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Robert Kubica comeback latest – “He is still quick” says Renault F1 boss
Robert Kubica
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Jul 2017   |  11:08 am GMT  |  35 comments

Robert Kubica’s comeback continues to gather pace, after a second test this week in Paul Ricard, France in a 2012 car using controlled demonstration tyres. Once again he was very fast and consistent and there is a growing expectation around a possible return to F1 competition; some people are even suggesting that he could be set to return in Spa after the summer break in place of Jolyon Palmer. With the many high speed, high load corners, that would be quite a challenge as a race to come back for a man whose right arm was almost severed in a rally accident in 2011 and who still does not have the strength he had.

Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul yesterday declined to confirm whether Kubica would take part in the test using 2017 cars which follows the Hungary GP, ahead of the summer shotdown, but that would be the logical step. If Renault has another driver in mind for the second half of 2017 to replace Palmer and that driver is not a current F1 driver, then that test would be the time to let him get some mileage.

Pascal Wehrlein was being lined up for the seat according to some French and German sources, but that possibility seems to have receded with the arrival of Fred Vasseur as team boss at Sauber.

The tests have all been motivated by Kubica himself and Abiteboul was at pains to point out that this is not a PR stunt, even if they have been surprised by how much positive coverage the comeback journey has given the brand and how much affection there still is with F1 fans for the Pole.

Abiteboul gave a positive report of Kubica’s test performances,

“He is still quick, he is still very consistent and, more importantly, he still has this energy, this drive, this sort of enthusiasm that he has always had, he always carried to him and to the team, ” said the Frenchman.

“The first test was nothing more than an opportunity for him to get back behind the steering wheel into a Formula One car – but there is a big caveat, is that it’s a Formula One car from 2012 with demo tyres, with V8 engine, normally-aspirated, fantastic noise but doesn’t exactly match the current F1 car. So, whatever we do is not quite representative.

Cyril Abiteboul

“That second test, however, we sort-of walked more towards what could look like a plan in order to assess, to give both him and us the opportunity to assess a little bit more his limitation and his abilities.

“What I can tell you is that Really too early to talk about next steps. I don’t want to add to the speculation. Right now the focus is on, y’know, getting the most out of the overall line-up and package that we have and then we’ll be thinking about 2018 in due course – which is not just now.

Asked by JA whether the evaluation has shown that he is capable of racing a Formula One car, Abiteboul said,

“I would not say that.

“And I don’t want to say yes or no. It’s not like a test that you’re passing at an exam. We’ve not seen any obvious road blocks. Having said that, you know, again testing in this circumstance and testing in a more modern car is something completely different.

Robert Kubica

“So, you know, again, this situation is complex. We are not doing that for PR purposes, even though we see that it is creating a lot of media expectation and focus. It’s not what we’re doing. We care so much more for Robert than this.”

What do you think of Robert Kubica’s progress so far and what do you read into Abiteboul’s comments? Leave your comments below

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søren christensen

Sainz to Renault – even within next couple of weeks, is almost a given thing (if ever there is such in F1) – but he is surely not kicked out of the Redbull family. He might be released against a 6 M.EUR payment from Renault. And they will need to find a fitting amount for the sacking of Palmer too. So right now Mr. Abitebull, together with his bosses at Renault, are calculating how to find the money.
Sure Sainz must be able to score more points, than Palmer, and thus secure Renault a 6th or even 5th place in the Constructors championship. Compared to their current 8.placing, this would be sufficient to cover for the extra costs.
Hulks points score in UK has helped a lot.
So, the end result might also be, that Palmer stays, and Renault takes the chance, that mainly Hulkenberg is able to take home at least the 6th constructors placing. After all, they are only 7 behind the Toros and 3 down on Haas


Kubica was my favorite F1 driver, BUT my hopes of a return have already been dashed by the fact that it now seems pretty clear RB/STR are willing and maybe even happy to sell Sainz to Renault because a) unless Verstrappen can really get out of his contract, what use do they have for him, b) are sick of his complaints / what they see as disloyalty and the strife that comes with it c) Gasly and d) his frustration at the team has seen his performance level seeming to slip backwards right now. High probably both STR drivers will be gone by 2018.


James –
Let’s say for the moment that Renault want to put Robert Kubica in one of their cars this year (or even next); is there a process available to bypass the points system to allow him a super licence??


I just read an article on a Dutch website about Sainz getting kicked out by Red Bull. He would replace Palmer at Renault, and Red Bull would promote Gasly to Torro Rosso.

If this is true, I’m afraid Kubica’s return is unlikely.


