Cyril Abiteboul has gone to great pains to downplay Robert Kubica's F1 testing but the Frenchman admits there is an agenda behind Renault's support for the Pole's comeback efforts.
Kubica enjoyed another day of running yesterday with Renault, driving 90 laps at Paul Ricard in a test destined to further evaluate his physical ability behind the wheel of an F1 car.
"The Valencia test was on Robert's request," Abiteboul told l'Equipe.
"He wanted to rediscover the sensations of driving an F1 car, and given the great memories of his time at Enstone we were more than happy to help him in his endeavour.
"We then agreed to continue the evaluation. But this time, the purpose was to really measure his performance, which is why we chose the Castellet.
"Paul Ricard is a lot more demanding than Valencia, with several possible configurations where we could put Robert to the task and test his driving and his physical abilitie. We're taking this very seriously."
Kubiuca is now clearly aiming for an F1 comeback, and a seat at Renault in 2018. Jolyon Palmer's contract ends at the end of the current season, so an opportunity will be up for grabs.
But there will likely be no lack of contenders, starting with Carlos Sainz who appears to be lurking in Renault's background.
"It's too early to say of Kubica can come back, but the idea is at the back of our minds," admits Abiteboul.
"There's a lot to go through still. He's only driven a old car, with a down-tuned engine and demo tyres. There's no race stress involved.
Renault could possibly give Kubica a run in a 2017-spec car at the upcoming in-season test at the Hungaroring early August. But Abiteboul is unwilling to commit to the idea... for now.