Boullier: Relationship with Kubica at 'point zero'

By on Sunday, December 11, 2011

Eric Boullier with Robert Kubica at Enstone

Since Lotus Renault GP announced Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean as their drivers for next season, the future of Robert Kubica within the Enstone team looks increasingly uncertain. The Pole is still recovering from life-threatening injuries sustained in a rallying accident earlier this year, but his recovery is progressing more slowly than expected.

Kubica announced last month that he would not be ready in time for the start of the 2012 season, prompting the Lotus Renault team to look for another lead driver to take his place. The team moved quickly to sign Raikkonen on a two-year deal not long after that.

During a news conference in Paris on Friday announcing Romain Grosjean as the second driver at Lotus next year, team principal Eric Boullier admitted to BBC Sport that the team's relationship with Kubica was at 'point zero'. "I don't know if there will be a future between Lotus Renault and Robert," added Boullier.

Boullier also said, "We have been waiting for Robert to understand his plans. We would like to sit down with him and his manager to see what can be done to get him back in F1."

Boullier's most recent admission is at odds with the team's official statement that the team was already holding talks with Kubica's management about renewing his contract for the following season.

"If we can help him get in back in F1 we will, but we have signed our drivers for next year and we want to stick with them," said Boullier, indicating that Kubica's future in 2013 may be somewhere else other than with Lotus Renault GP.

Kubica's manager, Daniel Morelli, has also stated that the contract with Lotus Renault does not extend beyond this year. “The contract doesn’t go to 2012. From 1 January we will be free to go where we want," said Morelli.

Therefore, Lotus Renault does not have any obligation to continue waiting for Kubica's recovery or to provide him with testing opportunities to assess his chances of a return to Formula 1.

Although Kubica has been linked to Ferrari in the past as a possible choice to replace Felipe Massa, it is unlikely that the Maranello-based team will be eager to sign a contract with the Polish driver unless they are absolutely sure that he is 100% back to his former self. Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has already downplayed suggestions that Kubica could use Ferrari's test facilities or test one of their cars in the future.

There is still a chance that we could see Kubica on the grid in 2013, but in the current situation with more drivers than there are available seats and drivers are quickly forgotten once they leave the sport, one is starting to feel that the F1 world is beginning to move on in his absence.

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