Robert Kubica to miss start of 2012 season

2012 F1 season

Robert Kubica, Renault, Valencia, 2011

Robert Kubica, Renault, Valencia, 2011

Robert Kubica will not return to F1 in time for the start of the 2012 season, Renault has confirmed today.

A statement issued by the team said: “Robert Kubica has today informed Lotus Renault GP that, despite having started an intensive training programme, it is still too early for him to commit to driving in the 2012 championship.

“Robert?s progress remains impressive ?ǣ he can now walk freely, and move his hand and elbow -, but he feels that he needs more time to return to full fitness.

“Lotus Renault GP remains committed to helping Robert as much as possible in his recovery process. A test car is ready and waiting for him, and a dedicated crew is on stand-by. Of course, Robert will remain a member of the LRGP family in 2012 and he is already, through his management, holding talks about renewing his contract for the following season.

“Although very disappointed by the news, Lotus Renault GP will start assessing its options and will evaluate the most suitable candidate to drive from the first 2012 winter testing session. Once again, all the members of Lotus Renault GP wish Robert a full and speedy recovery as we say: ‘Szybkiego powrotu do zdrowia’ – Get well soon our friend.”

Kubica said: “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. 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 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.”

Team principal Eric Boullier said: “Everybody in the team is, of course, very disappointed today. 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.”

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82 comments on Robert Kubica to miss start of 2012 season

  1. Ben Everard (@beneverard) said on 23rd November 2011, 9:03

    It’s interesting that they say he won’t start the season, perhaps Kubica will feature in a Friday practise at some point in the season, we already know he’ll be driving a Renault 2.0 and FR3.5 soon, too soon for proper F1 driver, but a Friday here and there could help evaluate him for 2013.

    • Ben Everard (@beneverard) said on 23rd November 2011, 9:04

      too soon for a proper f1 drive*

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd November 2011, 9:24

      Renault have already indicated that if Kubica can race in 2012, they will make a seat available to him – even if he is only ready halfway through the season.

      • Ben Everard (@beneverard) said on 23rd November 2011, 10:26

        Indeed, it wouldn’t be surprising if he did a few practise sessions first though.

        A lot of the FR3.5 drivers had noted that the F1 steering was much lighter than their normal cars. Considering the injuries to his arm / hand driving a FR3.5 should give him more than an idea if his recovery is successful, should also indicate his fitness levels too.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd November 2011, 10:37

          Well, ever sicne the accident, I’ve thought the best way forward would be for Kubica to do a seaosn in GP2 or Formula Renault 3.5 – while returning to Formula 1 is the ultimate goal, there is no hurry. I’m sure Kubica would much prefer to take a year to get back into condition than to rush back into Formula 1.

          • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 23rd November 2011, 11:08

            Well said, he shouldn’t be trying to rush it, better that he gets himself as fit and strong and eager as possible before doing races. Friday practices seems like a good idea, in addition to something like GP2 to maintain his race-craft.

          • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 23rd November 2011, 19:33

            @bosyber @prisoner-monkeys I would agree that going in GP2/WSR machinery first would be good for his rehabilitation; but I shudder to imagine what would happen to his reputation should he not feature on the podium, or even be competitive.

          • mhop (@mhop) said on 24th November 2011, 0:25

            Guys, I’m sorry to say it, but all the indications are that Kubica won’t drive again, FULL STOP. He’s only now walking unassisted, and has only regained (presumably slight) movement in his hand. Also the fact we’ve not even seen any pictures of him since the accident tells a story.

            Of course the Renault and Kubica press releases put a positive spin on everything, but it’s extremely naive to take it all at face value. Your talk of a season in GP2 is more than a bit daft at this point.

          • lubhz (@lubhz) said on 24th November 2011, 13:22

            @mhop, that’s the saddest thing but i’m afraid is seems to be true.

      • James (@jamesf1) said on 23rd November 2011, 11:16

        I guess that is largely dependent on how well their driver line up is doing next year. Although it could be a fairly inexperienced line up, they could exceed performance expectations, leaving Kubica out of the picture.

