Renault F1 team principal Eric Boullier has rejected suggestions that, as the employer of Robert Kubica, the team should have banned the Pole from contesting rallying events during his spare time.
The 26-year-old lies in a medically-induced coma in recovery from a seven-hour surgery marathon after suffering multiple injuries – including a partially-severed hand – in a heavy crash while competing in the minor Ronde di Andora rally.
Riskier activities like rally driving are usually listed as banned activities in the contracts of F1 drivers, prompting BBC F1 commentator and former F1 race Martin Brundle to comment via Twitter that Renault allowing Kubica to participate in rallies between “key” test sessions was “crazy”.
Acclaimed F1 photographer Darren Heath added: “Is driving F1 not enough for Kubica? Utterly irresponsible to crash in a club rally. Can’t see Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton being so stupid.”
The very same topic was brought to attention just months ago when it emerged that Mark Webber had seriously injured himself in a cycling accident – for the second time, no less – while in contention for the 2010 championship title, prompting much ire within the Red Bull Racing camp.
The issue has prompted Boullier to respond to the criticism being levelled at Renault for its unusual policy of allowing its drivers to participate in other activities.
“Robert is a person we love dearly: we are extremely sad and obviously shocked,” he is quoted by the Il Vostro Giornale newspaper.
“Whether it’s a Lotus, a Renault or a Skoda it doesn’t make any difference: it’s nothing to do with business.
“We’ve let him do it because rallying is what he loves to do. Rallying is vital for Robert and for his sanity. Besides that, there is a reciprocal agreement. We knew the risks and so did he. We didn’t want a robot or a corporate man for a driver.”
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