F1 Winter Break
Robert Kubica F1 comeback latest: Renault RS17 test lined up after Hungarian GP
Posted By: Editor   |  24 Jul 2017   |  11:36 am GMT  |  102 comments

Renault has announced that Robert Kubica will test a 2017 Formula 1 car for the outfit after the Hungarian Grand Prix. The 32-year-old Polish returnee will drive the RS17 at the in-season test in Hungary, with Renault explicit that it is to gauge whether he is ready for competition in 2018.

He will join a competitive queue of drivers for whom that second Renault seat alongside Nico Hulkenberg is a great opportunity; Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez being two of them. Sainz has been told by Red Bull that he is free to leave at the end of 2017 if he repays the money that Red Bull spent on getting him to F1. This would be in the region of £4m to £5m, not counting his Toro Rosso years, so the question is who would fund that?

Spelling it out, Renault Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul says that the 2017 car test will be a full assessment of Kubica’s capabilities in a current car to see if he could ‘return to competition in the upcoming years’.

His potential comeback first gained traction with a June test at Valencia, with Kubica then testing the 2012 Renault F1 car at Circuit Paul Ricard, following that up with an appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. His last entrance in a grand prix took place in 2011, and the Pole has completed 76 races for Sauber and Renault over his career.

“The first two days of testing allowed both Robert and ourselves to gather a great amount of information,” Abiteboul said.

Kubica will drive the first day of the two-day test, beginning on the Tuesday at Hungaroring after the race.

“The upcoming session with the R.S.17 at the Hungaroring will allow us all to obtain detailed and precise data in a current car and representative conditions,” said Abiteboul.

“After this test, we will carefully analyse the collected information to determine in what conditions it would be possible for Robert to return to competition in the upcoming years.”

According to Autosport, Kubica’s classification as a non-rookie means Renault will test him in lieu of either Jolyon Palmer or Nico Hulkenberg, as the FIA demands that two of the four in-season test days must be completed by a driver who hasn’t competed in more than two grands prix.

Hulkenberg tested for one day in Bahrain meaning that he has one day of testing left. Renault test driver and Formula 2 race-winner Nicholas Latifi will run the second day of the Hungary test.

In-season testing buzz

After Force India announced that Gerhard Berger’s nephew and DTM racer (currently third in the standings) Lucas Auer will occupy one of the two rookie test days in Hungary, Sauber has now announced that Nobuharu Matsushita will take the wheel for the Swiss outfit.

The Japanese F2 driver will make his F1 debut on the second day of the in-season test after fellow F2 racer Gustav Malja takes over the opening day.

23-year-old Matushita began his career in karting with stints in single-seater championships across Asian. He now races for ART in the F2 Championship having taken one victory.

“When I was four years old, I was fascinated by Michael Schumacher, watching him race in Formula 1,” said Matsushita.

“Since then my dream was to become a Formula 1 driver.

“I am very excited about my first F1 test and I am really looking forward to driving the Sauber C36-Ferrari at the Hungaroring – it is a great opportunity for me.

“I hope it will be a productive day for the team as well as for myself, so that I can learn as much as possible. I would like to thank the Sauber F1 Team for making this happen.”

New Sauber Team Principal Frederic Vasseur continued: “I am pleased that Nobuharu has this great opportunity. He deserves the experience of his first test in a Formula 1 car.

“Ever since his debut in Formula 2 with ART Grand Prix, I have been following his progress closely, and have watched him advance his performance from year to year. With this F1 test, he comes one step closer to his dream of becoming an F1 driver one day.”

Current F2 dominator Charles LeClerc will take the wheel for Ferrari on the first day of the test while Briton George Russell, leader of the GP3 Series, will join Mercedes for its test.

Have your say on the in-season test at the Hungaroring in the comment section below.



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Robert K is the great lost talent of the last 10 years.................but for him to make a racing comeback would be something of Lazarus proportions. His qualifying performances in the underpowered, uncompetitive 2010 Renault at Monaco, Spa and Suzuka was truly Where Angels Play.

And not only was/is Kubica a supreme talent, but he's also a very level headed personality, and he's also blessed with that very Slavic angular, lean and tight frame so fitness should not be a problem.

