Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Motor Racing

Robert Kubica delays return to Formula One


Formula One driver Robert Kubica has told the Lotus Renault GP team he will not be fit enough to start the 2012 season.

Kubica has missed the whole of the 2011 season after being seriously injured in a rallying accident last winter.

The team had initially hoped the Polish driver would be fit enough to return to action this season but now he has had to delay that until after the start of next season.

That leaves the team with a choice of three drivers to fill its two seats next season - Vitaly Petrov, Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean - unless management at the Oxfordshire-based outfit look outside their current line-up.

Kubica will remain with the Enstone set-up - a situation the team confirmed in a statement released today - and is currently in talks over a possible deal for 2013.

Kubica, who finished the 2010 season in eighth in the driver standings, 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."

In the crash in a rally in Andorra in February Kubica suffered partial amputation of his forearm and compound fractures to his right elbow, shoulder and leg.

Following three operations Kubica has undergone a lengthy period of rehabilitation but has so far not driven a car and has subsequently decided to delay the possible date of his return to racing.

Team principal and managing director Eric Boullier confirmed the disappointment that Kubica would not race in Australia in the opening GP of next season.

Boullier said: "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."