GENOA, Italy -- Formula One driver Robert Kubica's condition showed signs of improvement one day after he sustained serious injuries during a high-speed crash in a rally car event in Italy.
Kubica was placed in an induced coma on Sunday night, following a seven-hour surgical procedure to reconstruct his right forearm at Santa Corona Hospital in Pietra Ligure, Italy.
According to a statement from Kubica's F1 team, Lotus Renault GP, his condition was "much better" on Monday.
After spending the night under constant observation, Kubica was briefly awakened by his doctors in the morning. The 26-year-old Polish driver was then able to talk to relatives, as well as move the fingers in his injured right hand.
Kubica's surgeon, Dr. Mario Igor Rossello, reported that he did not notice any swelling or infection on his right forearm. However, it will be several days before it is known if the operation has been completely successful.
Lotus Renault also noted in its statement, "In order to avoid any physical stress, [Kubica] will be put under gentle medication in order to sleep for the next 24 hours at least. Meanwhile, the doctors will decide how they will treat his elbow and shoulder fractures. [Kubica] may have to undergo surgery once again for this, but not for a few days."
During the opening stage of Sunday's Ronde di Andora Rally event in Genoa, Kubica lost control of his Skoda Fabia and slammed hard into the wall. His car then made contact with another barrier. Kubica's co-driver, Jakub Gerber, did not suffer any injuries during the incident. Kubica was conscious while being airlifted to the nearby Pietra Ligure hospital.
Kubica will not participate in this week's second round of F1 pre-season testing in Jerez, Spain. He most likely will miss the March 13 F1 season- opening Bahrain Grand Prix. There are thoughts that Kubica could sit out most of the 2011 season, perhaps the entire campaign.
Lotus Renault has yet to determine a course of action for a temporary driver replacement for Kubica. Either Bruno Senna or Romain Grosjean, both test and reserve drivers for Lotus Renault, could serve as Kubica's replacement for the short term.