Lotus Renault GP boss Eric Boullier plans to speak to Robert Kubica this week to find out the latest on his recovery, so he can begin to make a decision on whether or not he needs to find a replacement driver for 2012.
Boullier has made it clear that a seat will be left open for Kubica if the Polish driver is fit enough to race again next year. However, he has also said that he needs a definite answer on the matter imminently so the team is not left hanging on for months – which could hurt its chances of finding the kind of top-line driver it needs if Kubica cannot return.
Boullier said that he wanted to move toward working out what the team's plans were going to be in the next few days, which is why he wants to get news from Kubica himself.
"I am going to make a call this week to see where he stands and then to start planning something," said Boullier. "I've no idea how quick we can make a decision. This is not a normal process – there is no normal process. We need to meet, we need to speak, we need to test, and there is the matter of everything he needs to do and everything we need to do as well."
The team's options in case Kubica cannot return are limited, as Boullier wants a clear number one driver to base his squad's future ambitions around. Rubens Barrichello is the only current race-winning driver who is available for next year, although he is coming toward the end of his career so would not be a long-term solution. The team could take a gamble on a young driver like Bruno Senna or its third driver Romain Grosjean, or try and secure a talented youngster like Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg, who do not yet have firm deals at Force India for 2012.