Robert Kubica’s hopes of making a Formula One return in 2012 were dealt a blow on Wednesday when he injured his right leg after falling on ice at his home in Italy. It is the same leg he damaged in his serious rallying accident last February.
Although the 27 year-old Pole has issued no official comment, he is understood to have again fractured his right tibia. Reports from British F1 broadcaster the BBC suggest Kubica will need a metal screw inserted just above his ankle followed by a month in plaster.
Kubica, winner of the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix, missed the entire 2011 season for Renault after his crash on the Ronde di Andora Rally in which a barrier pierced the Skoda Fabia he was driving after it left the road at speed, partially severing his right forearm.
Despite numerous operations and an extensive rehabilitation programme, last November Kubica ruled himself out of returning to the grid with Renault - now Lotus - for the start of 2012, prompting the team to sign its new line-up of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.
At the time Renault promised to support any eventual comeback by Kubica, though media speculation has also repeatedly linked him to Ferrari as a potential replacement for Felipe Massa in 2013.
Asked about such a scenario on Wednesday at Ferrari’s annual ‘Wrooom’ media event, team principal Stefano Domenicali commented: "Robert is a great driver, but he had very severe injuries and he is still working hard just to get back to normal living. We need to wait and see. That kind of injury takes a long time to recover from."