Daniele Morelli, Robert Kubica's manager, has denied that the Pole won't be able to start the 2012 F1 season and insisted he is hopeful that the driver will be fit in time for the Australian Grand Prix.
Renault issued a statement on Wednesday morning in which Kubica was quoted as saying he would miss the start of the year, with the team insisting it was still 100 per cent behind the driver and was keen to discuss extending his contract into the 2013 season [See separate story HERE
However, in a new twist, Morelli has insisted that Kubica never told the team he wouldn't be fit for the start of the season and had only said he wasn't sure if he would be able to conduct the opening pre-season test sessions.
Morelli also said that Renault's claim that contract talks to extend Kubica's deal into 2013 were also incorrect, with his current deal actually coming to an end at the end of the current campaign.
"I don't understand why Renault
has changed Robert's words," Morelli told Gazzetta dello Sport
. "It's not true he won't be ready for 2012: he stated he doesn't have certainty that he will be in shape for the first tests in February.
"We count on and hope to be ready, but in any case the delay will be a few months, 2013 was never mentioned. Renault
will go its way with regards to the drivers, while we will look for alternative solutions.
"[His contract] does not extend to 2012, it ends at the end of December, so from 1st January will we be free to go in whatever direction."