Eric Boullier, Renault, Nurburgring, 2011

Eric Boullier: October deadline for Kubica?s seat

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In today’s round-up: the Renault boss sets a deadline for keeping a seat open for Robert Kubica next year.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Renault sets mid-October deadline for Kubica’s seat (Autosport)

??Renault has set a mid-October deadline for keeping a seat open for Robert Kubica next year, with the team keen to know its 2012 driver line-up as soon as possible.??

Formula 1 testing plans for 2012 officially signed off (Autosport)

??Formula 1 teams have now officially signed off next year’s testing plans, AUTOSPORT has learned, confirming that Mugello will host the single 2012 in-season test next May.??

Italian Grand Prix from the pit lane (BBC F1)

??BBC F1 reporter Ted Kravitz brings you the inside line from the paddock after Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel wins the 2011 Italian Grand Prix.??

Liuzzi handed five-place grid penalty for Singapore (

??HRT?s Vitantonio Liuzzi has been penalised by the Italian race stewards following his accident at the start of Sunday?s Monza race. Liuzzi receives a five-place grid penalty for the next round in Singapore.??

Heikki Kovalainen on Twitter

??Fun race today, chaos at the start but brought it home, some good stuff to take away from today to the next race. Off to Norwich now!

??I see Liuzzi blaming for accident, he should look the video and also read the report from stewards before making any comment.??

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

Lewis Hamilton says he needs to do an ‘even better job’ (The Guardian)

??Lewis Hamilton has admitted he must up his game if he is to finish in front of his team-mate Jenson Button on points by the end of the season. Before the Italian Grand Prix he is fifth in the championship, three points behind Button, but he starts ahead of him on the front row alongside Sebastian Vettel with Button in third place on the grid.??

Renault Formula 1 team makes ??34m loss (The Guardian)

??The Renault Formula 1 team made a ??34.3m net loss in 2010, the French car manufacturer’s last year as an F1 owner, according to its latest accounts.??

Montezemolo: No change at the top for Ferrari (Ferrari)

??Asked if any changes were planned within the team the President had this to say: ??As you know, I have for a long time supported the idea of dynamic stability, which means that while one can always change some pawns, the front line is covered and it?s working very well.???

@TheFifthDriver on Twitter

??Hmmmm, what’s going on here? Seems like someone is preparing for a visit from @JensonButton tomorrow!

??Jenson Button is taking to the streets of Roggel with Vodafone, check out

??It?s a ticketed event, so please don’t arrive tomorrow without a ticket, however you can watch the action on The car runs will be at around 1300 and 1340 UK time on Monday, tune in to watch Jenson Button on a very different kind of circuit!??

Ron Howard on Twitter

??Shooting camera and rigging tests and stealing shots at Historic Formula One races at Nurburgring. These people are cool

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

What did you think of the race result today? Atticus says:

I really liked the podium. There was so much feeling to it.

Vettel has just realized what it gives to win at such an historic place as Monza. All the passion the crowd gives to you ?ǣ even if you are not the main target of their affection.

Alonso of course knew the feeling all too well, this could have been such a motivation for him to keep that final podium spot ?ǣ which he wouldn?t have been able to do without Michael?s aid nevertheless. He has done so well, again giving his all, making no mistake. Knew the crowd, knew it liked him, and acted wonderfully on the podium ?ǣ taking a bow, spraying champagne, throwing hat, etc.

It was the most passionate podium of the year.

From the forum

2011 Italian Grand Prix Awards

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Mark and Striay!

On this day in F1

Ronnie Peterson was the victor in a deeply controversial Italian Grand Prix at Monza on this day in 1976.

Both McLarens and John Watson’s Penske were stripped of their Saturday qualifying times in a dispute over the legality of their fuel.

Meanwhile Niki Lauda had returned to the cockpit of his Ferrari despite having suffered life-threatening injuries six weeks earlier at the Nurburgring.

He brought his car home fourth behind Clay Regazonni and Jacques Laffite. Hunt, who had been demoted to 25th on the grid, spun out after 11 laps.

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  • 69 comments on “Eric Boullier: October deadline for Kubica?s seat”

    1. that could really muck up Liuzzi’s strategy starting from so far back…oh, wait…

      1. How do you penalise a back marker? perhaps a fine would have been more appropriate in this circumstance…

        1. Either paint more lines, or another set of starting lights at turn 10 I reckon.

          1. He should have to start from the pitlane.

            1. I think it’s just the FIA showing consistency. Making him start from the pitlane is pushing it a bit, so I think it’s the right decision.

              But I have a question; if you qualify last and then have a 5 place grid penalty, do you get put back 5 places further (5 empty slots, that is)? It would seem the most sensible way around it, if you ask me.