Red Bull are making the opposite noises about not releasing him

Makes sense if Sainz is going there anyway to go sooner, to block the seat from others

But it would be very unusual


While STR lineup is quite volatile at the moment, I think they won’t release Sainz now in order to keep Renault from gaining on them over the remainder of the season. If they do release him, they’d more likely do this after summer break to make Renault&Sainz’s schedules tighter and slower to adapt. On the other hand I’m not sure if there’s anyone other than Gasly on their “next” list and Kvyat is hardly looking like he’s got much future in F1 in him.

My guess was always that Renault would put RK in until the end of season and wait for Sainz in 2018. That would be win-win as they could hardly go worse than Palmer now and if it goes good they might be able to pick one of the two based on knowing the facts.


Either way it looks like Palmer’s time in F1 is coming to an end!


Looks like Renault want to establish beyond doubt whether Kubica is still hot property or not, but they’re playing it low key.

Tornillo Amarillo


( Tornillo Amarillo 🙂

“Red Bull Racing has reportedly severed ties with its driver, Carlos Sainz Jr, and the Spaniard is no longer involved in the future of the Austrian team. This is according Germany’s Auto Bild after Sainz has criticized Red Bull and Toro Rosso in recent weeks in a number of different interviews. With Red Bull reportedly severing connections with Sainz, the team will let the driver move to Renault, despite holding a contract with Toro Rosso for the Hungarian Grand Prix. “

from “Todaynet”


Good luck to the guy, whatever his future may hold.


So, why don’t they put him in 2004 or 2005 car?


Cyril rip palmer out and put RK in ASAP.


I would put aside the argument about possible strugling in high load corners, whilst Robert himself says that from the physical side, he’s even better shape then at his “golden” years in F1. Knowing how down to earth person Robert is I frankly can’t see any reason not to bellieve him.
Remember that Robert was racing in 2006-2008 where minimal cornering speeds were pretty equal (or even higher) to this years cars.


Not to mention that one of the ‘faults’ of the current cars is that they’re too easy to drive, that they don’t have to be man-handled around the track.
In deed even young boys, mere teenagers can excel in them, so RK should be OK.
It’s not as if this is his first go in a racing car since his big accident.


OBVIOUSLY Renault is making Robert an option for driver choice in 2018 season.

Tornillo Amarillo

If Renault has another driver in mind for the second half of 2017 to replace Palmer

Yep, it was said from the very first test although denied by Robert and Renault, and now…


Kubica is doing well. But i think Carlos Sainz will be the one for Renault.


As someone who has suffered minor nerve damage in the past, and can appreciate it debilitating consequences, I’m fascinated by this. How are Renault managing to accommodate? What does Roberts steering wheel look like? How is HE managing to accommodate? Amazing story!


I would love to see Robert back again. And it would be great to see someone that is going bald on the grid too!


We have Massa as the icon for the folically challenged, but another balding driver would still be good, Forza Kubica!


There are plenty of balding F1 drivers on the grid. They just have the money to hide it.


Robert (like the rest of us) isn’t going bald, that’s all a folical aerodynamic advantage!


that’ll make a good story..


So yes or no?


Bottomline is….

None of this means anything until he gets behind a 2016/17 car. It shows he can still drive an F1-style car consistently and quickly, but a 5-year-old car is nowhere near a good enough benchmark for the current cars.

If they dont run him in Hungary, then it’ll have to be at the end of season Yas Marina test. I honestly hope they give him the chance, will give F1 a good boost.


Heard on Sky F1 that RK will not be testing the R.S. 17 after the Hungarian GP as the team have important development work to do on day 1 (Hulkenberg?), and must use a rookie on the other day. Kubica does not qualify as a rookie despite his 6.5 year absence.

Have to say I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sirotkin in the car after the summer break unless Palmer can pull an enormous rabbit out of the hat over the next two weeks.


I don’t think Palmer will be pulling a rabbit out of his hat anytime soon! He is what he is mediocre at best!


RenaultSport F1 are a joke. Their cars seem to spend more time in the garage than most, denying at least one of their drivers laps. If they prepared two reliable competitive cars at the same time, you might have a point.

But they don’t.

How can Palmer be expected to perform and improve if his car is always breaking down?


No point putting Sirotkin in this season unless you wanted to give him sime miles to help him for next year. Jp has a contract.


unless Palmer can pull an enormous rabbit

I fear you meant “cheque.”


Yeah, that’s more like it! lol


Bunny money 🙂


Don’t think money comes into it. A few points on the board might help though.


Who wouldn’t love to see Robert back?

But let’s not get carried away yet.


I know, I try not to get my hopes up every time I hear his name mentioned.

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