It's refreshing to have a talented professional sportsman like Kubica (as well as Jenson Button, Gerhard Berger and Jacques Laffite) with none of the attitude problem or appalling dress sense of some individuals I could mention...........


I am wondering how this publicity stunt ties into F1. The man will never race again in F1. He is too old and too physically incapable. Renault has kept a car running as a place holder for name recognition over the past years.


aw come on Gaz Boy...name names!! Coultard's white pants? Eddie's loud shirts? come on, give!!


X 10 !


Gaz, I liked Lewis' new hair do.

Lewis is posting about his hair and clothes. Nico was posting about an engineering collage he visited.

Lewis also just had a side swipe at Danny Ric's clothing line. Everyone please go out and buy something from it.


Unfortunately the web store isn't open yet.


RE Lemwil:

No, I was thinking along the lines more about Sebastian Vettel and his petulant outburst last month in Baku (or Spa 2015 - remember when he swore at Lee McKenzie?). Or Montoya and his stroppy "well if I can't have the sweets no one else will" mentality (and his huge entourage). Or Eddie Irvine - now that was a driver who loved himself, total narcissism................not much talent though.

I really do pity anybody who had to work with Monty or Irvo (I'm surprised Patrick Head didn't Montoya at least one shiner), and as for Vettel - "throwing the toys out of the pram" springs to mind. Kubica is refreshing because he doesn't have that ego - he just turns up, does a good job, mucks in with the mechanics, doesn't complain, enjoys himself. A top bloke - and driver.


you forgot to mention hamilton with his sulking, sarcastic and arrogant persona and general spoil, entitled boy attitude


The article is all about Kubica, and yet instead of celebrating one of the greatest sporting come backs of all time, you prefer to take a pointless shot at Lewis. Sad really....


It wasn't pointless. The shirt/outfit was dreadful.

"Fashion is such an ugly thing, it has to keep changing it's face." ( paraphrasing)


Him and Alonso willl be able to resume their poker games.


@Gaz Boy,
"with none of the attitude problem or appalling dress sense of some individuals I could mention"
We're not talking American tourists here for the second article running are we?


Appendix L: Under exceptional circumstances, the FIA to award a Super Licence to a driver who does not meet the normal criteria if a vote reveals unanimous agreement by the members, and provided that the driver has completed 300 kilometres of testing at racing speeds in a current car.

Are we going to see this used after the Summer Break, and, James, would the teams be agreeable to this. It is one helluva comeback, no matter what happens...


/Appendix L: /

I've no idea where did you take it from. Appendix L contains clear procedure for ex-drivers, same for Kubica as for Buemi or Montoya if they wished to try again. Nothing about 'unanimous agreement', contrary - it's just assessment of speed by FIA. Check the text if interested.


I picked it up from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIA_Super_Licence).
Checked the text in Appendix L and it isn't there, so thanks for the correction.


Kubica has said himself that obtaining a super license will not be a problem, and that he doesn't know why the media big-it-up as if it were some huge obstacle. The reality is, that it isn't. Not with his pedigree.

The only question is whether his limitations allow him to drive an F1 car as well as he used to be able to.

Tornillo Amarillo

Yes, if he shows no limitations, Kubica should take the 2nd Renault after the summer brake, even if Palmer takes and unexpected P6 in Hungary it should be judged ''too little, too late."

Then, with Kubica Renault could fight Force India for the middle points for the rest of the season. It's a problem for all the other midfield drivers, maybe save Hulk himself and Massa.
I guess Kubica could do excellent qualifies and get well in the points from there.

So Renault could fight Williams for P5 in the WCC, it's like a no-brainer for Renault !


Guilty as charged, as i had been wondering whether it would be possible. I had not seen the interview where Anthony Rowlison of Autosport talked with Charlie Whiting, who said Kubica would almost be a shoe-in to receive a superlicense again.


I doubt it would be as soon as after the summer break, if only for practical reasons. Kubica will want to come back to F1 with at least winter testing under his belt, so he can be properly familiar with the car. The FIA will probably want more than one day's worth of testing too, so the 2018 season looks more likely than Spa.


