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Kubica set to commit to Renault

ESPNF1 Staff
June 29, 2010 « 'Hamilton is lucky', says Briatore | »
Is Robert Kubica set to partner Kimi Raikkonen at Renault in 2011? © Getty Images
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Robert Kubica is understood to be close to committing his long-term future to Renault, according to AUTOSPORT.

It is thought that Kubica is seeking guarantees that Renault will have the financial firepower in place to challenge for championship glory within the next few years. And if sources are to be believed, a major title sponsorship deal is on the verge of being signed - possibly with credit card company MasterCard.

Indeed, AUTOSPORT understands that the team is so bullish about its financial prospects that team owner Gerard Lopez has informed senior figures inside the team that he may sound out Kimi Raikkonen in the next few months concerning a possible return to F1 with Renault.

After buying a majority stake in the Renault team, Lopez had to consider sponsorship issues in its choice of a second driver for 2010 and Vitaly Petrov added commercial benefit of Russian involvement. But with Petrov so far failing to deliver on the circuit, a substantial cash boost from elsewhere could hasten his departure in favour of a big-name driver.

Renault team principal Eric Boullier, however, has confirmed that the outfit's main priority is to convince Kubica that it has the money to achieve its title targets.

"We definitely want him and we have spoken - and it is up to us to show that we have the ambition and the means to be ambitious," said Boullier. "If we do that, then I am sure he will stay. If he doesn't want to stay then he will leave, it is as simple as that."

Boullier added that he was not unduly concerned about rival teams chasing the services of its star driver.

"Robert is one of the very highly ranked drivers but, because his contract is supposed to end this year, he has become attractive. It's normal."