Overwhelming relief in Formula One as Robert Kubica escapes disaster
Amidst the chaos that has become fairly predictable at the Canadian Grand Prix, the live cameras covering the race caught Robert Kubica midway through his horrific crash, to a response of dread and shock from all those who witnessed it.
Although the crash was triggered when Kubica’s BMW touched the back end of Jarno Trulli’s Toyota on the inside line as they approached the hairpin, it did not appear to be anyone at particular fault. Kubica’s car turned towards the inside wall upon the shunt, and gained further momentum after it hit the wall. The car – with the front end completely smashed into pieces all over the track – then flipped 360 degrees almost entirely without reason, to again land upright, but added further momentum while cars ahead and behind watched the car out of control. Kubica now seemed trapped and helpless as the car slid across the track towards the outside wall nearer the hairpin “head”. The final impact into the wall was so violent that it turned the car onto its side, with the bottom of the car running across the wall; but the most horrific sight was Kubica’s head snapping at his neck twice from one side to the other on that final impact, so visibly to the camera view that there was good reason to fear serious injury.
When the car came to a halt, Kubica’s arm and hand seemed to have moved in the cockpit, which might have indicated he was fine; but he then became very still. The camera view, which is relayed to every screen in the pit garages, spectator screens, and tv screens across the globe, suggested he was likely to have been unconscious, until help arrived and the scene was obstructed from the camera. Subsequent images displayed the spectator stands and pit garages of various teams become subdued with concern – particularly in the BMW garage where the mechanics were seen sitting with theirs head in their hands.
Kubica was taken to hospital and initial reports only stated that he was ‘stable’, which in itself was a relief to many as there are always understandable fears for fatality when a driver sits unconscious after a crash. News eventually trickled through that he was talking in hospital, but it was possible he suffered a broken leg. However, late in the evening in Montreal, the news came that tests had revealed no injury, except minor concussion and a sprained ankle.
There has been huge relief in the paddock, and the evidence of advancing safety measures in F1 is being widely praised considering many believe that Kubica would not have survived such a severe crash had it been like previous years.
However, Kubica’s teammate Nick Heidfeld, has warned that there is no room for complacency as he believes F1 can never be 100% safe, and that the track in Montreal itself is in need of repair to ensure safety there in the future.
Jarno Trulli, meanwhile, expressed a state of shock at Kubica’s accident; and maintains that he could not have done anything differently to avoid initial collision with Kubica’s BMW; yet was fearful of Kubica’s fate from its severity, such that he might have been held to account. He is said to have spoken to Kubica’s manager immediate after he retired from the race, which at the time Kubica’s condition was unknown.
Robert Kubica is though to be released from hospital on Monday after overnight observation; but as the US grand prix weekend starts only 4 days away, there is speculation that after his Thursday medical checkup, he could be replaced for the weekend by either of the two BMW test drivers, Tim Glock or Sebastian Vettel. The latter is already causing a stir in F1, with great anticipation of his potential and when the 19 year old will arrive in a driver’s seat.