I know the Renault boss has mentioned that he is an option for 2018 (External Link : http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/10945872/robert-kubica-has-no-obvious-roadblocks-to-f1-return-says-renault-boss-cyril-abiteboul), but given how difficult these cars are to drive would it not be better to get half a season of testing, as Palmer is hardly making a case for himself in the car.
It would be great for both Renault (as they would have feedback from two skilled drivers) and Kubica ( who would have a chance to settle in,much like his debut mid-season in 2006).
The only question mark would be Kubica's fitness and the contract situation at Renault, but I guess we'll find out more after the summer break.


Happy Me !!!!


Good luck to him!


Kubica and Alonso in the Renaults in 2019? 😎

Stephen Taylor

I don't see Renault ditching Hulkenberg unless he is really underperforming . They have spent quite a bit of money . Alonso will stay at McLaren for next few years then retire. I think Kubica will be solid points scoring driver -those who are expecting Kubica to go straight back in like his old self are expecting too much in the same way people expected too much of Michael in 2010.


Alonso will not stay at McLaren if Honda stays as engine supplier.


Kubica and Alonso in the Renaults in 2019?

Or, how about Ferrari, Cheesy? 😛


My opinion is that the two big teams lead drivers don't want another one in the team. If they weren't already there they'd be biting Flavios hand off for Alonso. I actually think Ferrari need two number ones because I think Mercedes will always have a speed advantage. I'm fairly certain if it was Vettel and Alonso in Ferrari this year Ferrari would have two clear drivers fighting for the WDC and they'd be leading the Constructors. In this regard I think their decision this year will say a lot about them and define their future.

Realistically it looks like Renault or Mclaren for Alonso but I know he is a friend of Kubicas so it'd be interesting to see them as team mates. Either way I'd be happy if Kubica were back... I'd love Button back too 😜


Relax, Cheesy. You are one of the VERY few here that does not make me wish to drink bleach. Even if I do not agree with you, you still get an up-tick from me.

Now, on to Fernando; I always hated that tune. The F1 pilote, mind, is one of the all time greats. I can see him and Kubica paired at Renault, but whence goes The Hulk?

That is why I suggested Sebbie off to where-ever the grass is less dual number one driverino, and Ferry back to Ferrari with his bowling pal Roberto.

Or not.

Your mileage may vary.




Cheesypoof, imaginitive theories you have come up with there, but you are forgetting the Mercedes board publicly stated disdain for ever having Fernando on their books, and the fact that both Hamilton and Vettel are out of contract very soon, so if either of those teams really wanted to "bite Flavio's hand off", they could.


A Japanese driver testing for Sauber, it is almost like Sauber are going to stick with Honda for next season. It will be great for F1 to have Kubica back on the grid in F1. Maybe even Alonso might pick up a podium.


I thought that. Makes you wonder if the Honda deal is dead in the water after all. Nobu would surely be in for a race drive were it go ahead, alongside the mediocre Ericsson.


Wooot! Looking forward to seeing how Robert does


I am certain that Palmer himself will be glued to the timer screen Tuesday afternoon next week!


If it's anything like JP it'll be in the garage for at least his practice.
It's a wishy washy Renault rub down.
As always pointless. I'd rather give Billy Monger a go.


I still can't quite believe it's true, will this lead to a full time comeback, 6.5 years after he last drove a car?

On balance I still think it's a no, but I think it's very close, like 60:40. I'd love to be proven wrong.


Apparently he's been posting quicker times than Hulkenberg in the simulator. Minimal physical stresses in the simulator, of course, and some drivers go better in the simulator than others, but it suggests the speed is still there provided the body is up to it.

Ricciardo Aficionado

Renault have a seat vacant so why not? Personally I'd put him
in to race at Hungary. He can't be any worse than Palmer. If it goes well give him the rest of the season. If it doesn't work out, get a young hotshoe... or Sainz next year. If it actually does work out, put Alonso next to him 2018, Hulk to McLaren. They'd be a good match if Honda ever came good.


I'd rather have JP than some one with a limited use of one hand any day. This is an accident waiting to happen. Try taking your Rainbow goggles off and smell the air. The guy is past it.

Ricciardo Aficionado

Does the air smell like some dude who's past it?
Kubica thinks he's not.
Rainbows have nothing to do with this discussion.


