Renault F1 team boss Eric Boullier has confirmed that the team has shortlisted three possible replacements for the injured Robert Kubica, with the Frenchman confirming that Nick Heidfeld, Pedro de la Rosa and Vitantonio Liuzzi are all possible candidates.
Kubica’s former BMW Sauber team-mate, Nick Heidfeld, is currently the favourite for the role, having been booked in to test the R31 at Jerez this weekend.
“We are in talks with de la Rosa, Liuzzi and Heidfeld,” Boullier is quoted by the Spanish Marca newspaper.
And quoted by Auto Motor und Sport, he said: “This year, with so much new with the car, we cannot risk going with a young driver.
“Experience will be vitally important, so there aren’t too many candidates.”
And the Frenchman’s quotes certainly give rise to Heidfeld being the favourite candidate to replace the team’s star driver.
“He will be driving on Saturday and Sunday for a day and a half. If we think he is our man then he will also be at the next test in Barcelona,” Boullier added.
“If not, then we would have to try one of the other drivers.”
Either way, the team has confirmed it will have to have made a final decision by the end of the third pre-season test session at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.
Boullier added that Bruno Senna’s participation in this weekend’s four-day test at Jerez is to ensure that he would be the team’s main reserve driver in the event of another calamity striking the team.
“If something else happens [to our lead drivers], I want a driver who has already been in the car,” Boullier added.
“If [Kubica’s crash] had happened in the middle of the season, then we could have taken the chance of a young driver. But we need to develop this car from scratch with someone experienced.”