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Renault: Kubica may be '18 option

14 July 2017 National Sport

Kubica completed 90 laps in ‘extensive’ second test at Paul Ricard on Wednesday

Last Updated: 14/07/17 5:40pm

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul says Robert Kubica may be an option for the team in 2018 after the Pole stepped up his bid for a remarkable F1 comeback.

Kubica completed 90 laps on Wednesday in a second test for Renault which was designed “to extensively evaluate his driving capabilities” as he continues his recovery from the career-changing injuries he sustained in 2011 in a rally crash.

The test at Paul Ricard came a month after he drove over 100 laps in Valencia in the same 2012 E20 car.

“What l can tell you is that he was still quick, still consistent and more importantly he still has the enthusiasm he always carried to the team,” Abiteboul said at the British GP.

“It’s too early to talk about next steps. Right now the focus is on getting the most out of our current line-up and package. We will think about 2018 in due course but that’s not right now.

“I don’t want to say yes or no, it’s not like an exam. But we have not seen any obvious roadblocks. The situation is complex, we are not doing it for PR even though it is generating a lot of media and expectation. We care for Robert a lot more than this.”

But he added to NBC Sports: “He could be an option in 2018.”

Kubica, a former BMW and Lotus driver, was widely tipped as a future world champion before his one-off participation in an Italian rally between pre-season F1 tests dramatically changed the course of his career.

Just three days after setting the pace at 2011’s opening pre-season test, Kubica crashed into a church wall during the Ronde di Andora rally and suffered severe damage to his right hand, arm and leg. He underwent several hours of surgery and suffered a partial amputation of his forearm.

With the restricted movement of his arm initially prohibiting him from driving a single-seater again, Kubica made his competitive return in World Rally in 2013 before racing on circuits again last year.

Following his run on Wednesday, Kubica told French publication : “Physically, there are no problems.

My doubts about my capacities have disappeared with these two days of tests. I am no longer afraid of not being at the level but there remains a way to go.”

Don’t miss the British GP live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday – lights out for the race is at 1pm.

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