16 January 2012
Alonso: Kubica will return - and still be the best
Fernando Alonso has tipped Robert Kubica to complete his return to F1 - and still be the best driver.
Fernando Alonso believes that Robert Kubica can make enough of a recovery from his latest injury setback to return to the cockpit of an F1 car, despite his recuperation from last year's rally accident has been extended.
The Pole, who has been mentioned as a possible team-mate for Alonso at Ferrari, reportedly slipped on ice at his home near Viareggio, breaking the same leg which required surgery after his accident on the Ronde di Andora last February. He was admitted to hospital following the fall and it was while there that Alonso caught up with him.
“I spoke with him yesterday after his accident," the Spaniard confirmed, "and wished him well for his recovery."
Kubica appeared poised for a strong 2011 campaign with the Lotus Renault team after impressing in pre-season testing, only for his rally accident to leave him with severe injuries to his right leg, arm and hand. He was making good, if slow, progress with his recovery, leading to suggestions that he may be able to test an F1 car ahead of the 2012 campaign, but now faces several further months on the sidelines.
Despite that, Alonso insists that Kubica deserves a chance to return to the top flight.
“For me, the best driver is Robert Kubica,” he claimed, "When he returns, which will surely be soon, I'm sure he will continue to be the best driver.”
Asked whether Kubica had been on schedule to test with Ferrari, tem principal Stefano Domenicali insisted that there had been no plans in place to run the Pole, even before news of his latest injury broke.
"That was not on our plan," Domenicali told journalists at last week's Wrooom media event, "For sure Robert Kubica is a great driver that had a very severe injuries and, at the moment, he is still working very hard to try to go back to his normal living. So, before any kind of thinking or discussion of whatever could be, we need to wait and see. For sure, that kind of injury is taking a long time to recover so I can say we will wait and see if he is going to recover, but at the moment there is nothing in place."
Ferrari continues with the pairing of Alonso and Felipe Massa in 2012, but the Brazilian's seat is expected to go elsewhere unless he produces an upturn in form this year. Kubica has been mentioned as a potential candidate, but could face opposition from the likes of Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg and even Ferrari protégé Jules Bianchi.
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