Robert Kubica, Renault, Valencia, 2017

“No obvious roadblocks” to Kubica comeback, says Abiteboul

2017 F1 season

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Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul says there are “no obvious roadblocks” to Robert Kubica returning to F1 following the driver’s latest test for the team this week.

However Abiteboul sought to play down expectations when asked whether the test showed Kubica is capable of racing in F1 again.

“I will not say that and I don’t want to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’,” said Abiteboul. “It’s not like a test that you’re passing like an exam.”

“We’ve not seen any obvious roadblocks,” he added. “Having said that testing in these circumstances and testing into a more modern car is completely different.”

“This situation is complex. We are not doing it for PR purposes although we see it is creating a lot of media expectation and focus. We care more for Robert than this.”

Abiteboul said that although the test involved five-year-old machinery Kubica demonstrated many of the same qualities he had before the 2011 crash which forced him out of F1.

“There is a big caveat, that it’s a Formula One car from 2012 with demo tyres, V8 engine – normally aspirated, fantastic noise – but doesn’t match the current F1 car. So whatever we do is not quite representative.”

“However we sort of worked towards what could look like a plan in order to give him and us the opportunity to assess a little bit more his limitation and his abilities.”

“What I can tell you is that he’s still quick, he’s still very consistent and more importantly still has this energy, this driver, the enthusiasm he has always had to him and to the team.”

Despite mounting speculation over the team’s driver line-up for next year, Abiteboul would not be drawn on Renault’s plans for Kubica.

“It’s really too early to talk about next steps,” he said. “I don’t want to add to speculation. Right now the focus is on getting the most of the overall line-up and package that we have and then we’ll be thinking about 23018 in due course.”

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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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  • 14 comments on ““No obvious roadblocks” to Kubica comeback, says Abiteboul”

    1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      14th July 2017, 17:37

      Great news, he’s gonna be racing next year.

    2. Not even to Abiteboul is Jolyon Palmer obvious

      1. Yes, that is what should be worrying Palmer. He should be top of the list of possible drivers to sit alongside Nico Hülkenberg in 2018, but, with 0 points in the Drivers’ Championship, one can’t but help suspect he isn’t.

    3. we’ll be thinking about 23018 in due course


      1. Planning ahead is a good idea, but you can exaggerate.

    4. What are the chances he will come back? What about the super license requirement? Would be great news if he did come back. My wife is Polish so maybe this would be my avenue to make her a fan of F1.

    5. Yes pretty please!!!

    6. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      14th July 2017, 20:44

      Palmer is toast.

      Shame really. I’d kinda like him to really fight back and show he’s worth keeping – you know, make everyone that’s said he’s awful eat their words but… I think he’s out of time, and I suspect he’s not capable of doing it anyway. And Kubica’s far too interesting to pass up.

      As for Jolyon, see you in Formula E.

      1. Kubica is indeed too interesting to pass up. If I were Renault I wouldn’t wait till next year to replace Palmer; after summer break would be just fine.

    7. Sorry to say that, but your pro-British bias with Palmer is just like my pro-Brazilian bias with Bernoldi back in the day he held Coulthard for 40 laps in a Monaco GP

      I know it’s harsh, but Palmer is rubbish (for Formula 1 standards, of course). Perhaps he can be successful in other series.

      At least his mediocrity put Kubica back in the game.

      1. I’m sorry but where did you see any bias toward Palmer? He’s not mentioned in the article, and he’s trashed in the comments.

      2. Yeah, from what I’ve seen, it’s only really the guys on the TV that don’t completely trash him (in my British opinion, fully justified) and that’s probably because they have to speak to him on a regular basis and that might make things a bit awkward.

        But, yeah, if his general shoddiness opens the door for RK, goodo.

    8. This thing is getting real. Castrol tweated yesterday (maybe officially too early) that kubica will test again for renault and that they cant wait to see results – i think they are talking about lap times from hungary test coming up. Abiteboul’s language has gone from ‘one off test, not on our list for 2018″ to “second test to evaluate his physical ability” to “we have a program with kubica…taking it step by step” to “no roadblocks to his comeback, he hasnt lost any speed” and “he is a chance for 2018”. Its pretty obviousv where this is heading, i better renault signed contract clause with kubica so that other teams cant sign him (ie ferrari)

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