Renault still “don’t have all the answers” on whether Kubica will return

2017 F1 season

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Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul says the team is still unsure whether the time is right for Robert Kubica to make a return to racing, despite his successful test in Hungary last month.

“We said that we wanted to be extremely methodical and analytic about the way we were approaching things with Robert,” said Abiteboul during today’s FIA press conference.

“It’s not a PR exercise; it’s not a coup. It’s something we are taking very seriously and we are trying to leave the emotion on the side.”

“We don’t have all the answers that we potentially wanted to get from that test, after his test. In relation to that, Formula One is very restrictive in terms of tests you can do, so in a perfect world we would want to do more of this type of test to see if he can race again at the level that he and we could have wanted. It may or may not be possible. We will see.”

Abiteboul said the limitations on circuit testing in Formula One are making it harder to assess whether Kubica could drive for them next year.

“We are restricted in our ability to test and to reproduce this test. And addition to that, testing in isolation, private test, one car, in control on the amount, without rain, without the first-lap action you can always encounter. All of that needs to be factored into the decision of pursuing or not pursuing.”

“So as I said I don’t want to go further than this, I don’t want to create speculation and I don’t want to put in the team that the team would have some obligation to go further because there is an interest, a willingness from the public to see Robert back. We would all like Robert to be back, but it has to make sense.”

Abiteboul acknowledge the team could potentially add Kubica alongside Nico Hulkenberg in their driver line-up for 2018.

“It’s well reported that Nico has a multi-year contract when [Jo [Palmer]] has a one-year contract. So obviously we have one driver to decide for next year.”

“So we have also the restrictions I was referring to on Robert and we’ll also need to consistent with the timing of deciding for a second driver. And as the market is starting to sort of go, with the different announcements this week of Ferrari and McLaren, and I expect there will be some other announcements at some points, because usually these things do not go in isolation, so we cannot just be sitting on our work and making up our plans and our timing ourselves. It has to follow the timing of all the drivers.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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11 comments on “Renault still “don’t have all the answers” on whether Kubica will return”

  1. So they’re still trying to get Alonso?

    1. That’s what I took from it too…

  2. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    26th August 2017, 1:42

    What needs to be done to put him in Palmer’s car every Friday Practice?

    1. Maybe something in Palmer’s contract..
      Because it was up to me he would be in the car already (at least for FP1)
      But it might also be a case of not taking away precious time of Palmer in time of need.
      He really needs to perform and Renault are willing to give him a bit more time.. But still time is running out imo.

  3. Sounds like an fp1 coming up

  4. Well, all in all as much as it would be great to see Kubica back, it seems that he and Renault are approaching the whole thing rationally and methodically, so whatever the outcome, it’ll be based on reality rather than wishful thinking. So good on them. But, yeah, you gotta think that unless they were very unimpressed with his form in the last test, we will see him at least once in Friday practice this season, right?

    1. hard to tell really @maciek, i have read that apparently Palmer’s contract ensures he gets all his sessions, and they will probably not want to hurt their development and their points scoring chances too much by using Hulk’s sessions (not sure whether there are also limits about how many drivers and how often you can run them in FP1 sessions nowadays).

  5. Just put him in the car already. He won’t be worst than Palmer. And if things don’t work out they can still find another driver for next year.

  6. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
    26th August 2017, 7:22

    The obvious answer to all of the questions that Abiteboul is asking in this article is to let Kubica drive two or three GP’s this year. Then you can test all aspects of driving, including first laps and driving competitively with multiple cars on track.

    1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      26th August 2017, 7:24

      That will be a methodical and analytical way to assess Kubica’s abilities. Not an emotional one. Because emotion says that it will be very sad for Kubica if he finds out he can’t do it when the world is watching him struggle in an actual GP. (Though you might as well argue that the world is watching him anyway.)

      1. @hanswesterbeek, isn’t that the very opposite of what Abiteboul was saying that Renault shouldn’t do (i.e. just throwing him in to a race without any real preparation)? That just sounds like you’d be setting him up to fail.

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