It says much for how far constructional safety has come in terms of competition car technology that accidents like the one which befell Robert Kubica last week on the Rally of Italy are thankfully few and far between. 

The scenes around the wreckage of the Pole’s Skoda Fabia in the immediate aftermath of this high-impact crash were truly traumatic, but it is clear that the team of surgeons who worked in relays to save the Lotus-Renault driver’s right hand performed near-miracles of micro-surgery in the hours after the hapless victim was released from the twisted debris.

The saddest thing of all surrounding this accident is also ultimately slightly selfish in the sense that race fans all over the world will be deprived of the pleasure of seeing this brilliant driver possibly contesting the F1 world championship from the front of the pack in the new Lotus-Renault R31.

Kubica is a bedrock racer with a cheerful insouciance covering up a granite core of determination and self-belief. 

Despite all the optimistic predictions from some positively-minded well-wishers, I fear the popular Robert will be sidelined from F1 for the entire season.

If that is the price we have to pay to ensure that Kubica is restored to full health in 2012 then it will be well worth the wait.