Renault won't give Palmer race seat to Kubica

Renault rules out handing Palmer race seat to Kubica
© XPB 

Just in case the message wasn't clear before, Renault's Cyril Abiteboul insisted once again that Jolyon Palmer's seat is safe, denying Robert Kubica a chance of a race opportunity this season.

As Renault continues to evaluate Kubica, the French outfit has handed the Pole a day of running in the its 2017-spec car next week at the post-GP Hungaroring test.

But Abiteboul dismissed any intention of Kubica replacing Joyon Palmer, regardless of how he performs in his third and most important comeback test.

"We continue to support Jo – and there is absolutely no change of plan," Abiteboul told ahead of the Hungarian GP weekend.

"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.

"The last opportunity to at least do the test in a modern F1 car was the Hungary test, and we are taking that opportunity. But that is really something that is more medium- to long-term.

"It is not a short-term plan and it is not a short-term option to do anything with our driver line-up."

While keen on evaluating Kubica, Abiteboul insists a strong performance next week won't necessarily put him on Renaul's 2018 shortlist.

"Robert could be a candidate for 2018 but before we can really consider him as a candidate, it is more that we need to look – and in particular we need to see how he will cope with cars with more downforce and with more power, because clearly the car he has been driving up until now is not representative. 

"Frankly, even if he does well, it does not mean immediately that we will decide to go for him for 2018 because there is more we need to look into."

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