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Formula 1 News - February, 2011
Kubica crash raises F1 danger dilemma

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Feb.8 (GMM) Shocking new details of Robert Kubica's rally crash have emerged.

Video footage of the car that was following the Pole's Skoda Fabia in the minor event in Italy, and newly emerged photographs, show that a length of armco barrier skewered the car from front to rear.

Currently sedated due to the pain, he will stay in intensive care for a few more days, before his other injuries are operated on. Reports have said Kubica lost 5 pints of blood after the crash and was initially in a "critical" condition.

Kubica's co-driver has criticised the roads and the front-impact safety standards of the car, but others argued that the highly paid 26-year-old should not have been competing at all.

"You've got to look after that investment," triple world champion and former team owner and boss Sir Jackie Stewart told the Telegraph.

"It's quite a challenge to stop drivers doing the things I believe are unwise leading up to a F1 season," he added.

Renault chief Eric Boullier, however, said the freedom to rally is so important to Kubica, who for years was not allowed to according to the terms of his BMW contract.

Former BMW-Sauber team boss Mario Theissen told the Associated Press: "What's the point in pushing hard for the highest safety standards in F1 if a driver is then seriously hurt in other racing activities?"

The German said he always had "sympathy" for Kubica's passions, but "The driver is key to success in F1.

"Only he can turn the tremendous effort of several hundred equally determined people into results."

To L'Equipe in France, however, Boullier defended Kubica's freedom to rally on the basis that "He could also have been run over by a bus going to get his bread".

But Martin Brundle said it was "crazy" for Kubica to be rallying in between key F1 tests, and Canadian driver Patrick Carpentier agrees.

"If I was to blame someone, it would be his team, who should never have released him (to rally)," he told the French language Rue Frontenac.

"Especially (not) so close to the start of the new season, and between two test sessions. What bad timing," added Carpentier.

Commented Jacques Laffite, a commentator for French television and ex-F1 winner: "My position has always been that these guys who take risks every Sunday should be free to do what they like.

"Today, we are seeing things differently, obviously," he told L'Equipe.

"An F1 driver is part of a team of about 700 people, so it is right to have some restrictions," added Laffite.

Flavio Briatore said after visiting Kubica: "You can't blame anyone, the accident was just that."

And it seems that even Ferrari doesn't stop its drivers from participating in dangerous activities, as when Fernando Alonso heard about Kubica's crash, he was skiing in Val Gardena.

Virgin boss John Booth said trying to control F1 drivers is futile.

"We took Jerome (d'Ambrosio) and Timo (Glock) skiing a couple of weeks ago," he said at the launch of the MVR-02.

"We said Ok guys, stick to the piste, blah blah blah, so we got to the top of the lift, the gates opened and they were just flat out. They were everywhere.

"And that's how they are. That's what makes them so good. You can't wrap them in cotton wool," he added.

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