  2. PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 23rd November 2011, 9:07

    I suppose this was inevitable.
    As I’m holding out hope, word choice is critical. He won’t [i]start[/i] the season, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t [i]finish[/i] it in the car, in preparation for a full season in 2013.

  3. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 23rd November 2011, 9:14

    I’ve never thought Robert would be in any way ready for 2012, sadly it seems so. But hey – he’s alive and even if he never comes back to motorsport, he’s just about back to normal levels of health and fitness. He’s already won in my book.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd November 2011, 9:44

      Remember the people saying he could be back by Hungary this year?

      Agree with you on how great it is that he is up and going at all, and looks like having a good chance at driving cars in some form of racing is already an extra bonus.

      • tflb1 (@) said on 23rd November 2011, 14:12

        On some Polish sites I saw people were claiming that he’d be back by Monaco and would win every race on his way to the championship. Deluded people, but it does make you realise just how big Kubica is (was?) in Poland.

  4. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 23rd November 2011, 9:23

    Very disappointing now they will be looking for a new driver
    in my opinion there’s no driver available in the grid who can replace robert
    maybe they will seriously consider the option of Kimi Raikonnen

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd November 2011, 9:28

      @tifoso1989

      maybe they will seriously consider the option of Kimi Raikonnen

      That’s incredibly unlikely. Williams want to do a deal with the Qataris to sponsor them. As a condition of this deal, the Qataris want Williams to run Raikkonen. The deal only works because Williams have an existing relationship with Qatar; Renault do not. Williams is the only team Raikkonen can join.

      • PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 23rd November 2011, 9:48

        Middle-Eastern sponsors strike again! But if it brings Iceman back into the sport, I’m all for it.

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 23rd November 2011, 9:56

        Eric Boullier said that he want a top driver in my opinion
        the only top driver available is Kimi Raikonnen or Bouiller has a different definition for a top driver
        as for Williams the situation is not clear besides Raikonnen there’s Valtteri Bottas GP3 champion & with important sponsorship

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd November 2011, 10:09

          He said he wanted a top driver – but he also said that it would be possible to develop a driver over the next two years.

          And after spending two seasons out of the sport, Raikkonen is hardly a top driver – and that’s without taking into account his unfamiliarity with DRS, Pirelli tyres and fuel-heavy cars.

          • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 23rd November 2011, 10:55

            “Raikkonen is hardly a top driver “, do you no tthink that is a tad harsh @PrisonerMonkeys? I mean look at JB, he’s having a great season but only beat Kimi in 2 out of 9 seasons they were competing in before. I think it was Mansell who said in 2007 “if they can’t adapt to the new regs in 3 laps then they’re not top drivers”

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd November 2011, 11:11

            No, I don’t think it was harsh at all. Raikkonen might have a top driver when he left the sport, but he has no experiece with DRS, Pirelli or fuel-heavy cars. Just one of these rules would leave serious questions about a driver’s ability, but Riakkonen has to answer to all three. For some reason, people seem to think he can be compeittive from the get-go, but there is no way this is remotely possible.

          • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 23rd November 2011, 11:36

            But there is no proof that he will be slow. DRS is a non-event, a complete non-event for a world champion driver. The Pirelli’s could be an issue but Raikkonen was immense when it came to traction control and I very much doubt he will struggle so badly that he can’t maximise the potential of his car. Massa aside, I see no performance indication that says that one driver was significantly better or worse since refuelling was banned. IMO, a hungry Raikkonen is still well capable of a beating a number of ‘top’ drivers atm namely MW and FM. Kimi was a top 3 car three years after his first ever car race. The guy is exceptional and a bad run at the start of 2009 and a lack of motivation shouldn’t condem him to a has-been imo, although I respect your stance on it.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd November 2011, 12:12

            DRS is a non-event, a complete non-event for a world champion driver.

            Except that it allows a driver to run a higher lever of downforce than he normally would, fundamentally changing the behaviour of the car. Likewise the fuel-heavy cars (which I see you’re completely ignoring.

