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Liuzzi plays down Kubica replacement talk

Out-of-work Tonio Liuzzi has said that the time is not yet right to consider offering his services to Lotus Renault GP.
Vitantonio Liuzzi has said that there are more important things than discussing whether he would consider stepping into the breach at Lotus Renault GP, despite having been listed as a possible replacement for the injured Robert Kubica.

The Italian, who faces a year on the F1 sidelines unless he can find a budget to entice HRT into giving a seat, is among several comparative veterans who have been touted as better alternatives to the inexperienced Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean when Lotus Renault comes to naming a replacement for Kubica, who was badly injured in a rally accident in Italy on Sunday. Erstwhile Sauber drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Nick Heidfeld head the list, while other names, including Christian Klien and Kimi Raikkonen, have also been bandied about, even though team boss Eric Boullier insists that he will not be rushed into a decision.

"He is definitely out for a couple of months," Boullier accepted, "The recovery will be quicker than one year, but it is a bit early to know exactly how long he will need. We are already starting to think, and work, on a contingency plan, but we don't know yet. We are actually waiting to know how long [Kubica's recovery] will take because, if it is a short-term replacement, we will take one of our reserve drivers. If he has to be longer, we may have to consider different options."

Liuzzi was among a number of drivers to try and visit Kubica at Santa Corona hospital in Pietra Ligure, although the Pole remains sedated in an effort to expedite the healing process following seven hours of surgery on Sunday night.

"Sincerely, I haven't come in yet and I didn't see him personally, but I spoke to the doctors, his manager and [Lotus Renault GP's] Dr Ceccarelli - the people who are
closest to him and who saw him," the Italian commented, "It seems that everything is going the right way and he is recovering right. For sure, the first 4-5 days will be the most critical ones but, at the moment, everything seems to go well. Tonight or tomorrow, I think I will be able to see him."

Asked whether he had considered offering himself as a stand-in at Lotus Renault, one of the dark horses for success in 2011 following last week's opening test in Valencia, Liuzzi insisted that it was too early to even think about that side of the situation.

"A lot of people talked about this - not the team, but a lot of journalists," he told 422race.com, "Personally, at the moment, I think Robert's health is the first thing. Then, it's obvious that, when Renault should be sure that Robert won't be able to step in the car, this chance might be open and I hope to be chosen instead of somebody else. But, again, at the moment Robert's health is the priority."

Williams rookie Pastor Maldonado also visited Kubica, and had more success in speaking to his rival than Liuzzi.

"I found him well," the Venezuelan reported, "Of course, he had had surgery and now we need to wait. He didn't tell me anything special, apart from that he's quite well. Now we should give him the time to recover, but he's calm.

"I spoke to his management as well and we said that it's important for us to be close to him, in moments like this. We are all with him. Unfortunately these are things that happen."

Related Pictures

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Pastor Maldonado (VEN), AT&T Williams
Robert Kubica (POL), Lotus Renault GP, R31
Robert Kubica (POL), Lotus Renault GP, R31
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