Robert Kubica is now set to step up his preparations by taking part in the two-day test following the Hungarian Grand Prix.
As Kubica gets ready for the next challenge, he has given an insight into his mental approach to a Formula 1 return and his confidence about making a successful comeback.
"I needed to find a favourable mental condition. It is a matter of awareness. To treat my disability as a surmountable problem and not as a definitive handicap," Kubica told Corriere della Sera.
"This way I could deal more serenely the first test and I realised only there that any limitation is relative. I started with no idea of my reactions, without any warranty. And I found myself.
"That is a pure driver seeking the performance and nothing else. Everything turned on again immediately because nothing was deleted.
"Like swimming, cycling. I soon acquired an authentic feeling. And I just thought to reach a goal, and then another, having to do with ambition.
"So if Renault were keen to continue this madness, let's say, well now I have the confidence to match. It will take training, preparation. But I now know that I can get back [to] the driver who I was.
"And my level of that in 2010 was high, I say this without false modesty."
Kubica: 'I can get back to the driver I was' | PlanetF1 : PlanetF1
Once again, Kubica impressed, but Abiteboul is wary of fuelling expectation, and would not say whether the Pole is capable of racing a current car.
"It's not like a test that you're passing at an exam," Abiteboul said. "We've not seen any obvious road blocks. Having said that, testing in this circumstance and testing in a more modern car is something completely different.
"This situation is complex. We are not doing it for PR
purposes, even though we see that it is creating a lot of media expectation and focus. It's not what we're doing. We care so much more for Robert than this."
Abiteboul's reference to a more modern car leads us neatly to Hungary, where there is a two-day test scheduled on August 1-2. Renault ran Nico Hulkenberg and Sergey Sirotkin in Bahrain earlier this year, so has the ability to use one rookie driver - who hasn't started more than two grands prix - on one day and any other driver it chooses on the other. As a tight and twisty circuit, the Hungaroring would be a good test for Kubica and his potential limitations in a current car, while also allowing him to evade the scrutiny of a full grand prix weekend.
While it appears Renault is evaluating options for 2018, what does the team have to lose in potentially bringing Kubica in this year?
Re-hiring Kubica after the summer break would give him the second half of the season to prove himself without the pressure of a full campaign. If a return works then great, and if it doesn't pan out the way everyone hopes, then Kubica can make a decision on his future with dignity at end of season, rather than mid-year in 2018.
The Pole would be coming in for a driver who has not delivered so far this year, and who on average has been over a second off his teammate in qualifying. Granted, given his reliability issues then Palmer could feel a little hard done by, but Kubica's story trumps that misfortune.
It was unthinkable two months ago. Now, it makes a huge amount of sense.
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