Whilst Robert Kubica
now looks likely to remain on-board at the improving Renault
F1 in 2011, the Pole's manager has hinted that arguably this silly-season's hottest property will be more eagerly assessing his options for 2012.
Having seen potential openings at Ferrari
and Red Bull
Racing close before him with the confirmations earlier this month that Felipe Massa
and Mark Webber
are respectively both to be retained into another year, and with McLaren-Mercedes similarly going unchanged and Mercedes Grand Prix insisting it plans to keep the faith in struggling comeback king Michael Schumacher [see separate story – click here
], it seems Kubica has concluded that his best possibility now is to stay put.
Renault team principal Eric Boullier conceded over the weekend that he is 'optimistic' about hanging onto the services of his star performer for a second consecutive campaign – with Kubica having repeatedly punched above his weight this year in a car that is by general consensus not a match for the title-challengers – and that a deal is now 'nearly done'.
The 25-year-old is understood to have an 'option' in his current contract that will need taking up by 15 July if he wishes to remain at Enstone in 2011, and he confirmed in Valencia last weekend that 'very soon I will have to take my own decisions and then we will see'.
Meanwhile, Kubica's manager Daniele Morelli has told GP Week
that 'next year is not our focus any more, 2012 is' – with the smart money reputedly placing the Kraków native at Red Bull.