- Renault news
Kubica to miss start of 2012
Robert Kubica has told Renault he will not be ready to return to Formula One for the start of the 2012 season.
Kubica sustained serious arm injuries in a rallying accident at the start of the year and, following several surgeries, has since been recovering. The team has been delaying its driver announcement for 2012 in the hope that Kubica would be fit enough to return, but on Wednesday he told the team he would not be ready for the start of the season.
"Even if I've been working very, very hard over the course of the last few weeks, I came to the conclusion that I am not yet certain to be ready for the 2012 season," he said in a statement. "I have called the team and I have informed them of the situation. This was a difficult decision to make, but it is the most reasonable one. I also know that LRGP [Lotus Renault Grand Prix] need to prepare for next year, and further extending deadlines would not have been the right thing to do.
"On a personal level, my recovery is still very encouraging and my doctors keep being impressed. I just need more time, as I want to be 100% ready before I commit to anything driving related. Finally, I regret not having been able to provide more news and not having appeared in the papers, and I thank my friends of the media for understanding that this has been the best way for me to cope with what has been the most difficult period of my life."
A Renault press release said Kubica can now move his hand and elbow and walk freely, and confirmed that the team is fully committed to helping him recover. The statement also revealed that Renault is in talks to extend Kubica's current contract into 2013.
"Everybody in the team is, of course, very disappointed today," team principal Eric Boullier said. "Robert not driving in Australia at the start of next season is not what we were all hoping for. However, he has taken a very mature decision, acting in the best interests of Lotus Renault GP. As a team and as a family, we remain 100% behind him and we'll help as much as we can.
"A programme composed of simulator testing, single-seater and F1 track time is awaiting him. In the meantime, we will start talking to a few drivers in order to finalise our line-up for next year as soon as possible. Robert will take it step by step and will jump back in his racing car when he feels it is the right moment to do so. On behalf of all 520 members of the team, I wish him a speedy recovery."
The news means Renault can now enter serious talks with other drivers for 2012 to partner Vitaly Petrov, who has a contact with the team. GP2 champion Romain Grosjean is believed to be a front-runner while current driver Bruno Senna is also in talks.
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