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Boullier sets Kubica deadline

ESPNF1 Staff
September 12, 2011 « Horner enjoys 'phenomenal' win | »
Eric Boullier wants to be able to start finalising his driver line-up for 2012 at the end of October © Sutton Images

Renault team principal Eric Boullier says he needs to know whether Robert Kubica can return to Formula One in 2012 by the end of October.

Kubica has been out of action for the whole season so far following his rally accident in February, and recently underwent a final operation to restore full movement to his right elbow. Boullier said that he wanted Kubica to be one of Renault's drivers next year, but that he needed confirmation that he would be able to return in order to finalise his driver line-up within budget.

"My issue is I cannot miss the opportunity to have Robert back, but at the same time I have to protect the interests of this team," Boullier is quoted by Autosport. "I need to define the best driver line-up, or the best one I can afford.

"I will be flexible because I really like Robert and it is worth for him to be back, but by the middle of October or the end of October I need to have clear confirmation, even if we have some work to go through. I am not expecting him to be as fast as last year, because when you have been away from racing for one year it is tough to be back, and on top of this you have a bad accident like he had, then it is not easy. But I need to understand if he can do it."

Kubica's manager Daniele Morelli told the BBC that he would drive ahead of that deadline.

"In October we think he can put a helmet on to give a message on what he can do," Morelli said. "It's important that he can start to drive. Whether it's in a simulator or in a road car is not important ... Robert will decide when he feels he has the condition to drive any car. He has never lost the feeling in his mind that he would be back."

Morelli also said that Renault had insisted there was a place available for Kubica, despite him being out of contract with the team at the end of the season.

"Renault have given us assurances that there is a seat for Robert. So far we've had their full support."