As we near the Canadian GP and a first venture to North America this 2017 Formula One season, the sport's rumour mill has gone into overdrive over the possibility of Polish racing driver Robert Kubica making a return to the sport.
Kubica, 32, was something of a champion-in-waiting when he first burst onto the F1 scene a decade ago, driving for Williams and Renault before a devastating rally crash caused life-changing injuries and nearly ended his racing career.
The injuries sustained to his right arm, almost severed from the accident and subsequently partially amputated, meant that it was deemed unlikely Kubica would ever enjoy the manoeuvrability or strength to control an F1 car like he used to. The Pole has sustained a strong career, returning to rallying and featuring the the World Endurance Championship, however rumours have always abounded that a return to Formula One was the ultimate goal.
This week, that plan has been somewhat realised; the Pole tested a rebranded 2012 Lotus car at Valencia and completed 115 laps, a session described as a fully-blown and serious test by an F1 journalist.
Returning to the garage after the epic stint, Renault stated that Kubica "complained about grip, understeer, downforce and had the biggest smile on after his 115 laps". Encouraging news for Polish motor sports fans.
Now, time to don the tin-foil hat: are Kubica and Renault planning a spectacular comeback? All roads point to yes, it seems. Kubica has excellent pedigree and were it not for the rally crash we'd likely be looking at a World Champion, such was the talent of the Pole. He has proven this week he has it in him to wrestle an F1 car around a track, though lap times and whether he can do it in the monsters that are the 2017 cars is a different story. Jolyon Palmer has struggled massively this year and rumours abounded even before Kubica's test that the team were looking to replace him mid-season. It seems that Montreal will be the Briton's final chance to impress Renault and retain his seas for the season, but it's looking likely now that he will be replaced this summer. Whether that'll be a swap for Kubica remains to be seen, but it is a tantalising prospect.