Eric Boullier has admitted it is unlikely Robert Kubica will be able to return to his Renault race cockpit this season.
Injured Pole Kubica is preparing to undergo a final operation in the next few days to restore mobility to his elbow.
"I know this is the last one and then he will be starting, finally, the full rehabilitation," Renault team boss Boullier is quoted by Reuters at Spa-Francorchamps.
There have been suggestions Kubica might be fit enough to return later this season, but Boullier played down that possibility.
"To be honest I don't know. I don't believe so," said the Frenchman.
Boullier explained that Kubica, 26, not only has to recover but also "get back his feeling" for a Formula One car.
Therefore, before a race comeback can be planned, simulator and track tests will be necessary.
We are still planning to have him in the next season
"When he is ready," Boullier is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, "we are still planning to have him in the next season.
"First, we will have to organise a 2009 car for him to test."
With Nick Heidfeld definitely out of the picture for 2012, Boullier admitted that Renault has other options should Kubica not be ready.
"We have to consider many scenarios," he told F1's official website. "Robert obviously is our number one scenario; Romain Grosjean is doing a good job; and let's wait and see what Bruno (Senna) is doing and delivering for the next eight races."