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Renault plan for the future, but does the future include Kubica? // A review of Robert's results and his chances at Renault

Published by Christine

Renault boss Éric Boullier was talking to Autosport recently and revealed some insights into their plans for the future. Still on the road to recovery from the 2009 scandals, the team are keen to stick with Robert Kubica, who has become something of a star driver at Enstone.

We definitely want him and we have spoken - and it is up to us to show that we have the ambition and the means to be ambitious. If we do that, then I am sure he will stay. If he doesn't want to stay then he will leave, it is as simple as that.

- Éric Boullier

Other rumours and reports suggest that Kubica would be happy to stay with them if they have the funding, but perhaps there are other teams interested in snapping him up. Mercedes has been a name particularly associated with the Pole.

When I first read about this, I brushed past the news. It wasn't a surprising item, and it came in the middle of an Alonso shaped storm that was dominating the F1 conversation. The driver market never stops but if you're just talking about keeping who you've already got, it's not really headline news. Now that I've had a moment to think about it, though, it is an interesting story.

It's something of a surprise to first of all find a team desperate to prove themselves to their driver, to try and keep them interested. It is usually the other way round. Then, you have to take into account that the driver is Kubica. Of all the things I was expecting this year, the emergence of Kub as the real face of Renault was a surprise. He's not exactly the most marketable chap, seeming to be likeable but quiet, funny but perhaps a bit awkward. All I could really tell you about him is that he plays poker, and that gets old pretty quickly.

Way back when BMW were still around, they were "the consistent team". Not quite good enough but so close. Heidfeld was always in the points, Kubica could be relied upon to find the podium wherever possible. It wasn't possible very often, but the pair of them made BMW a constant.

Heidfeld didn't get a race seat in 2010, but Kubica became the lead driver of a brand new Renault. The blue and yellow of old was gone, the management and drivers were all changed, and it was to Robert the baton was handed. How often have you heard from Petrov so far this year? It's all about the tall Polish fellow, both on and off track.

2010 Qualifying Results - Renault
RaceKubicaPetrov
Bahrain917
Australia918
Malaysia611
China814
Spain719
Monaco214
Turkey79
Canada814
Europe610

You can't always expect greatness from a rookie, and Petrov does seem to be catching up to his teammate, slowly but surely. Unfortunately for Vitaly, he's faded into the distance against Robert's consistent finishes. Twice on the podium already this year, six races ending with points, plus Bahrain, in which he finished just outside of them.

It is no wonder the team are keen to keep their hands on him. He's almost single-handedly helping them stay afloat.

He's proved himself to be good, reliable and with great potential, but this feels like something of a turning point for him. BMW couldn't provide him with the support he needed, even with their step by step plan. Is Renault a good fit for him to stay? And would the team be able to regain their Alonso-style momentum with the Pole at the helm?