Lotus Renault GP has given Robert Kubica a mid-October deadline to prove his potential to rejoin the team’s frontline driver line-up for the 2012 season, or it will be forced to look for a permanent replacement.

With the Pole’s manager having confirmed that the 26-year-old will “put on a helmet” next month “to give a message on what he can do” and with Renault equally keen to see Kubica back in its line-up, it also need to put contingency measures in place in case he cannot stage a comeback.

And team boss Eric Boullier knows this all too well, with the knowledge that delaying the finalisation of its line-up could cost it the chance of finding a high-profile replacement.

“I cannot miss the opportunity to have Robert back, but at the same time I have to protect the interests of this team,” Boullier was quoted as saying during the Italian Grand Prix weekend.

“I need to define the best driver line-up, or the best one I can afford. I will be flexible because I really like Robert and it is worth for him to be back, but by the middle of October or the end of October I need to have clear confirmation, even if we have some work to go through.

“I am not expecting him to be as fast as last year, because when you have been away from racing for one year it is tough to be back, and on top of this you have a bad accident like he had, then it is not easy. But I need to understand if he can do it.”

Kubica’s manager Daniele Morelli recently announced that he would be back behind the wheel of either a road car of an F1 simulator in the next month, which would prove the litmus test of his prospects of a return to racing.

[Image via The Cahier Archive]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.