow the funds supporting him to buy seat time at Grove, or head to Ferrari as a simulator driver supporting Vettel and Leclerc.
Kubica to Ferrari with Alonso
“Will I be in Williams next year? I hope so. There are only two teams that officially have free seats next year and, no doubt, I do not go to Toro Rosso.” says Kubica.
“It’s a very intense period, with so many things happening. It is not about me or others that are having fun, and we do not want to announce what is decided.
“Everyone has to make their own decisions, I have openly said that I would take it by setting a deadline and I have already taken it, ” commented Kubica.
BMW didn’t fight to keep Vettel as Kubica consistently 0.4secs quicker
Of course the other factor involved is Esteban Ocon, and his removal from Force India. The Mercedes supported driver’s only chance to race in F1 is with Williams, but it’s looking less and less likely that this’ll occur. The Wolff managed driver will probably prop up as a full time tester for potentially all the Mercedes engined teams including Williams.
Floersch conscious but hospitalised after Macau shunt last weekend
It is believed we’ll all know the result of the driver lineup for Williams this Thursday at the press conference in Abu Dhabi.
Indeed several factors point toward Kubica being announced as the driver to partner Russell in 2019.
Polish journalist Cezary Gutowski says that he’s been tipped off that Kubica will be announced on Thursday. Further, Acronis (a global technology company) will be attending the press conference. The Swiss firm are a major sponsor of Robert Kubica, so unlikely to be announcing involvement with the team for 2019 if their driver is off to Ferrari.