Reports over the weekend suggest that former F1 star Robert Kubica is starting to eye up a return to motorsport, after an 18 month lay-off following serious injuries sustained in a rallying accident in Italy prior to the start of the 2011 F1 season.
Motorsports journalist Joe Saward writes that the Polish driver recently took part in a "secret test" with the WRC Ford factory team, behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta rally car at the little-known Circuit des Ecuyers test track near the French town of Château-Thierry.
The team would not confirm Kubica's presence at the tests, and official information merely states that "a mystery driver, who did not wish to have any publicity about the relationship" worked alongside the team's regular drivers Petter Solberg and Jari-Matti Latvala at the twisty two-mile track.
The team's technical director Christian Loriaux added that the mystery driver had been "a guy with great experience on asphalt." He added that the driver in question had "came at his own expense, he worked with passion and has given us valuable feedback."
Little definite is known of Kubica's current medical condition, and the outlook for if or when he will be able to return to competitive driving in the future remains uncertain. Loriaux even seemed to stoke the speculation about the mystery driver being Kubica when he suggested that the person in question hadn't been sure about their own ability to handle the physical side of the driving.
"But in the end everything went well," insisted Loriaux, who is said by French media reports to have let slip about Kubica's involvement with Ford's WRC team behind the scenes while at Rally Germany this weekend.
The speculation further suggested that provided his physical recovery allows it, Kubica might be being lined up as a potential replacement for Latvala, who is rumoured to be leaving Ford for Volkswagen in 2013.
However there was no official confirmation from Ford's WRC team of any such plans, or even that Kubica had been involved in helping the team in any capacity over the recent months - let alone that he has any intention to try and forge a new career in rallying in the future.
While the rumours may ultimately prove be more a case of hope over reality, it would certainly be welcome news to his many fans if it was confirmed that Kubica was indeed on the comeback trail and looking to return to competition in some form in the coming months.