Renault paid Kubica in 2011 says Lopez
3 October, 2011
Oct.3 (GMM) Robert Kubica was paid a salary by Renault in 2011, team owner Gerard Lopez has revealed, despite missing out on the season due to injury.
His comments to Auto Motor und Sport follow reports that the Enstone based team may be happier to choose between Vitaly Petrov, Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean for next season’s lineup.
Genii’s Lopez however said that with injured Pole Kubica nearing recovery from his horror rally crash injuries, it is wrong to suggest Renault prefers pay-drivers.
“If Robert is on the market then of course we will take him,” he said. “Our commercial model requires success on the tracks.
“Also we paid Robert’s salary this year, although he drove no races with us.”
Last week, some media reports suggested team boss Eric Boullier was firm with an end-of-October deadline, even though Kubica may only be ready to decide his comeback for 2012 some weeks later.
“We will look at the matter at the beginning of November,” Lopez clarifies. “Robert will have a car to show us what he can do.
“The data analysis is now so good that you can see with another car whether he is physically able to return.”
As for paddock suggestions that Genii is running Renault more as a business rather than a racing team looking for results, Lopez firmly denied it.
And the rumours about being late in engine payments to Renault Sport F1?: “We have paid every bill on time,” he insisted.
“We have increased the team from 480 to 520 employees, we have expanded the wind tunnel from 50 to 60 per cent and are about to install a new simulator. These are not things you do if you only have the business in mind.”