Alan Permane said Robert Kubica was well prepared for his first Formula 1 test since his career-threatening rally crash in 2011 when he took to the track at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia two weeks ago, and showed great speed right from the off.
The Polish driver completed 115-laps in a Lotus E20 in 2017 Renault colours, and Permane, the trackside operations director of the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team, insisted he had no doubts that Kubica would be quick, but there were doubts about whether he would face any limitations in the car.
“I had no doubt on his pace, ever, at all,” said Permane to Polish outlet Eleven Sports. “I did not know, and I don’t think he knew, whether he would be able to drive physically – and, more than that, be able to drive a lot.
“He‘s driven some things. He’s driven simulators, he’s driven a GP3 car earlier this year in preparation for this, but we didn‘t really know what his limitations would be. And, honestly, it went very well.
“He was quick. He did some long runs, he did some short runs, he did qualifying, we did race simulations and it all went very well.”
Permane believes that the pace Kubica showed during the test indicates he could make a viable attempt at a Formula 1 comeback, which would be greatly received by his fans around the globe.
“From what I’ve seen from the statistics, from the data, the pace is there,” said Permane. “That’s for sure.
“All I would say is on that Tuesday in Valencia he done a fantastic job. There are many other circuits, and whether he has physical limitations on those, only he knows at the moment. If it needs to go any further, that would be the next step.”
Whilst at present the test is thought to be a one-off, Permane feels there is scope to test again with Kubica in the future, with lines of communication remaining open between team and driver.
“I think it’s too early to comment,” said Permane. “We’ve still been in touch, we’ve been talking about anything possible we might do in the future.
“At the moment there is nothing else planned, I can say that much at the moment. But I wouldn’t say we won’t do something again in the future.”