            The Pirelli’s could be an issue but Raikkonen was immense when it came to traction control

            The Pirellis behave in a compeltely different way to the Bridgestones Raikkonen was using before he left.

            I’m sorry, but Kimi Raikkonen has a lot of homework to do before he can reach his full potential if is to return. Michael Schumacher struggled with the rule changes when he returned last year, and he was far more talented than Raikkonen. The idea that Raikkonen can somehow overcome the barriers to re-entry simply because he is Raikkonen is a fan fantasy. Likewise the idea that he will race for any team other than Williams.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd November 2011, 12:25

            @rbalonso you are right about this

            But there is no proof that he will be slow.

            But thats not the thing a team like Renault will want to know before signing a driver anyway.

            They are looking for a driver who is proven to be quick and able to win

          • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 23rd November 2011, 12:42

            But the downforce is for a given car, I don’t get what that implies. Kimi raced in 2009 which was much lower dowforce than now and 2008 which was much higher. DRS is also the same for everybody.

            I’m not ignoring the fuel side at all, “Massa aside, I see no performance indication that says that one driver was significantly better or worse since refuelling was banned”.

            The pirellis are different from the bridgestones which were different to the Michelins etc. The Michelins allowed the drivers to be far more aggressive on turn in which is why Fernando struggled and changed many things (like the brakes at canada) to try to regain his aggressive style. My point being Kimi won a championship on bridgestones despite winning 9 races on Michelins.

            My point is not to argue with you but I just think that writing a guy off who was worshipped by many (not me) as little as four years ago is a little pre-mature. The formula has not changed so much that a top, top driver becomes a minnow. If you insist on using Schumi then we may well include Rubens. Rubens raced thru the changes and hes slow now. Is that because he was out the game or just got older? Schumi is in the same boat. Kimi is 10 years younger than MS. At that stage in his career MS was only a triple champ. that proves kimi still has time on his side imho.

          • PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 23rd November 2011, 13:09

            You compare Schumacher to Raikkonen PM – the fact is, Schumi was out for 3 years whereas Raikkonen 2. In Schumi’s 3 years, the car shape changed drastically PLUS fuel-heavy PLUS slicks. In Raikkonen’s time out, the fundamental regs haven’t changed with regards to wing size, sidepod bits etc. IMO Pirelli and DRS are not as big as car shape and grooved->slicks in terms of change. Plus Raikkonen is younger. All this points to a quicker return to form for Raikkonen than Schumacher. That is, if he can be bothered.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd November 2011, 13:37

            @pielighter

            In Schumi’s 3 years, the car shape changed drastically PLUS fuel-heavy PLUS slicks. In Raikkonen’s time out, the fundamental regs haven’t changed with regards to wing size, sidepod bits etc.

            Except that Schumacher already had experience in racing fuel-heavy cars, and he learned about the Pirelli tyres and F-ducts at the same time as everyone else did.

          • PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 23rd November 2011, 13:43

            @prisoner-monkeys I’m not talking about the RW80. I’m talking about the massive change from 2008 to 2009, and in 2006 cars had less rubbish on the sidepods than in 2008. That would have been a huge change, even for a 7-time champion.

          • PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 23rd November 2011, 13:45

            Plus grooved to slick would have been big, even though it was an improvement. And the fact that the tyres from 2007 onwards were not tailor-made for Schumacher and everyone else had to cope. Everyone has equal opportunity in terms of tyres now.

          • Wilhelm (@wilhelm) said on 23rd November 2011, 19:16

            Raikkonen is in my opinion the kind of driver who can adapt easily to new technical reglementation / environment. As already said, he has proven it by going from Mclaren to Ferrari (and thus from Michelin to Bridgestone), won the first race and the championship after that unchallenged by his teammate (who already knew both the team and the tyres).

            What I would more question is his training / fitness level after two years out of the category. And I don’t think the guy has reputation for commitment is this area.

          • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 23rd November 2011, 20:23

            PM for a teacher you have a very negative approached to things. Say

            “there is no way this is remotely possible

            “.
            is a discredit to anyone. Anything is possible. Kimi is younger than Michael and may adapt quicker, as for you comments to whether or not can he be bothered, i’m guessing you are referring to his final year at Ferrari? It be naive to not understand that relationship had gone sour and Kimi’s body language and attitude were affected by that.

          • Noelinho (@noelinho) said on 24th November 2011, 0:59

            Yes, PM, Schumacher did have experience of fuel-heavy cars – fifteen years ago! Kimi would adapt to heavy cars quickly. He’s a very intelligent driver. He would also adapt to DRS very quickly. Everyone else managed it.

            In 2007, Kimi also switched from McLaren, running Michelin tyres, to Ferrari, on Bridgestones.

            He won the title.

  5. ajokay (@ajokay) said on 23rd November 2011, 9:28

    I do hope he recovers fully, but I can’t say I’ve noticed him not being on the grid this year. I haven’t missed him being on the grid, and I doubt he’d be much higher in the standings than Petrov is now if he had been. Not with the car that Renault have given them this year.

    • Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 23rd November 2011, 9:34

      Totally agree. Whilst it’s a shame we don’t have him racing, there’s such a depth of talent at the moment that it doesn’t leave such a gaping hole on the grid as it might have done had it been a few years ago.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 23rd November 2011, 10:10

      It was great seeing him challenge some of the front runners last year, but like with Rosberg, the gap between the top 3 teams and the rest of the grid (even Mercedes) has been too great for him to be able to make the same impact.

    • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 23rd November 2011, 10:17

      You trigger me @ajokay :
      We haven’t seen Kubica around the paddock or anywhere else. I can’t remember if Schumacher came to watch the races on crutches and I won’t imply that Kubica should make an appearance…

      …but I guess my point is that it just underlines what a heavy mentally blow this accident has been for Robert. It seems he just couldn’t face anyone from the F1 world. I now even wonder if some of Bouilliers statements were meant like: ‘Hey Robert, I know you’re depressed about all this, but pick up the phone!’

      In the end I hope this makes him even more eager to return and show the world his abilities. But still, I fear.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 23rd November 2011, 11:11

        Bouilliers statements in the last few weeks certainly sounded like they were meant that way: we are here for you, support you, will wait for you, but please help us decide so we can start preparing for next year; don’t worry there’s a seat ready and waiting when you are.

    • lionel said on 23rd November 2011, 16:33

      Not much higher than petrov? At least twice more points,
      far better car development, and probably great hardcore runs at Monaco (as always).

      Petrov is poor. Senna the same.

  6. BeardFaceF1 (@beardfacef1) said on 23rd November 2011, 10:17

    I hope he doesn’t commit to LRGP for 2013, if it is Ferrari who are interested in him I think seeing him and Fernando under one roof would be interesting. Maybe another 2007 style season for Alonso because Kubica wouldn’t bow down, he’d give him a good run for his money!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd November 2011, 10:35

      Ferrari won’t take him after two years out of the sport.

      • paolo (@paolo) said on 23rd November 2011, 13:32

        Diasgree.

        If he were to return and he proved himself quick in a Ferrari then I think they would rather sign him up than lose him on a long term deal to another team.

      • Eggry (@eggry) said on 23rd November 2011, 14:49

        Ferrari has resource and cars(and the track?) to test him even without regular FIA test. Proving Kubica is no matter to Ferrari.

      • Noelinho (@noelinho) said on 24th November 2011, 1:04

        I don’t see why they wouldn’t. They could easily sign him on a contract with a security clause, so they could run him in an old car as their driver, then make an assessment. If they were going to run him in a test, they would be silly not to have some kind of contract with him, to prevent him then going elsewhere.

        If he didn’t perform as well as expected, they could release him. It could work for both parties. If Ferrari decide not to renew Massa’s contract for 2013, assessing Kubica is no riskier than any of the other available drivers on the market. The only other real option they have is Mark Webber, who they would likely overlook given his age, as they like to lock their drivers down for a number of years.

