Tony O'Kane | Oct 18, 2011

Robert Kubica is still in the running to return to formula one with Renault in 2012.

Originally, team boss Eric Boullier imposed a rigid mid-October deadline for the injured Pole to let him know if he will be able to race next season.

That deadline has now passed, but Frenchman Boullier admitted in Korea that he has agreed to wait a little longer.

The new deadline is the "end of October", he is quoted by Germany's motorsport-total.com, "and maybe even longer."

It seems the deadline is a moving target.

"It also seems that way to me," smiled Boullier,

"but if Robert can go back to formula one, then I want him to drive for us. So I have to give him a chance.

"We will be flexible to the point where we cannot."

Boullier does not deny that a time will eventually come when he has to overlook Kubica for the good of the team.

"No, no, I will not act against the interests of the team," he insisted.

"If I see that something is going wrong with next year's driver lineup, we must make a decision."

Vitaly Petrov, Bruno Senna, Romain Grosjean, Rubens Barrichello and others are reportedly also all in the running to race for the team in 2012.

Boullier said in Japan recently that he intended to call Kubica in the next few days.

"I spoke with (his manager) Daniele Morelli," he revealed.

"They are very confident that Robert will return, which is good to hear."

Boullier said the 26-year-old is in the midst of his rehabilitation process but could be ready to sit in a driver simulator "perhaps within a month".

(GMM)

 

Alonso annoyed after media's interest in new wing

The interest in Ferrari's 2012 front wing in Korea left Fernando Alonso annoyed.

"I think it's to do with the team, not the journalists," La Gazzetta dello Sport quotes the Spaniard as saying in Korea, where his 150 Italia was fitted with the radical new wing.

Media reports analysed in detail the difference between the new and old wing and its performance in Korea relative to the regular specification driven by Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa.

"As I've said before, in these last four races we need to learn a lot about 2012," Alonso said.

"Gaining or losing a tenth is a very low priority at the end of this season compared to finding the direction for next year's car.

"We are working with a specific goal that is not easy for you (reporters) to understand," he added.

"I do not think the readers are interested to get up in the morning and read about three or four points of downforce, certain diameters -- I think they want to know who is fourth or fifth or whether you are working for the grand prix or the next year.

"The details seem very superficial to me."

On the radio towards the end of Sunday's Korean grand prix, Alonso was heard to tell his team "I give up" -- a call rarely heard from the double world champion.

Alonso insists his focus is on what will make the 2012 season better.

"I will come to work (in 2011) to gain experience for the things for next year," he is quoted by AS sports newspaper.

"We can try some experimental parts and also (experiment with) how to deal with the weekends."

The 30-year-old is currently third in the drivers' championship.

"If we can get one tenth (for the 2012 car) from the information and yet finish fifth in the championship, I would sign it now," insisted Alonso.

"No one expects us to come to India and have the pole and the win. Expect us to be fourth or fifth in qualifying and third, fourth or fifth in the race," he said.

(GMM)

 

Hamilton slams McLaren row rumours as mood improves

Second place improved Lewis Hamilton's mood in Korea, but not much.

The unshaved 2008 world champion was strangely miserable as he started from pole in Sunday's grand prix, but he at least managed some small smiles after finishing the race behind Sebastian Vettel.

His mood, however, had triggered some wild speculation, including that he has split with his girlfriend, joined the celebrity religion Scientology, or had a raging row with his McLaren bosses.

On the latter theory, Hamilton told reporters: "Whoever wrote that, it's a load of rubbish; I am very happy."

But he also admitted that a single second place was not going to completely brighten his misery after what he calls the "worst year" of his career.

"So if you expect me to be all happy-doolally after a race like that you're not going to hear it," said the 26-year-old.

On Monday, the British Mirror and Daily Mail tabloids are reporting that Hamilton is on the verge of splitting with his Pussycat Dolls girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.

But the British driver on Sunday indicated that it is the specialist motoring publications that worry him the most.

"Time will tell," Hamilton said when asked if his performance had "redeemed" him after a run of bad races.

"It depends what you guys write. It depends how people perceive how the race went, how my attitude is, how I behaved. I am sure it is a few brownie points that I scored.

"It's (about) positivity, positive stories, positive fans, it's standing on the podium smiling. It's that energy that you get that stays with you until the next race and then you do it again," he added.

(GMM)

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