Robert Kubica's manager has denied the Pole will not be ready to race at the start of the 2012 Formula 1 season, claiming he is hoping the driver can start the year.
On Wednesday, Lotus Renault GP issued a statement in which it said Kubica will miss the start of next year's season as he will not be ready following his dramatic accident in a rally car earlier this year.
"Even if I've been working very, very hard over the course of the last few weeks, I came to the conclusion that I am not yet certain to be ready for the 2012 season. I have called the team and I have informed them of the situation," Kubica said.
On Thursday, however, his manager Daniele Morelli (ABOVE) said it is not true Kubica has ruled out being back for the start of the season, instead claiming he only said he is uncertain he can be ready for the first preseason tests. Morelli also said Kubica's current contract expires at the end of this year and not at the end of 2012 as claimed by Renault, which said it was in talks with Kubica's management over the possibility of extending it until 2013.
"I don't understand why Renault has changed Robert's words," Morelli told Gazzetta dello Sport. "It's not true he won't be ready for 2012: he stated he doesn't have certainty that he will be in shape for the first tests in February.
"We count on and hope to be ready, but in any case the delay will be a few months, 2013 was never mentioned. Renault will go its way with regards to the drivers, while we will look for alternative solutions.
"[The contract] does not extend to 2012, it ends at the end of December, so from the first of January will we be free to go in whatever direction."
Morelli is also convinced that if Kubica returns to Formula 1 he will be as strong as he was before.
"Plans have gone out of the window, but if Robert comes back that's because he will be competitive like before and attractive for the top teams," he said. "He is a bit overweight, but his right leg is almost the same as the left one muscle-wise. His elbow's external brace will be removed on Tuesday, so from that point on he will be free from that scrap metal.
"The hand's sensitivity is OK, the only limit is strength: the forearm's muscles have been immobilized for a long time so there's a lot of work to do, but it's a matter of time, by the end of January the strength should be adequate."
He also said Kubica will return to the wheel gradually and ruled out testing with a kart to begin with.
"Not with a kart, because it's too extreme vibration-wise and for the lack of power steering. We'll start gradually and we'll see the responses after almost a year of inactivity. Robert is charged up: the tough times were in September/October, when the forearm's rotation was limited and progress wasn't so quick. But in the last month there's been a nice acceleration."