      • lionel said on 24th November 2011, 10:08

        Scuderia OFFERS 1 500 000 Euro for Kubica to not sign Lotus for 2012-2013 :)

  7. chaosthoery said on 23rd November 2011, 10:33

    I am dissapointed, but it was a wise decision – he need to be at 110% fitness for F1.
    As of his replacement for start of the season, I think Renault (Lotus?) should stick to Senna. Give the boy a chance, cause he will never fully develop his skills if teams will do such a jugglery with him. Ideal situation for this team would be Grosjean – Senna, but Im sure money will keep Petrov in the car :/

  8. Cristian (@cristian) said on 23rd November 2011, 10:35

    He can move his hand and elbow.
    I’m sorry to dissapoint you guys, but he will never return to f1. For F1 you need lightning reflexes, and he can’t even use his arm properly. With the doctors having to reconstruct his arm, it’s a miracle he is alive and he will probably get full (or almost) use of it in time. Robert should be grateful for the second chance at life he was given, because most people don’t get one.
    It would be great if he’d return, but if we would believe that, we would simply lie to ourselves. It is just impossible with today’s medicine.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 23rd November 2011, 11:12

      That’s true; it’s great he has back mobility, given the extent and amount of damage, but it might be a long way until he can be fully recovered.

    • Unfortunately, I have a feeling you might be right. Get well son Robert.

    • Ben Everard (@beneverard) said on 23rd November 2011, 14:06

      Robert is set to drive a FR3.5, which drivers have said has heavier steering than an F1… I reckon he’ll be back.

      I don’t question his decision to return, if indeed he does. An accident of that magnitude might put us general public off, but he’s a racing driver.

      Also, if you compare his rally accident with say, Canada 07… you’d say he would rather have an accident inside the relative known quantity of an F1 circuit + car… unlike a rally stage where unknowns are rife.

  9. “Szybkiego powrotu do zdrowia” means “Get well soon”

  10. Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 23rd November 2011, 11:30

    If he really did step up and say “Guy’s I’m not gonna delay the inevitable anymore, I’m not gonna be ready for the start of 2012″ (opposed to that being PR spin for “we dragged him away kicking & screaming) then more respect for him. Not many drivers in todays Motorsports world would do that, most would try to drag out the decision as long as possible.

  11. azwris said on 23rd November 2011, 12:16

    Bring Rubens in until Robert feels better!

  12. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 23rd November 2011, 13:17

    A mature approach from both the team and Kubica. Looking forward to seeing him in FP1 very soon!

  13. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 23rd November 2011, 13:25

    We need to keep telling ourselves in situations like this that we should just be glad the guy has an arm which he can use.

    I’m holding my breath – but if this guy never returns to F1 it surely must be, in my eyes, the biggest waste of a driver’s potential in modern day F1. I was thinking he’d be WDC in 2013, not simply getting back to grips with driving :(

    • PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 23rd November 2011, 13:47

      We all thought Alonso GP next year and champion 2013. Summed it up perfectly @electrolite

    • Wilhelm (@wilhelm) said on 23rd November 2011, 19:31

      @electrolite A very wise comment :-) . I think he was in 2010 and would have been in 2011 the best chance of a refreshing underdog victory !

      We are a few here I think to miss him being on the grid, as his driving style an attitude toward the sport is unique.

      Did everyone else noticed how seldom he is or was being criticised (for any reason) by the F1 followers and his peers?

      I think F1 does sometimes need someone, to prove again that “nice guys do not always finish second” ;-)

  14. Eggry (@eggry) said on 23rd November 2011, 14:47

    so Grojean would be favour…or Kimi? also which team Kubica would choose? Renault? Ferrari?

  15. Toro26 said on 23rd November 2011, 16:07

    Hope he really bounces back from all of this. Just found a not popular onboard video on YT showing Kubicas marvellous qualifying at Suzuka last season were he really pushes that car and takes on 130R with one hand:) What a splended driver he is.
    Once again speedy recovery Robert
    Link to video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMdQz8WNdXQ

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