F-1 Notes: Kubica Making Progress

ON THE MEND: Robert Kubica, seen here in 2010, continues to recover from injures suffered Feb. 6 during a rally accident. (Steve Etherington Photo)
ON THE MEND: Robert Kubica, seen here in 2010, continues to recover from injures suffered Feb. 6 during a rally accident. (Steve Etherington Photo)

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Robert Kubica continues to make steady progress from the injuries he suffered in his rally accident on Feb. 6.

“He is doing pretty well and his condition is positive considering what he has been through,” said Dr. Igor Rossello. “The good news is there have been no complications following all the surgery he has had recently. He has a little bit of sensitivity already in his hand and has started some gentle hand exercises with the slight flexing of his fingers.

“What is very important is there is no sign of infection and he also no longer needs intensive care, so he has begun the rehabilitation process.”

Among the drivers to visit Kubica are Tonio Liuzzi, who has been at the hospital almost every day, and Mark Webber. Ironically, as of a week ago, Kubica replacement Nick Heidfeld had not visited or even telephoned.

Perhaps Heidfeld, whose fortune at getting the Renault job came only because of Kubica’s incredible misfortune [Heidfeld says he did a lot of soul searching before accepting the ride] feels embarrassed talking to his former teammate.

– Citing the potential for demonstrations by anti-government factions, Williams F-1 CEO Adam Parr says his team would not have raced in Bahrain on March 13 even if the country’s ruler had not called it off. Williams has financial links with the neighboring state of Qatar.

– It remains to be seen if the canceled Bahrain race can be slotted in toward the end of the year or if it will be put off until 2012. Any date early in the season would make no sense because the political crisis in Bahrain is far from settled. There’s a free weekend between the events in India and Abu Dhabi, but that won’t work because India is a new race and it’s uncertain how quickly the cars and freight can clear customs afterward.

One suggestion is to have races on three-consecutive weekends in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Brazil in November. But the toll on the crews would be immense and this must be taken into consideration.

Logisticswise it would be extremely difficult although not impossible. To save money on airfreight, the teams send much of their equipment by sea, and that requires long lead times. They have several identical sets of equipment and so, for example, right now one set is on its way to Australia and another to Malaysia.

Another idea is to reschedule Brazil to Dec. 4, thus creating a weekend break after the two Mideast races. Yet who knows if the situation will be stable in Bahrain in nine months time.

– The final preseason test session, which was scheduled for Bahrain, will now be held in Barcelona March 9-12. Thus the teams will have no chance to try out their cars in hot conditions until Australia.

– Between 150,000 and 200,000 people lined the streets in the city centre of Sergio Perez’s home town of Guadalajara and cheered the first Mexican F-1 driver in more than 30 years. The 21-year-old Sauber driver wentup and down the one-mile long course on closed public roads a total of eight times in a C29, doing donuts and getting the tires to smoke.

“This was one of the best days of my life,” he said after giving dozens of interviews and signing countless autographs. “It was a great, great experience. I have never experienced something like this before with so many people cheering me. I’m proud to be Mexican, and I’m proud to receive all this support. It is a big boost for me ahead of the new season.”