Renault has set a mid-October deadline for keeping a seat open for Robert Kubica next year, with the team keen to know its 2012 driver line-up as soon as possible.
The Enstone-based outfit is eager to get Kubica back racing, but knows it cannot wait until the eve of the next campaign to sort out its plans - because then it will be too late to find the kind of high-quality replacement it will need.
Team principal Eric Boullier said that a decision would be taken next month about whether Kubica will definitely be back, or if the team needs to sort out finding a full-time replacement.
"My issue is I cannot miss the opportunity to have Robert back, but at the same time I have to protect the interests of this team," Boullier said, when asked by AUTOSPORT about the driver situation for next year. "I need to define the best driver line-up, or the best one I can afford.
"I will be flexible because I really like Robert and it is worth for him to be back, but by the middle of October or the end of October I need to have clear confirmation, even if we have some work to go through.
"I am not expecting him to be as fast as last year, because when you have been away from racing for one year it is tough to be back, and on top of this you have a bad accident like he had, then it is not easy. But I need to understand if he can do it."
Kubica is set to get back behind the wheel of either a road car or an F1 simulator in one month's time - which should provide the first indication on whether or not the Pole will be able to race again.
As well as sorting out simulator time for Kubica, Renault will also make available a 2009-spec car for testing if it is required over the winter.
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