Robert Kubica is unlikely to race in Formula 1 this year after being seriously injured in a rally crash in Italy yesterday.

The 26-year-old Pole, who drives in Formula One for Lotus Renault, was driving a Skoda Fabia in the Ronde di Andora rally near Genoa when he crashed into a church wall.

According to reports, Kubica was trapped for an hour in the car and he was later operated on for seven hours. He is believed to have suffered multiple fractures to his right arm, hands and leg in the crash.

Surgeons are particularly worried about his right hand which was partially severed in the accident. Although they managed to save it from amputation, it will be a week before they know if he will be able to use it again.

The racer was put into an induced coma to aid his recovery.

Kubica was set to be Renault’s lead driver for the race season, beginning in Bahrain in a month’s time.

But surgeons say it is unlikely he will be well enough to compete by then.

Doctor Igor Rossello told the Italian media.

“We need to wait for a week at least to verify whether the hand survives,” he told Italian media.

“The nerve lesions are the ones that leave us with the most question marks over the recovery of functions.

“Rehabilitation will be relatively long, probably one year. “

He added: “Drivers are always very special patients. I have a lot of motorbike patients and they heal in a much faster way, faster than normal people.”

Bruno Senna is expected to stand in for the Pole.