            2. Oops, just realised someone asked that very question below. Ignore! :)

    2. Liuzzi’s start was shocking. He said he passed all of the “slow cars” and tried to overtake one more (what for, really??), and someone blocked him so he lost control.

      It was easy to see on the telly that he just overtooked it… by a looong loong way! He was going like a so much faster than the rest of the pack. For someone who was enjoying his 75th start (and worst of all, an Italian), he should know Monza’s first chicane is very tight and everyoen brakes quite early.

      Why on earth he tried to do an Alonso (from way behind in a HRT… and being Liuzzi not FA) is beyond me.

      1. I like “do an Alonso”

      2. It really was hilariously shocking driving. Liuzzi has never made a bigger impact on a race.

        1. Hey what better place to make an impact than on his home GP xP

          1. Must have been his thoughts exactly. And he got a lot of coverage for the HRT, didn’t he!

            1. …and nearly killed two other drivers, but hey! :P

            2. Honestly, I don’t recall either of them needing to go to medical, let alone the hospital…

    3. I do wonder if a driver has a grid penalty weather it should be taken literally. Lets say a driver qualifies 21st but has a 5 grid penalty. Should they be made to start from the 26th grid slot painted on the track?

      The thought only really occurred to me because in Liuzzi’s case whenever will that HRT ever be any higher than the last two rows?

      1. Of course the stewards might have been taking that into account when they handed the penalty out.

      2. They’d choose to start from the pitlane if it was the case.

        But I like your idea! I’d love to see someone getting a 10 place grid penalty before Monaco, qualy last and then start from the harbour!

      3. He will have to start behind any cars that fail to set a time, doesn’t he? That is, if he even bothers with doing qualifying now.

        1. If he doesn’t qualify, how will he prove he is inside the 107%?

          1. He will use his times in Practise 3. Stewards are allowed to extrapolate from any relevant data if force majuere prevents a representative time from being set in Practise 3.

    4. I couldn’t help but chuckle at Ted having a dig at Eddie Irvine after swearing his face off on his video! Good on him :D

      1. yeah that was wonderfull eternal love for the one ted

      2. Liked that as well.

      3. Ted for man of the weekend there. No sycophantic repetition from Mr Kravitz! (Jake take note)

    5. A cynic might argue that HRT deliberately ordered Liuzzi to cause a big shunt at the start in order to ensure airtime for the sponsors.

      Which is why the FIA & FOM should consider my proposal: Only teams that have scored points will get their cars shown on camera during the race. In the event they are in the same shot as championship scoring teams, their car shall be blurred out.

      1. I don’t think the technology exists to do so reliably for live TV. Also, everyone gets funding from TV income, so realistically everyone would have to take the responsibility of being seen on TV to balance that right.

        1. Tom your suggestion of motorsport fascism is quite offensive

    6. Petrov’s seat is secured. If Kubica can’t race F1 car anymore, who would? Romain or Bruno…I’m satisfied by Bruno’s drive yesterday though it’s not enough for his name still done well. Romain has more experience. Eric should let him drive at least one race. of course Bruno has sponsors so it would hurt Romain if he can’t show upper hand.

      Whoever choose, it would be shame we can’t see Kubica again. Also I have to say Renault’s championship project is over without Kubica unless they made 2002 Ferrari or 2010 Redbull.

      1. As Senna is a pay driver as well, they could get rid of Petrov and get Grosjean in. This seams unlikely though, and I think Senna is just a substitute for Heidfeld and that Grosjean will take his seat next year.
        Renault are wrong in setting a deadline so early, Robert won’t have time to recover. He should be already driving on Fridays to see if in October his performances will be satisfying, but he is nowhere near a racing car. Renault may be eyeing Grosjean as a future star and give Kubica an early deadline knowing he won’t pass it.

    7. uhoh. A day after my rant abuot kubica’s manager, we see this from Boullier.

      Cue Kubica’s manager making claims Robert will definitely be fine by then

      1. To be honest, that was what his interview was about yesterday already. He said Kubica was allright and could be race ready even by Brazil, but it was not in the interest of either the team nor Kubica to push that much.

    8. I reckon Kubica may end up partnering Alonso ( depending on his physical and mental status ! )! But then where is Massa going ? Reserve driver for ferrari ? Will he take a year break from f1? Will he go to Mercedes ( if Michael leaves) or force India ( if Sutil leaves ) ?

      1. If Kubica is 1) not recovered enough to drive a car in 2012, 2) recovered enough to drive in 2013, it can be happened.

        Speaking of Massa, I think Mercedes chance is quite slim because there’s di Resta. Force India is more likely still it’s too far future.