Ra, Hungary might be a bit premature, at least let him have his test first! But nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see Palmer get the boot to make way for Kubica.

Stephen Taylor

I don''t see Kubica beating Hulkenberg . Certainly before the accident RK but now. . Even in what I perceive to be unlikely event of Hulk being beaten by Kubica they'll stick together as a partnership. Hulk won't be leaving before 2018 as he's under contract next year. It would be unfair to dispense with him for '18 which is what you are suggesting when he has done little wrong and in fact carried the team thus far this season . Who in the right mind would want to join McLaren a long as they have Honda PU's anyway? More to the point the race in Hungary is before the test so Kubica won't race until Spa at the end of August at the earliest - there is no chance of him racing in Hungary.

Stephen Taylor

Renault has invested a lot money in Hulkenberg to get him to him to Enstone . Why would they give him up? There is no chance he will agree to an Alonso swap and there is no chance and doc chance Renault will agree either. Stop living in a fantasy world

Ricciardo Aficionado

If it works out... That means Kubica beats Hulkenberg for the rest of the year. You think Hulk wouldn't look at a McLaren seat after that?


Ricciardo. According to Sport bild, if the Hungary test goes well Kubica is in for Spa....


Rainbow glasses all the way R.A.
Hulk is way better than Kubica.
It's like a digital double handed roller coaster of controls.
Kubica will spend most of the time looking at his displays.
Or are Renault going to be utterly mad and have hundreds of complicated car setups all on one dial and paddle.
It's comical. Maybe in the old days he was a bit of a driver but now it's just living on fumes. A crash pile up waiting to happen.
His rallying career after his accident . He spent most of the time in the bramble amd bushes or hitting wood. Not exactly a great comeback.
I have no problem in the old Kubica who was amazing. But now it's just insane.


Please remind us, how many times did Hulkenberg make the podium during his 7+ years in F1?
Kubica made it 12 times during his 5 years.
I like Hulkenberg a lot, he is very 'good'. But he is not 'great' and never will be. Then we would have seen some shine from his already 120+ races.
Rumors have it that Kubica is faster than Hulk in Renault's F1 simulator.
With regards to his physical abilities, then Kubica is OK in his index and thumb, its only the other 3 fingers on the severed hand where he has reduced strength and sensitivity.

The F1 test was held at the Franciacorta circuit for the very fact that it features two tight hairpins that require a lot of steering lock. Kubica was reportedly delighted to find that the arm no longer presented a problem, that it was now possible for it to function without being held out at an angle that had previously prevented it from fitting into the confined F1 cockpit.

As also proven by his full day test with Renault. The fact that he logged 115 laps of Valencia, which is 460 kilometres, much more than any GP distance. Testimony to his physical condition and his physical ability behind the wheel !

No official times were released from the test, but a journalist Frederic Ferret from L’Equipe was there and took note of 'impressive' though still unconfirmed stats. After the test session this journalist tweeted:
“For his return to F1, a hundred laps, a race simulation, and a better lap time than Sirotkin.
No one-armed Kubica ...”

Ricciardo Aficionado

Enough with the rainbows mate!
No one really knows how Kubica is going to go. Apparently he's racing in Spa. So you might just get to witness the realisation of your prophecy. Hope the pile up isn't through Eau Rouge.
I don't know about Hulk being better. He hasn't got a podium yet so he hasn't done a lot more than Kubica has in the last few years.
I'm not even really a big Kubica fan. I always thought he was a bit over rated. In fact I didn't really even know he was rated when he was driving. But I love a good story and that's what Kubica is right now.
Hulk on the other hand is exactly what they've been calling him for a while now, the best driver not to have stood on the podium. Which I really can't understand because his record is littered with wins and championships. Curious. What I really hope for is rapid Renault development of a championship winning car, Hulkenberg getting the first one for them and then Alonso dropping in for his third and final before going off to win Indy before he retires. That'd be great! Or is that too Rainbow?


It's a done deal surely?. With some adaptions made to the wheel Nico Hulkenburg will be with a very fast team mate. Liberty should be doing all they can to get this through..


. . . could ‘return to competition in the upcoming years’ . . .
Shorter version:-
. . . could ‘join us for the 2018 season’
Otherwise they wouldn’t be testing him now.


