Robert Kubica to miss start of 2012 season 23 Nov 2011
Robert Kubica has informed Renault that he can't commit to driving for the team from the start of the 2012 as he hasnt yet recovered sufficiently from the injuries he sustained in his February rally accident. Kubica severely injured his right hand during the crash and has missed the whole of the 2011 season.
Although not ready to return to competition just yet, Kubica continues to make excellent progress. He can now walk freely and move his elbow and hand, and has started an intensive training programme, but needs more time to complete his rehabilitation and return to full fitness.
Even if Ive 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, said the Polish driver. 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 percent 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.
Even though it is understood his contract with Renault expires at the end of this year, the team have reaffirmed their commitment to Kubica and he will remain a member of the team in 2012. A test car and dedicated crew are on standby awaiting his return to the cockpit and talks are already being held to renew his contract for the following season.
Everybody in the team is, of course, very disappointed today, said Renault team principal Eric Boullier. 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 percent behind him and well 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.
With Kubica ruled out, Renault will start assessing who will join Vitaly Petrov in their 2012 line-up. The Russian's current team mate is Bruno Senna, whilst third driver - and reigning GP2 champion - Romain Grosjean will be back in the R31's cockpit for a Friday practice session in Brazil following his successful outing in Abu Dhabi.
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