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Confusion over Kubica plans as manager denies Renault statement
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Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Nov 2011   |  6:09 pm GMT  |  79 comments

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.

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1

Kubica has kicked out Vllenueve (World Champion and IMO better driver than Massa) so he’d also kick out Felipe. Ferrari’s already tried to get him twice, and I think they know what they’re doing. Kubica won his first race in F3 driving by one hand, when he came back after big accident. After his dramatic crash he came back and won the race, drove many fantastic races etc. Ferrari learned the lesson, and they know how good is Robert.

Personally, I think that in times of pay-drivers it’s good sign, that somebody looks on someones talent, not his “friends”.

2

LRGP’s PR is comical.

3

Boullier said they are planning to take on top drivers and that only the car is running behind their long term strategic plan…

Webber and/or Massa in Lotus in 2013? (as the real top drivers are in top teams!)

4

From F1’s perspective, Kubica at Lotus-Renault is the best solution because he is the team’s best chance of a number one driver who can genuinely provide valuable direction, assuming he retains sufficient speed, and another competitive team can only be a good thing.

From Kubica’s perspective, Ferrari is almost certainly preferable. Massa’s contract gives the Pole a year to get fully fit and Ferrari can afford to give him plenty of track time in a two-year old car pretty much anywhere in the world, perhaps even leading to Friday sessions later in the season once Massa’s future is decided.

Perhaps perversely, I also think Alonso is the soft option as team mate. Nobody will expect Kubica to beat him straightaway (perhaps, though, to be closer than Massa) but if he does not immediately blow away Petrov, Grosjean or Senna, awkward and confidence-sapping questions will be asked from the outset.

6

Boullier speaks about “little misunderstanding”:

http://www.motorsport-total.com/f1/news/20…s_11112426.html

EB:’ There was perhaps little grammatical corrections’ …

7

I think Kubica and Morelli are doing what they can to wangle a move to Ferrari ASAP without having to damage their chances by turning up for Renault and proving disappointing.

To be honest a Kubica operating at 50% of his pre-accident ability would be better than a Massa at 100% of his current ability anyway, so hey.

8

I can see kubica missing out on the LRGP seat next year – relationships don’t seem good within that team and I don’t imagine he would be happy there. It’s not the same team he signed up with. I strongly feel that kubica will be training a lot and doing some mid-season testing in either a Ferrari or a Sauber (there is an in-season test in 2012 isn’t there??) and Ferrari will be very keen to have Alonso and Kubica driving their cars for 2013. I also think that Ferrari will then have the strongest driver line-up in the whole field, assuming Kubica can get back to his former speed.

9

I´ve watched in disbelieve how every time F1 news are related with misquotes and words of disrespect and ¨I said-you said¨ arguments, Eric Boullier is in the middle of it. First, last year when he was exposed by Kimi Raikkonen for using his name and supposed come back negotiations with Renault -False. Then the horrible and even humiliating words he said about Vitaly Petrov (his own driver) during the summer (read them in this same page) and now this about Robert Kubica (also his own driver). Honestly, I think there should be more class in the director level of F1 teams. With the consistent involvement in these type of actions this gentleman loses all the credibility and shows why Renault or whatever is called now, is performing the way they are.

10

What is it with Renault / Eric Bully Boullier making false claims and quotes? Last time on Kimi return which pissed him off big time, and this time Kubica.

I have less and less respect for this team and its team principle.

11

Anyone know how Fernando Alonso feels about Kubica being his team mate? I’m surprised he’s happy about it given he described him in about 2007 as the one driver he feared…

12

The Analysis is pretty simple:

We love Robert because he is a true racer.

We strongly dislike Boullier and LRGP because they are a corporate no-show who treats drivers like dirt.

Kubica to Ferrari with his good friend Alonso in 2013, hopefully…

13

Kubica is finished.

14

Thanks for this article James, I always thought it was common knowledge Kubica would be driving for Ferrari in 2012, now with his accident might be 2013. He is one of the best out there and I am not sure how his accident will affect his speed, clearly it had a negative effect on Massa. Hope he gets better soon and we see him winning races in a red car.

15

To add to the comments already stated, which team has its own dedicated test track plus a fleet of “old” F1 cars which could pound round day after day without breaking any testing ban rules? Plus they have various reference points for people like Schumacher and even Valentino Rossi’s times around Fiorino. Surely, if Robert is as fast as Schu in the same car around Fiorino, then he is fit and can race.

So Robert testing Ferraris and replacing Felipe in 2013. Renault, or what will be Lotus sinking fast. Perhaps Tony Fernandes was actually making a smart move by dropping the Lotus name because it is soon going to associated with decline.

16

This is a mess. Renault/Lotus are in a no-win situation from a PR perspective. They will be criticised if they are not seen to support Kubica’s comeback by keeping his seat open, when in reality he would probably be moving on (to Ferrari perhaps) anyway if the accident had not happened. He is under no obligation to explain his situation or his plans, which may not include Lotus/Renault at all.

17

Why can’t we get something from kubica him self?? I have been on loads of different formula 1 sites and never read anything from kubica it is always from another source

18

I was wondering that too.

What about any pictures of him anywhere. It would have been nice to see him around a Grand Prix a couple of times this season just to show his face and say hello.

19

Kubica was one of the best drivers before the accident. But will his performance be good or bad once he gets back? Will Ferrari end up with another Massa? Only time will tell.

20

Massa gets a note to “prove himself in 2012” but his seat itself is safe because he “has a contract”. Can’t help but think that is the only reason they are sticking with Massa (which they should do)because of this. If Kubica suddenly proves his fitness either by the start of the season or indeed a few months in I get the strong feeling that Robert will be attending a seat fitting at Maranello.

21

Kiki Raikkonen had a contract too…

22

I can’t see him going to Ferrari unless he has proof that he has lost none of his speed. All the signs from recent examples is that after a year out it is incredibly difficult to recapture the pace, and that is even for drivers that have stayed active.

Unfortunately he has a very long way still to go.

23

I am really looking forward to Eric Boulliers book ‘How not to fun a F1 team’. It will be a great read no doubt.

Kubica would do well to dodge a bullet and have nothing to do LRPG next season. If they struggle and I can see no signs that they wont it will lead to questions about his fitness.

A year driving the odd GP2 race and testing with Pirelli or maybe even using Ferraris connections with Sauber towards the end of next year would be a much safer bet to landing a seat at Ferrari for 2013.

24

robert at ferrari good ,massa is past his sell by date and it would be could for roberts bank balance ,a come back as alonso s number two !! got to be for the cash as there would be no glory

25

It would be great to see Kubica driving one of the top 3 cars

26

It seems that LRGP has been on a steady decline since this season. Boullier is sounding like he’s trying to avoid the ship from sinking completely.

Ferrari is a great option for Kubica. And Morelli holds on the cards in this public negotiation between his client and LRGP.

27

“He meant not ready for the tests, but ok for the season”

I like Kubica, but this is formula1. Only the best will do. You can’t expect anyone to put faith in someone who is UNABLE to do the job one week but will be OK another week. Sorry, but I’d say reluctantly Kubica’s f1 career is over.

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