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Alonso feared for injured star Kubica; Heidfeld to replace Pole

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Alonso feared for injured Kubica
  • Fernando Alonso feared for Robert Kubica as news of his rally crash emerged
  • Alonso has been competing against the Pole for over 15 years from go-karting days
  • Germany's Nick Heidfeld replaces Kubica in Lotus-Renault team while he recovers

(CNN) -- Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso has spoken of his "shock and surprise" on hearing of his friend Robert Kubica's crash during a rally in Italy.

Ferrari ace Alonso has known the Pole for over 15 years as they competed against each other in go-karting before progressing through to the Formula One ranks.

"It was not so clear he was going to survive," the Spaniard told CNN as he recounted his initial conversation with Kubica's manager.

"I tried to drive to the hospital to find out exactly what his injuries were," before Alonso said he received more positive news.

"Now he is recovering well and we hope to see him back very soon in F1," he added.

It was not so clear he was going to survive
--Fernando Alonso

Alonso also defended Kubica's decision to take part in a rally so close to the start of the season, which is due to begin in Bahrain next month.

"We need to have something to get some adrenalin out of our system and rallying is good training from an F1 driver's point of view."

He added: "I train on a bicycle ever day, and a couple of weeks ago a friend and myself were out riding and a truck cut in front us.

"A few meters nearer and we would have crashed into it. You cannot cut out risk."

Kubica is recovering after a series of operations at the Santa Corona hospital in Pietra Ligure, following the serious injuries he sustained in the rally 10 days ago.

On Wednesday, his Lotus-Renault team announced that German Nick Heidfeld would take Kubica's drive while he continues his recuperation.

Heidfeld partnered Kubica at BMW Sauber for three and half years from 2006-09 and impressed in testing for Renault in Jerez last week.

The 33-year-old told the team's official website: "I would have liked to come back to Formula One in different circumstances, but I'm proud to have been given this chance."

Renault's first reserve, Bruno Senna, and Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi, were also linked with the drive.