Abiteboul: Kubica not part of Renault's 2018 plans


While Renault made it clear that Robert Kubica's recent test was a one-off, essentially a debt owed to the Polish GP winner, comments from Kubica himself and Trackside Operations Manager, Alan Permane, have suggested that there might be more the story, especially as the team is now publicly calling on Jolyon Palmer to raise his game.

However, Cyril Abiteboul has dismissed hopes of Kubica being part of the French team's plans for next season, though he stops short of ruling out the Pole's eventual return to F1 completely.

"I know that the sport is full of speculation and rumours and all these things," he told Motorsport.com. "But I think in this present case we need to be a little bit careful, because we're talking about an individual that we all love, with a fantastic image, and who has suffered a very difficult situation from a personal perspective.

"So I think I would ask on this occasion everyone to be a little bit careful," he continued. "Yes, we have done that test, but we don't want to create expectations in anyone's mind, including Robert himself.

"We'll have, at some point, to discuss our future line-up, that's public information," he admitted. "We have a long-term contract with Nico, and a contract for 2017, and all of 2017, with Jolyon. At some point we will have to review options. If by then, Robert becomes an option, we can have a look. As we speak, he's not on the list. He has many more things he has to accomplish so that he could be on the list."

To further calm the speculation, Abiteboul was keen to reveal the circumstances behind the test.

"There is at Enstone a group of people composed of Bob Bell, Nick Chester, Alan Permane, all these people have known Robert as a driver, have worked with him, and over the years, including when Robert was completely outside of the radar, they have maintained contact with him. And that's something that they always discussed, what if, as a dream he was capable of driving again in this type of circumstance? We had this circumstance, we had this opportunity.

"This was a one-off," he stressed, "it's part of a process of recovery for Robert, where he's going to assess his limits, his physical limits, and also maybe his mental limits, what he has the appetite for going through also in terms of challenges, in terms of difficulties, in terms of risk, for himself for his image.

"He's also done F2, GP3, LMP2, Formula E, so he's done a number things, and this was also part of the programme. But I don't want to create an obligation on Renault or Robert that there is a next step."

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Published: 19/06/2017
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