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DATE News (chronologically)
11/18/11
f1
Kubica has offer on table from Ferrari?  UPDATE #2
Robert Kubica
(GMM)  Ferrari has expressed interest in linking up with Robert Kubica once the Pole is ready to return to formula one, according to reports.

The rumors follow speculation his relationship with Renault might be coming to an end, with the existing contract set to run out and the Lotus-sponsored team likely to pick between Vitaly Petrov, Romain Grosjean and Bruno Senna at least for its initial 2012 lineup.

At the same time, there are other rumors, including that Eric Boullier has not spoken to Kubica for weeks, and that the 26-year-old driver might need yet another wrist operation.

"He has broken off most of his contacts, even to the Polish journalists," a source told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

At the same time, it is being reported that Ferrari might be interested in assessing Kubica next year with an eye to installing him as Felipe Massa's successor beyond 2012.

"It is all highly speculative at the moment," read the report in Auto Motor und Sport.  "Nobody can say today that Kubica will ever go back to his old level of performance.

"His stock will only rise again when he turns competitive lap times in a formula one car.  And if he shows that he can be his old self again, he will open many doors -- not just at Ferrari."

11/15/11 Originally, Ferrari had an option with Robert Kubica for the Polish driver to join the Italian team in 2013. This was signed in the summer of 2010 and was renewable each year. From what I understand, Ferrari let the option lapse in July this year, at a time when Robert was still recovering from the injuries that he suffered in a rallying accident in February. He remained under contract with Lotus Renault GP until the end of this year. That deal comes to an end in December and while the team may feel a moral obligation to provide the Polish driver with a car in order to ascertain whether or not he is fit to return to racing, there is no commitment beyond that. 

In any case, the signs are that either Kubica is not going to be ready to return in time for a Renault test this winter; or that he does not want to race for Lotus Renault GP and would prefer to try to get a job somewhere else. It is logical that Ferrari would retain at least some interest in him given how keen the team was to sign up previously, but there need to be tests, not just to ascertain whether he is still able to compete, but also to help him build up his physical strength, which is an essential part of the recovery process. This is not easy given that there are testing restrictions. Having said that if Kubica is still able to drive as he used to be able to drive, Ferrari is the perfect choice as the Italian team can have him running around at Mugello and Fiorano in a two-year old car every week if it chooses to do so.

All this is theoretical until we discover whether Robert is able to drive F1 cars as he used to, or not. There seem to be different stories coming out of his camp: some saying that he is fine and all is well; and others saying that there is much more recovery needed. The Renault situation is fast becoming irrelevant as unless Robert can show he is strong and ready (and that he wants to continue with the team) the logical thing to do is not to wait, but rather decide between the available talent. There are at least three drivers to choose from at the moment: Vitaly Petrov, Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean all being in the hunt. Grosjean seems to be the man on the up, while Senna needs a solid result after a series of disappointing showings. The team also has the option of looking at others, such as Adrian Sutil or Timo Glock, who are either under contract but have get-out clauses, or are simply available. Joe Saward

11/15/11 The word on the Abu Dhabi street said that Renault may not be able to wait long enough on Robert Kubica's fitness before deciding its 2012 driver line-up.

The suggestion is that the team will go forward with Vitaly Petrov and either Bruno Senna or Romain Grosjean.

What is not being spoken so much, is whether Kubica, once fit again, would want to return with Lotus Renault GP. The team will finish a distant fifth in the constructors championship with less than half the points of fourth-placed Mercedes, themselves scoring less than half the total of third-placed Ferrari.

Kubica is 27 this year and made his F1 debut five years ago now. Providing his capabilities are undiminished and given his reputation, he will undoubtedly have designs on a seat in a front-running car.

In Abu Dhabi a little bird told us that at least two teams other than Renault have told the Pole that there is a car waiting for him whenever he is ready, one of them being a top four team.

That, we believe, is Ferrari. To many, it makes little sense for Ferrari to have re-signed Felipe Massa for a seventh season, the Brazilian having underperformed alongside Fernando Alonso for two years comparative to the form he displayed in 2008 when he so nearly won the championship.

Alonso is third in this year's championship with 245 points to second place man Jenson Button's 255, while Massa has scored just 108 and has not looked like winning a race. If Ferrari is serious about winning the constructors championship, that is an issue that needs to addressed.

The rumor mill suggested recently that Ferrari was considering dropping Massa in favor of Nico Rosberg, but the mill was wrong. Massa has been confirmed again and Rosberg has extended his Mercedes contract.

We would not be awfully surprised to learn, however, that Ferrari has a release clause in the contract with Massa that would permit them to take Kubica when he has proven his fitness.

Quite what Alonso, signed to 2016, would think of that, is another question. Alonso is friendly with Kubica and they have always shown strong mutual respect. It would certainly be a combination more than capable of delivering the constructors championship! It might also be a little combustible…Grandprix.com

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