      2. Kubica is very talented, but the teams don’t want him right now. Not Ferrari, not even Renault. He’s a mystery, and they don’t like that. I think they are setting the deadline to mid-October, because they want to get rid of Robert. Possibly because they want to start negotiations with one of the established drivers, or because they are pressured by their sponsors.

        1. I think it is good for Kubica and the team, not to mention Senna and Grosjean, to know how far and fast they can be by Oktober.

          If he can’t do it, he needs to change gear and plan for next year, and so do the team – better to know it now than to wait until the last moment. And if he can, well, all the better, everyone can get to work with that knowledge.

          1. make that “he can be” (Kubica), sorry.

      3. There are so many drivers linked to Ferrari – Rosberg, Kubica, Vettel, even Webber and Button. Where will Ferrari’s young drivers (Perez and Bianchi) go if after Massa there will be one of those drivers?

    9. I thought that Renault have Kubica for 2012? & I don’t think he is in a situation where he can tell himself that he is 100% ready for 2012 race seat.I think pressure been created from sponsors from Brazil & Russia.It will be very sad if they drop of Kubica.

      As far as Vitantonio Liuzzi is concerned that penalty is justified.

      1. Not only very sad but very dumb as well.
        Compared to the other drivers at there disposal Kubica is significantly quicker.

        If I was Boullier I’d have promised Kubica the Seat when and where he wants it.

        The last thing Renault need is to lose Kubica.

        1. He did originaly but someones money has been talking i guess.

        2. Not only very sad but very dumb as well.
          Compared to the other drivers at there disposal Kubica is significantly quicker.

          We don’t know if he’ll still be that way though. He almost lost a hand, even for an F1 driver that’s going to put you back more than the year you’ve missed. It would be a wonderful story for Kubica to come back as good as new but I wish some would stop letting their wishful thinking and sentimentality dictate this issue. Look at Ferrari for example, bet they wish they’d kept Kimi now.

    10. I hope Bobis ok by October to keep his seat, but a deadline that soon may be asking too much. Not liking that Mr. Boullier..

      1. Renault have to know if Kubica is fit as soon as possible. They can’t afford to wait much longer, because if they do and they find that Kubica cannot race, they’ll be stuck with an empty seat. The likes of Senna and Grosjean aren’t going to wait forever; if they feel Renault is waiting around for too long, they’ll look elsewhere. Renault have to take the best two drivers available, which may or may not include Robert Kubica.

        1. If their current driver line-up is anything to go by, then Boullier is not interested in having “the best two drivers available”. I know that’s a bit harsh, but there are things under consideration, other than experience, skill and speed. To me it looks like Renault is between a rock and a hard place. Robert is a big question mark. Next year he can be brilliant, or he can be absolute crap, and unfortunately there is no way to determine that before mid-October.

          There’s no way to verify that before the start of the season, so they want to eliminate that uncertainty by eliminating Robert from the equation. I don’t know if that’s the right decision, but I can understand why they want to do it.

          1. The more I read about this, the more I realise just how terrible this accident has been for Kubica’s career. The fact that it’s not out of the question that he might be without a seat next year is very telling. Even if he is fit and Renault choose not to pick him up, he’ll probably end up somewhere like HRT or Virgin, which isn’t where you want to be if you’re trying to get back to where you were. Take a look at Glock, for example. He’s a very quick driver, but he doesn’t seem to attract much attention from other teams nowadays, and seems to be stuck at Virgin forever.

            1. I’m feeling more and more that the best driver on the grid as of the end of last year, will not be able to come back to F1 after all.

              The guy was one awesome talent just screaming out for a top team/car and he would have shown the way to the rest.

              Hopefully I am wrong and he does make it back.

            2. At this rate I can see him doing a Liuzzi/Hulkenburg and take the Force India reserve seat due to opportunism, with a view to taking a FIF1 race seat the year after that. I just hope that if it happens Vijay checks there’s a vacancy before formalising the arrangement…

    11. I have for a long time supported the idea of dynamic stability, which means that while one can always change some pawns

      I’ve never been the type to “Luca Bash” but did he just call his own staff pawns… on their official website?

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        12th September 2011, 11:09

        Nice point!
        How would it feel for your boss to describe you as a pawn? Valued, appreciated . . . noticed?

    12. Surprised no one took up Ron Howard’s tweet in the comments. It looks like the Lauda-Hunt rivalry movie is really going to happen if he’s been going to the revival races and testing out some shots there.

      1. Really does look like it. Lets just hope Howard manages to make another great film out of it.

        1. I’m quite excited about it and I really hope it inspires me to look more into the history of F1. :)

    13. I’m really surprised (and disappointed) by Boullier’s October deadline. Robert has only just undergone his final surgery, and within a month he has to prove his worth?