Or even shorter, after the summer break😉 Palmer to be given the boot if Robert is quicker.


Come on James k how on earth is he going to get out the car in 5 seconds especially with the flip flop canopy next year . Are they going to give him a rotary saw attachment for his weaker hand?
I'd still have JP rather than a one hand good other hand not so great driver twiddling dials with one hand as he is trying to let the faster boys pass him. He'll be cleaning the track.
Places like Monaco Singapore will be a nightmare.


That's what I think will happen. Assuming he goes well at the test, they'll drop Palmer and take the rest of the season to evaluate Kubica. That way, they'll be fully aware of any physical limitations that emerge over a longer period or that are track-specific and still be in a position to sign Sainz for 2018 as Plan B.

Renault are here to play the long game and this gives them more options and minimises risk to them.

Stephen Taylor

Kubica was definitely one person that was was definitely WDC material before he had his accident. It remains the seen whether he can reach that kind of level again but he would still be good enough I think to get in points which Palmer hasn't done thus far sadly. . I think the Kubica F1 had pre accident would have definitely beaten Hulkenberg but i'm not so sure aboutt the Robert of today. Something tells me Nico would now have the upper hand though Kubica would be improvement still on Jolyon and have many points finishes.

Whatever happens with Kubica thing I can't see Palmer in F1 next year as Renault will replace him with somebody. Jolyon comes across as a nice guy who tries his best but doesn't seem to perform at good level consistently enough to warrant another F1 season . I'm sure Palmer could have a successful career in WEC or something but he isn't up to F1.


If Kubica manages to get through the test without any major issues then I'd be surprised if Renault don't take a punt on him for the rest of the season. An 8/10ths or more Kubica will outperform a 10/10ths Palmer every time. Add in Renault's long-term goals and outlook and they'll be very tempted to go for Kubica and Hulkenberg at the earliest opportunity.


Surely a special dispensation can be given to give Kubica a bit more seat time? I assume he has been piling up the hours in the simulator, and surely the good data from that sim work has led to the testing, but he still needs more on track time.
It seems as though a serious effort is being made to get Robert back into F1, well done to him for showing the grit and determination required, and very well done to Renault for making the substantial investment needed.


Regulations state that the 300 km testing 'just' has to be completed in a recent F1 car. One from prior 3 years would suffice, so no problem to get that arranged.


If they decide to enter him as a race driver, they can request a special acclimation test in a current car, on a circuit that's not on the calendar. They'll lose a pre-season test day if they do, however.

Andrew Halliday

This is great news and it would be interesting to see Kubica in an F1 seat next year. Equally interesting; over the Silverstone weekend it was strongly rumoured that Palmer would be replaced from Hungary onwards by Carlos Sainz. If Kubica were given the 2018 drive, Hulkenberg is already contracted so where would that leave Sainz?


I would say either remaining at Toro Rosso, replacing Kimi at Ferrari, replacing Massa at Williams or replacing Perez at Force India. Maybe even replacing Alonso at McLaren?

However, if Renault elect to run Kubica for the remainder of 2017 Sainz will probably take a deal elsewhere rather than take a chance on Renault not keeping Kubica on.


Can somebody please confirm Nobuharu is a relative {son} of Hiro Matsushita, heir of the Panasonic empire?
Did my research, but no confirmation from reliable sources.
Thanks in advance.


TY, Guys.
So I can't call him Prince Matsushita anymore xD


It doesnt seem like it.
But he's signed to McHonda as of 2017, as a test driver. Seems like Sauber are sticking with Honda next year maybe.


No, He's not Hiro Matsushita's son, and as far as i know not even a relative.


Wish list for 2018 - hiring 5 greedy candidates and getting rid of mostly poor or lacklustre drivers.

Norris (X)

Ericsson X
Stroll X
Raikkonen (X)

X = not gonna happen
(X) = probably not gonna happen

It's possible that one new team is warranted to accomodate this. That's also on my wish list.


Too early to say about a lot of those. Giovinazzi might get in at Sauber, but only if they stick with Ferrari power. If the Honda deal goes ahead, Matsushita will probably get the seat. Similarly, it's hard to see where Ferrari can put Leclerc if they aren't supplying engines to a customer team. If he wins this season's F2 championship, though, they'll either get him a test & reserve drive somewhere or try to keep him fresh in Super Formula.

