F1: Renault Deny Kubica Test Will Lead To 2017 Race Seat
After the Hungarian Grand Prix one of this year's rare F1 test sessions will take place and the Renault team will be using the two days to evaluate the readiness of Robert Kubica to make his return to the sport.
If the test goes well common sense would dictate getting Kubica into a race seat as soon as possible. So I find it strange that Renault are publicly backing underperforming number two driver Jolyon Palmer. I can only assume that this is to avoid damaging Palmer's confidence ahead of this weekend's race.
Putting Kubica into the car after the summer break, which follows the Hungarian test session, works on many levels.
Firstly giving the Pole an extended 'test' window in which to hone and refine his technique with the new cars. That would be a half-season of testing gained for free and set the team up nicely for 2018.
On the other hand, if Kubica struggles and is unable to meet the demands of modern F1 with his injured arm then the team still has time to continue to negotiate with Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez, both of whom are keen to grab a seat for next season.
The only reason why Renault might choose not to put Kubica in the car for 2017 would be if the Hungarian test goes badly - and in that case it would be sensible to give its reserve driver Sergei Sorotkin an opportunity to prove himself in a race car.
In either case it seems that Jolyon Palmer's days at Renault are numbered.