      I think there is plenty of time to go looking for a driver alongside Petrov in December. Really, where are Senna and Grosjean going to go? And anyway, there’s always still Heidfeld…

      Or more seriously, Bianchi (also French), Hulkenberg, Liuzzi, etc. No shortages of candidates for a midfield F1 team!

      1. I also think that this deadline isn’t realistic. To me it’s an indication that they want to get rid of uncertainty as soon as possible. But why? After all there are young and talented drivers available, like Grosjean or Hulkenberg.

        Well, I think they are looking for an established driver (and they won’t hire Heidfeld again). I guess they want to secure someone who’s currently driving for another team, so the negotiations must start as soon as possible.

    14. Here’s a link to Ted Kravitz pit talk for non UK readers.

      Happy birthday to Mark and Striay, wisdom comes with Age, or so they say.

      1. Thanks for that link. Brilliant Ted on Irvine’s confusion with gimmicks. But Irvine is right that Mclaren missed a trick in getting a good set up (or maybe if they both had just started well …).

      2. Thanks Bas.

        And yes, a big happy birthday to you both! I haven’t been checking the birthdays lately, so I must get back into the habit. Have a great day guys!

    15. F1 is a ruthless business, Kubica is goine and always was gone since the accident; Renault just did what everyone else would have at the time for good publicity and said they would keep his seat……….but they wont and no-one in F1 would

      1. I don’t know. I think it will be up to a final shootout session between all drivers. If Renault want to be a winning team, a top team, they should give Robert a chance to prove he’s fit. I have to admit I never was a big fan of Robert Kubica, but last year he was a very pleasant surprise, and he did provide some stellar performances: Monaco, for example.

        Obviously, he was all to blame for going rallying in the off season. It can be in his blood, but its the pinnacle of motorsport, there are hundreds of potential racers wanting a spot in the F1 grid, some as talented or even more, but never have the chance to show their worth. One driver I would really love to see get a chance is Edoardo Mortara. He’s already the best rookie in DTM after winning the Euro F3 series and twice (a record) the Macau Grand Prix, which I use to benchmark the talent of the new drivers- Kobayashi, Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Schumacher, etc. all impressed in a way or another in Macau. Kubica was also very strong in that demanding street circuit.

    16. Is Boullier saying an October deadline for him to set competitive lap times in the simulator, to say “yes” or “no” for 2012, or what?

      1. I’m guessing end of October to have evidence that Kubica can be ready for the start (or possibly almost the start) of 2012’s racing season. Robert has contract for 2012 but if he’s not fit to race then he may have been away from work long enough for Eric to declare the contract void through sick leave being too extended.

        1. I just had another look at what Kubica’s manager said a few days back, and this seems to fall perferctly in line with what Boullier says.
          Kubica’s manager mentioned getting Kubica in a car (he said “put his helmet on”) at the middle of October, so that would fit.

    17. The fact Renault are giving Kubica what seems to be an unreasonable deadline suggests to me that they’re very eager to re-sign Senna. He’s brought a lot of money in from what I’ve read, and the fact they’ve recently lost so much would suggest they’re looking for pay-drivers. That’s not to say Senna is a pay-driver (well, he is to an extent), because I think he showed good pace on the weekend and I think that he’s a future race winner. I hope he is, anyway, as he seems such a nice bloke and not a bad driver at all.

      As for Lewis, well, I think it’d be best for him if he just forgot about the championship this year and worked on his driving. Perhaps he should try some different approaches in the remaining races and see what works best. I don’t think he should change his aggressive style, but you can’t deny it has cost him a lot this year.

      And very exciting stuff about the Ron Howard movie! I’m quite looking forward to this, although I still haven’t seen Senna…

      1. This is a perfect opportunity for Hamilton to try a few different things, like you say. No one could forgive him for changing his style completely (I doubt anyone really wants him to) but it does give him a great chance to hone in on his talent but also, how to control it.

    18. “The Renault Formula 1 team made a £34.3m net loss in 2010, the French car manufacturer’s last year as an F1 owner, according to its latest accounts.”

      Good news everyone, I am more successful then Renault F1, because I’ve not lost 34mil.


      1. I like your way of thinking…

        1. Logic at its finest Mr Smedley!

    19. The Indian GP organisers are now showing off their readyness by posting pictures of the track being “ready” this saturday on their twitter feed:!/Indian_GP

    20. Not wanting to do any promotion of products, but a lot of people have been asking.

      I saw the Senna film is now offered on sale from about 18 GPB for a DVD (and a bit more for the blue ray version.) at Duke – the same guys who provide some of the nice prizes for the predictions championship.

      Nice gimmick is the special collectors edition set with a Lotus 97 model included! (but the price is a tad more hefty :-( )

      1. Thanks for that. I’ll have a look when i’m next at the shops.

    Comments are closed.