Gasly I think probably will be at Toro Rosso next year, but alongside Kvyat. Red Bull seem to have only extended Sainz's contract in order to force another team to buy him out of it. Kvyat has only been kept on as insurance, but will really need to tidy up his driving if he wants to stay in F1 beyond next year. He's fast enough.

Kubica will, I think, get Palmer's seat for Spa and will get the 2018 drive assuming he performs in the remainder of the season.

Norris needs another year or two, but I wouldn't be surprised if he ran some Fridays for McLaren next year.

Palmer is toast. Ericsson and Stroll are untouchable thanks to their financiers. Kvyat, as mentioned, will almost certainly get one last chance to shine. Massa could be kept on at Williams, but I've a feeling they'll find Sainz is available and make a move for him instead. I can't decide about Kimi. I think they'll probably either keep him or sign Perez (which might see Sainz at Force India). Alternatively, they could bring back Rosberg and blow Silly Season sky high!


Norris isn't ready yet.
I know it's not really a fit given allegiances, but I'd like to see Norris in Pema Power GP2/F2 next year. He'd be a worthy replacement for Leclerc.

I'm unconvinced that ART (given it's links with McLaren in GP2/F2 sans Carlin) would give Norris a championship winning car.


Would be a good thing to have RK back on the grid. He has redefined the work ethic and blazed a positive trail. Nice to have some feel-good news. Thanks, James.


I would love to see Robert back in a F1 car, has too much time passed I wonder ?


testing after hungry to see if his times are competitive with the just run race.
I doubt he would be in the car this year as why would Renault want the bad press of letting a driver go mid season and ruin his career. Maybe next season when Palmer may move on from this unreliable car anyway.


This is F1. If Renault thinks Kubica will score more points than Palmer the youngster will be history.

Every point scored gives the team a heap more money for next year. Far more than Palmer brings to the team.


Kubica's career will be toast if he spends the rest of this year in a renault breaking down or finishing outside the points.


With 40th anniversary celebrations for Renault and Williams and all the speculation about Kubica/Palmer/Sainz, this is turning into 1977, when Fleetwood Mac released 'Rumours'!

Like everyone else I'd love to see Kubica back, but he probably still has a few hurdles to clear despite next week's test, plus Palmer has a contract with Renault. No doubt there is a performance clause, but I would hope there is something about the car's reliability and competitiveness to balance that out.

I would be surprised if Kubica or anyone else other than Palmer is in the car come Spa, however what really concerns me is, who are all you guys going to slag off if Renault do take a gamble on Kubica?


who are all you guys going to slag off if Renault do take a gamble on Kubica?

I would put all my money on........

Do I really need to tell you?


Go on, be a sport .....


If I were Renault and considering dropping Palmer for Kubica, I'd be looking nervously at Singapore on the calendar. From a driving perspective, it's an entirely different proposition than Spa and Monza.

If Palmer does go, I think we can expect the rain of scorn to fall on Kvyat and maybe Vandoorne instead.


Good for Kubica.

Great talent in his early years. How good is he now?? Only Renault knows.


Palmer should be very worried by this development. All credit to Renault for giving Kubica a chance to return to competition and if he is capable of handling a 2017 F1 car, he will be a far better prospect than Palmer will ever be.


I apologize for hijacking the Robert Kubica thread but could you please have an indepth discussion about this oil burning story. It seems to be growing by each GP. Initially we were all led to believe this was Red Bull attacking the Mercedes engines, then we were told the actual clarification was directed at Ferrari by Mercedes. Now the FIA is starting to put actual numeric limits on the use of oil per 100kms which means someone has handed the FIA some major proof of engineering malfeasance or should I say F1 fuel innovation. Either way, I dismissed most of this as the standard mid-season F1 smoke screen by teams probing each other for technical weaknesses but now it is starting looking like we have fire with all the smoke. Does anyone have a clear handle on the real culprit in this new technical mystery?


I think we'd be pretty safe is thinking that they are all doing it to some extent, it's a rather obvious loop hole in the fuel flow limitations. From Azerbaijan they had to remove the combustible additives in the oil. The next step is limit on how much oil they can use during a race, 9 litres then reducing to 6 litres.

