Renault has moved to play down the speculation Robert Kubica could be in line for a potential seat in 2018, this comes after a recent lengthy trouble-free test in Valencia.
Since the news broke that the Pole would be driving a 2012 car around the Ricardo Tormo circuit, rumours began to spread quickly as speculation surrounding current race driver Jolyon Palmer’s future came about.
Kubica himself has recently stated how he believes he is in the best physical condition in his career and is ready for a comeback into Formula 1.
Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com: “I know that the sport is full of speculation and rumours and all these things.
“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. Yes, we have done that test, but we don’t want to create expectations in anyone’s mind, including Robert himself.”
While not completely ruling out the possibility of a future seat for Kubica, Abiteboul did make it clear there are more hurdles for 32-year old to overcome before he is able to be in contention for a seat in 2018.
“Look, we’ll have at some point to discuss our future line-up, that’s public information. We have a long-term contract with Nico, and a contract for 2017, and all of 2017, with Jolyon.
“But 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.”
Abiteboul did also feel the need to explain how the test was merely a one-off favour to Kubica, helping with his recovery after their time together was cut so short due to his rallying accident in 2011.
He added: “The fact of the matter is simple. You know that 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, 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 the next step.”