F1: Renault team principal is over the Kubica hype

Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul has had enough of the speculation going around over Kubica, and has hit back with a dose of reality.

With the sheer magnitude of what a Robert Kubica return to Formula One would mean in terms of a comeback story, it’s easy to see why. The sensationalist comeback story that is poised to unfold could end give Renault a serious boost in the 2018 season. Quite frankly, it’s all that anyone can seem to talk about anymore.

While the chatter around Kubica has slowly grown into a cacophony, there is one man who has undoubtedly had his fill of answering the same question in a multitude of different ways: Cyril Abiteboul. The French manufacturer’s team principal has had to endure a unrelenting torrent of questions surrounding Kubica’s performance, as well as the fate of current driver Jolyon Palmer.
Abiteboul took time out – likely hoping that it would be the last time – to spell it out plain for us plebs, saying that while Kubica’s results have been encouraging thus far, there is still far too much to factor in before a concrete decision could be made:

“It is true that with Robert we feel we need to investigate a little bit further after all the tests we have done. Obviously there have been the tests we did with the 2012 car, but also, we have done other things – medical checks and simulator work that I don’t really want to elaborate on.

It is true that based on all these things up until now, we want to have a closer look about how realistically it would be for Robert to drive again in a modern F1 car, and possibly in a racing context.

We continue to support Jo – and there is absolutely no change of plan. It is not a short-term plan and it is not a short-term option to do anything with our driver line-up.” – Cyril Abiteboul

Both Kubica’s revival and Palmer’s woes have intersected and what could be seen as either an incredibly opportune or inopportune time – depending upon what angle we’re looking at. With Silly Season in full swing, Kubica is undoubtedly delighted with how his story is surging across the channels; while less can be said for Palmer.

Perhaps the only F1 driver to be stuck between a rock and a hard place, Jolyon Palmer has had a dangerously lackluster season – having been unable to score even a single point under Renault in the driver’s championship. Though Palmer does get some leeway due to the amount of technical issues he’s suffered, he has been unable to make a dent in the season with the sort of performance he’s managed to put out thus far.

Abiteboul has assured us that the team will stand behind their driver and support Palmer heading forward, but one can only wonder how much more Abiteboul and Co. can handle before they drop all pretenses and start scavenging together what they can for the future.