The confusing part was some sort of allowance for an additional ICE to be added to the numbers for Hungary or Belgium. Would be good to get clarification on exactly what they means.


I do not think they are going to add an EXTRA unit to the pool. My understanding is that all teams are expected to introduce a fresh engine after the mid-season break so essentially since the top contenders are either on unit #2 or unit #3 out of a max of 4 units, they will have to make sure the next unit introduced meets the new limit. Otherwise, if a team is currently on unit #3 (which is not compliant) and they add new unit #4 in Spa, it will MUST meet the new limit or in Monza they will have to add a unit #5 and take a engine penalty when the mandatory limit is enforced by the FIA. For example, If Ferrari is the offending culprit, they will have to reengineer their remaining unit to meet the spec on or before Monza to meet the FIA limit of 0.9L/100KM. HOWEVER, it could (POSSIBLY) mean the technical fix may not be backward compatible to the earlier 3 units Ferrari used until Monza. Essentially, Ferrari would only have ONE NEW ICE unit for the balance of the season after Monza OR they will have to take a penalty for a new unit #5. HOWEVER, remember we also suspect Ferrari has reached the limit on its turbo units, so they would have to take a DOUBLE PENALTY (5th ICU and 5th TCU) when they introduce the new powertrain - you can no longer stockpile components like last year.


We are aware Ferrari removed/transferred their powertrain engineer earlier this month. IS IT POSSIBLE this problem could explain why he was removed/transferred. I am speculating that if Ferrari is currently running with powertrains that CANNOT meet the oil burn limit imposed from Monza race, they could be in a significant disadvantage to Mercedes in the championship fight. While Mercedes (if they are innocent of this trick) may introduce a new unit in Monza, BUT could still resort to one of their previous units (e.g. the Silverstone unit) which would only have raced a few times for the less demanding tracks (like Japan). Meanwhile Ferrari (assuming the fix is not backwards compatible) would have to be conservative with its usage since any unit after Monza (when they MUST be in compliance) would be a penalty (a 5th unit). AGAIN THIS IS ALL UNINFORMED SPECULATION - and I am (biasedly) focusing on Ferrari because of the somewhat unusual change to engineers in a season where the SF70-H has been close to Mercedes until Silverstone! Alternatively, if they are both doing it they both will have to take penalties and Red Bull may find themselves in a free win race before Abu Dhabi.


Subterfuge by Sauber using testing to find their next pay driver.
Surely test drivers must have a little clue about what they are "testing". This pair won't.


What does it say about the quality of the bottom half of the F1 grid that a driver carrying a permanent injury (disability) from an accident years ago is going to be capable of walking back into F1 and push one of the "future" young talents off the grid (without any apparent cash payment)? That to me is a level of difficulty similar to seeing Tiger Woods return to golf and immediately contending for a major.
One of the sporting events I had filed under "things I will not see in my life again".


Check out Lemvil's excellent list in post above!

1/3 of the grid ought to go. That serious old-timers like retirees Massa and Kimi are still around and making it to the front tells you something about the rest...


A bit unfair Frederick? After all thereis no indication (as yet) that RK's "permanent injury" has cost him any speed or racing ability...


Kubica has been working toward this for many years. A sustained recovery effort from a proven F1 talent. Not just anyone off the street.

And talking of talent and physical disability, check out guitarist Django Reinhardt...


Please please please kubica back on the grid in 2018.


It's happening, it's happening....where's a meme when you need one lol.

As for the mid season testing, I'm super disappointed that a team, especially Sauber, hasn't offered Felix Rosenqvest a test. Those two Swedish investors need to put their money behind a winning driver, and Felix is the Swedish driver they should be looking at, not Ericsson, sorry.

Felix has won in nearly everything he's sat in. 2015 F3 Euro Champion, 2x Macau GP winner, Indy Light's race winner, podiums in Blancpain, and race wins and poles in Formula E. He's also shown impressive form in two Indycar tests. The kid is the business, and would be a name more people knew of if he had more financial support. He definitely deserves a shot in F1.


That Formula E grid has some very good drivers.


James, Nobuharu is on the McHonda books, is he not? Is this not an important piece of info, considering he's now gonna test for Sauber?


