Renault Formula 1 chief Cyril Abiteboul has admitted that Robert Kubica could become an option for a race seat in 2018 following a successful second test at Paul Ricard earlier this week.
Kubica raced in F1 between 2006 and 2010, claiming one grand prix win, before injuries sustained in a rally accident to his right hand and arm cut his single-seater career short.
The Pole made a return to motorsport in the World Rally Championship, but began to move towards a return to single-seaters earlier this year with tests in GP3 and Formula E machinery.
Renault gave Kubica a relaxed test in a 2012-spec F1 car last month, only for his performance to prompt the French manufacturer to give him a proper run earlier this week at Paul Ricard to assess his ability.
Abiteboul confirmed on Friday at Silverstone that Kubica’s second test had been successful, but did not want to get ahead of himself when discussing a possible racing return.
“We decided after the first test he’s done for fun just to get a feeling for a single-seater Formula 1 car, we decided to go one step further which is the other test that we’ve done in Paul Ricard this week,” Abiteboul told NBCSN.
“He has completed a lot of mileage, consistently, with lots of methodology, lots of enthusiasm as always with Robert.
“But one thing I don’t want is to get carried away by what we’ve done. There is a big step between doing a private test somewhere with an old car, a V8 that is turned down, and a modern car in a racing context. Let’s go step by step.”
Abiteboul did, however, concede that Kubica could be an option for Renault in an F1 race seat for 2018, but that more progress would need to be made.
“Robert is someone we could be envisaging for next year. It’s clear that we have to look at options for the future,” Abiteboul said.
“He could become one option for the future. It is not what is being discussed right now, so I don’t want to create more speculation than this.”
When asked what the next step in the plan with Kubica was, Abiteboul said: “No plan. It’s a bit too early.
“We need to look at the data from the last test and look at how we could be moving forward for next season, but there is plenty of time.”