Lotus Renault GP team principal Eric Boullier is willing to give Robert Kubica more time to prove his fitness for a possible Formula 1 return next season.
The Frenchman spoke with Kubica's manager Daniele Morelli this week for an update on the Pole's progress. Boullier had previously given him a deadline of mid-October, which was subsequently pushed back to the end of the month. Now, he is willing to extend that deadline to give Kubica every chance to prove that he will be fit enough to attempt a comeback.
"Maybe a little further," said Boullier when asked whether he will make a decision at the end of the month. "If I can wait a little bit longer, I will maybe have to because he's not fully ready and I want him to be in a fair situation to make sure he will be back.
"I spoke to Daniele Morelli and they are very confident that Robert will be back, which is nice to hear. We still have to go through some processes so he is basically fighting against time. If Robert can driver a Formula 1 car, I want him to be with us so I have to give him a chance. It's up to me to be flexible."
Boullier admitted that there is a limit to how long he can hold on as if he pushes the deadline back too far and Kubica cannot return, it could jeopardize Renault's 2012 campaign.
This means that he is unlikely to delay much later than mid-November, when time will be running out to make alternative arrangements.
"I need not to go against the interests of this team, so if I can see anything going wrong with next year's driver lineup, I will have to take a decision," he said.
Kubica has yet to attempt a simulator test as the first step in assessing his ability to drive an F1 car. Originally, it was hoped that he would be able to do so as early as late September. But based on the latest updates Boullier now estimates that "maybe within a month he can do it."