The presence of Kubica on the grid next year might just be enough to compel me to continue watching F1. And I suspect I'm not the only one who feels this way. Otherwise I suspect that those horrible cockpit thongs will cost F1 another 170 million viewers.


While I haven't seen much of Auer; what I saw of DTM at Norisring he looked phenomenal. Kept cool during two hectic races. I look forward to reading about his time in the Force India.

I like Matushita, but I don't think he has what it takes to be a successful F1 driver. Strikes me a bit of another Nakajima. Solid but never going to be a winner.

If Sauber/Honda want to push a Japanese driver I think Fukuzumi (currently in GP3) would be a better prospect. If it wasn't for his bad luck at Silverstone, he'd be up there with Russell.

On a side note, how could would it be to see a successful Japanese driver in F1. That nation has given so much to motorsport except an F1 world champion (or much Le Mans 24 success).

Also, James, who will McLaren run in the tests? Would be good to see Lando Norris get a run.


I doubt either Auer or Matsushita will have superlicense for 2018.

søren christensen

@twitch6. Sure Rosenqvist is a good driver. But - he is way too "old" for the current trend in F1. With 26, he is way past the teen age which seems to be preferred, for rookies entering F1. Mind you, he took 5 seasons f3 to win the championship. Not mind blowing, when the trend is 1-2 seasons in a junior category, and champion, if a driver shall be picked for F1 between the many talents out there.

søren christensen

Although I wish all well for Kubica, I doubt it will ever happen. I simply do not trust this Renault management. And that a Man with a partly disabled arm can drive these Racers. There is a lot of hype about this, (and many Polish spectators will come to Hungary, staying to see the test). That might also be part of the whole story
Should I be proven wrong in my opinions I would gladly accept it...,


Should I be proven wrong in my opinion I would gladly accept it..., same for me, as I understand the trouble is his right arm. His ability to stretch his elbow to fit in the cockpit could be a important issue. See this photo: [img]https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CvyAaVlXYAEhVSc.jpg%5B/img]


There is no doubt that Kubica still has the knack for superior speed and racing!
It was in November last year, when he showed up at the testing of the LMP-1 sportscars that this became obviously clear to everybody. Colin Kolles offered him the chance to try some laps in his team's car and Kubica blew all away by driving faster than the team's own WC drivers! The recent test in the 4-year old F1 Renault car showed he also has the strength and endurance to compete at the highest level despite the grave accident, amputation and surgeries he went through. Granted, latest generation F1 car might pull a bit more g, but have no doubt Kubica has the mental strength and stamina to be ready for it. Pay drivers, move aside for a real racer !!


Said a while ago that Renault would test Kubica after Hungary, then drop Palmer for Spa if the test doesn't throw up any problems. They'll then use the remainder of the season to thoroughly assess Kubica. If he performs well against Hulk, then he stays. If not, they'll turn to Sainz.

Not sure what happens to Sainz if Renault take Kubica for 2018, though. He could stay at Toro Rosso, theoretically. I suspect, though, that his new contract was only put in place to ensure they could get a payout if he goes elsewhere. It makes little sense to retain Kvyat otherwise, with Gasly waiting in the wings and looking very much ready to step up. Where else could Sainz go, though? He'd be high on my shopping list if I were Claire Williams, but with Grosjean confirmed at Haas you have to wonder who'll be in the second Ferrari seat. Sainz could be an option, as could Perez. I suspect a deal has already been done though, otherwise Grosjean wouldn't have committed to Haas. It's probably Kimi, though I wouldn't be especially surprised if Rosberg came back for them.


James you never been part of any rumour. There is something going on at Renault we will wait and see at Belgian GP if he replaced JP, it will be again repeat of sponsorship move of Rexona I remember.


While reading this article everything sounded to be is a distant future, just to find out it's next week already.......geez.


Best of luck to Robert. if anything, it generates a lot of positive publicity for Renault, so that must be a nice change for them


Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez aren't in the same league as a fully capable Kubica on the top of his game. Lets hope that is the case in Hungary.


The prospect of a return for Robert Kubica is tantalising. However, I'm curious as to what medical test he would have taken to be cleared to get into a F1 car, in particular a current one?

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