NOVEMBER 23, 2011

Kubica not ready for 2012

Robert Kubica, seriously injured in a rally crash in February, has told Lotus Renault GP that he will not be ready for the start of the 2012 F1 season. The team will therefore work towards finalising next year's driver line-up without him.

"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," Kubica said.

"I have called the team and informed them of the situation. This was a difficult decision to make, but it is the most reasonable one. I also know that the team needs 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," Kubica said of what he has described as the most difficult period of his life.

Lotus Renault GP 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. 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."

LRGP says that Kubica will remain part of the family in 2012 and that it is talking to the Pole's manager, Daniele Morelli, about renewing his contract for 2013.

Stories continue, however, that longer term, Ferrari is looking to replace Felipe Massa with Kubica if he returns to the cockpit at a similar level. Some, however, question whether Massa himself is the same driver after his serious accident at Hungaroring in 2009, and Kubica's ultimate level after such a damaging accident and long lay-off is bound to come under close scrutiny first.