Jan.12 (Reuters) Polish Formula One driver Robert Kubica, who has not raced since a near-fatal crash last February, was taken to hospital in Italy on Wednesday after slipping on a patch of ice and injuring his leg, the ANSA news agency reported.
The Gazzetta dello Sport website said the 27-year-old had suffered a suspected micro-fracture of his right tibia in what would be a further setback to his return to competition.
The highly-rated Pole is now out of contract with his former Renault team after it was announced last year that he would not be ready to return by the start of the season. His manager Daniele Morelli was not immediately available for comment.
ANSA said Kubica had lost his footing on an icy street in Pietrasanta, near the coastal town of Viareggio and was taken to a local hospital for a scan of his right leg.
The agency quoted medical sources as saying the driver had then left the hospital, saying he wanted to go to the clinic in Pietra Ligure, southwest of Genoa, where he had been treated after his crash.
Kubica spent two months in hospital and had multiple operations after the crash in a minor rally in Italy in which he suffered serious arm and leg injuries when a steel barrier penetrated the cockpit and nearly severed his hand.
The Monaco resident also lost a huge amount of blood while trapped in the car.
Before the Feb. 6 accident, the race winner had been the leading driver at Renault (now Lotus) and was linked to Ferrari as a possible replacement for Brazilian Felipe Massa.
Morelli had said in September that Kubica had good movement in his elbow, forearm and wrist and was regaining strength and functionality.
His former team sent a message: Lotus Renault GP is saddened to hear that Robert Kubica has suffered another setback in his battle to regain fitness for a return to Formula 1.
Everyone at the team would like to send our best wishes to Robert for a speedy recovery.
Team Principal Eric Boullier had this message for Robert: “Robert has shown fantastic courage and determination in his rehabilitation following the accident last year, and it is sad to hear that he has suffered this setback. On behalf of everyone at Lotus Renault GP, I would like to wish Robert a quick recovery”