The short term future of Robert Kubica has been cast in doubt after the Lotus Renault team issued a statement in which the Pole said that he wouldn’t be ready to return in 2012. But his manager denied that his client had used the words quoted in the statement. And paddock speculation here in Brazil is that Ferrari is keeping the door open for him to return with them.
“Even if I’ve been working very, very hard over the course of the last few weeks, I came to the conclusion that I am not yet certain to be ready for the 2012 season,” Kubica was quoted as saying by LRGP.
However speaking to Italian colleagues last night, Kubica’s manager Daniel Morelli said, “He didn’t say that. He said he will not be ready for the tests at the start of the year. That’s not the same as saying he will miss the season.
“I don’t know why they have changed his words.”
This is all very interesting, as there is a further contradiction with LRGP boss Eric Boullier saying that Kubica will remain part of the Renault family, but Morelli goes on to say that Kubica is a free agent at the end of this year, “The contract doesn’t go to 2012. From 1 January we will be free to go where we want.
“If Robert Kubica comes back it will be because he’s as competitive as he was before and because he’s attractive to top teams.”
Italian colleagues who have spoken extensively with Kubica’s doctor Riccardo Ceccarelli, insist that Kubica will be ready to drive a car again a few months into next year. There have been suggestions that he may even do some GP2 as a form of training. His objective is to come back, but only when he’s sure he’s ready.
What’s important to remember is that the original Kubica contract was signed with the corporate side of the Renault car company, when the manufacturer was still running its own team. It withdrew from F1 at the end of 2009 and over that winter into 2010 Gerard Lopez’ Genii Group bought the team.
Kubica’s contract was transferred, but listening to Morelli over the course of 2011, including his appearances in Monaco and Monza it’s clear that there are some differences of opinion between him and Genii.
As for the Ferrari option, Kubica was always their first choice to replace Felipe Massa and that has remained the case despite his rally accident in February. In the meantime possible replacements like Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button and Mark Webber have all re-signed with their current teams.
In the meantime, one notable presence in the LRGP area this weekend is former McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan. The 57 year old split with McLaren over the episode where Lewis Hamilton was caught lying to stewards over an incident in the 2009 Australian Grand Prix.
But he is very close to Jackie Stewart, who is retained as a consultant by Genii and it is likely that in advising the team on how to strengthen, he has recommended Ryan, a real disciplinarian and a very experienced racer.
Eric Boullier confirmed this afternoon that Ryan is in Interlagos to “have a look” at how the team operates.