Renault SportDownload App

F1 2011: Lotus Renault Badly Missing Robert Kubica?

MONTREAL, CANADA - JUNE 11:  Nick Heidfeld of Germany and Renault drives in the final practice session prior to qualifying for the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 11, 2011 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Sam StoreContributor INovember 9, 2016

It was such a promising start to the 2011 season for Lotus Renault.

Vitaly Petrov drove a fine race to finish on the podium in Australia, beating world-class veterans such as Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Jenson Button. Two weeks later in Malaysia, it was Nick Heidfeld’s turn to take to the podium with a third place finish in Sepang. It did seem that life could go on without the injured Robert Kubica. 


However, it’s fair to say the team has slumped in previous races. There have been no podiums since the opening two rounds of the season and it is clear the team has fallen behind in terms of performance. At one stage they appeared to have a car with potential to challenge the leading three teams of Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren. But now the realistic battle is in the midfield with Mercedes, Sauber and Force India.

Petrov has improved greatly this year and Heidfeld does bring experience. But the team really is missing the world-class touch of Kubica. When he's on, Kubica can beat anyone, or at least mix-in with the best—as shown numerous times last season (such as his fantastic qualifying in Monaco where he split the Red Bulls and his second place in Australia).

The Pole has the ability to lead a team with passion and enthusiasm—a factor missing from the Renault team this season ever since Kubica’s huge accident back at the start of the year.

In terms of Kubica’s injury, it seems he won’t be returning to action this season, but instead is aiming for a 2012 return. Speaking to the Renault website, Kubica said: “It is still too early to have a clear picture for the timing of my return, but the important thing is the final outcome, not the hurry.”

Petrov has improved greatly in 2011, but will it be enough to keep his seat for 2012?
Petrov has improved greatly in 2011, but will it be enough to keep his seat for 2012?Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Most importantly, Kubica is well on his way to recovery. Whilst it was thought after his accident that he might not ever race again, it seems he should be okay in time for next season. For now though, Renault must stick with Petrov and Heidfeld. Petrov’s fifth in Canada and some consistent points from Heidfeld show promise to a decent end to the season for the Enstone team. 

Renault say they have upgrades planned in the upcoming races, so there should be a performance increase. But the real shame about Kubica’s injury is that we will never see what he could have done with this year's car. Formula One has sorely missed Kubica this season, so let's hope he is back to his best in 2012. 

Follow Me on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/F1_SamStore

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices