Kimi Raikkonen, Renault, 2011

Kimi Raikkonen to return to F1 with Renault in 2012

2012 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Kimi Raikkonen, Renault, 2011
Kimi Raikkonen, Renault, 2011

Kimi Raikkonen will return to Formula 1 in 2012 with Renault.

The team, which is set to become Lotus, announced on Tuesday the 2007 world champion would join them for next season.

Raikkonen, who last raced in Formula 1 with Ferrari in 2009, signed a two-year deal with the team.

Raikkonen said: “I?m delighted to be coming back to Formula 1 after a two-year break, and I?m grateful to Lotus Renault GP for offering me this opportunity.

“My time in the World Rally Championship has been a useful stage in my career as a driver, but I can?t deny the fact that my hunger for F1 has recently become overwhelming.

“It was an easy choice to return with Lotus Renault GP as I have been impressed by the scope of the team?s ambition. Now I?m looking forward to playing an important role in pushing the team to the very front of the grid.??

Gerard Lopez, chairman of teams owners Genii, said: “All year long, we kept saying that our team was at the start of a brand new cycle. Backstage we?ve been working hard to build the foundations of a successful structure and to ensure that we would soon be able to fight at the highest level.

“Kimi?s decision to come back to Formula 1 with us is the first step of several announcements which should turn us into an even more serious contender in the future. Of course, we are all looking forward to working with a world champion. On behalf of our staff, I?d like to welcome Kimi to Enstone, a setting that has always been known for its human approach to Formula 1.”

Raikkonen’s return means a record six world champions will compete alongside each other. He joins Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher.

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376 comments on “Kimi Raikkonen to return to F1 with Renault in 2012”

  1. Welcome back Iceman :)

  2. Agree with Keith.

    Mixed feeling for me, is nice to see a big name like Kimi back in f1, with 6 former champions on the grid next season, but I would love to see Senna next season. I think he deserved a full season to show his full talent.
    Will LRGP replace Petrov with Senna/Grosjean now? (by breaking the contract).

  3. Well I’m glad that’s over. Just got to wait and see who will be driving alongside him. We all suspect it will be Petrov but then you never know.

    I think the partnership could work quite well. Renault started the year really well with a couple of podiums and you can’t help but think that if Kubica was in the car then he would have got a better result, and this would be the same guess with Raikkonen.

    I’m glad to see Kimi back on the grid as F1 should have the best drivers in the world and Kimi is one the best. Welcome back.

  4. Well I’ll be…who would have thunk it, the long rumoured Raikkonen comeback has actually happened!!

  5. Very happy to see Kimi return, back a few posts someone asks “which Kimi are we getting?”
    Cant wait till March to find out!

  6. Well, now I am just waiting for Kubica’s come back. I hope he will and we will see Robert’s true speed. I just can’t wait to see which one will be stronger. Kimi is a good comparison.

    1. How good will Renault, or Lotus, be if Kubica comes back?!

      1. Kubica will take long time to get back up to speed.

        1. @Maksutov So will Raikkonen.

    2. I think Kimi’s 2 year contract means door’s closed for Kubica, not that he didn’t ask for it. IMO chances of “world class” line up in Lotus (because this is how this is team will be called from now on, I find it silly and to some extent spiteful to call it Renault while calling Caterham Lotus) are very slim.

      1. Patience. I’m sure everyone will call them Lotus next season.

      2. Calm down @cyclops_pl it’s in no way spiteful to call them Renault. We aren’t in the 2012 season yet so I shall call them Renault. I don’t call McLaren Vodafone so I won’t call them Lotus until pre-season testing begins.

      3. @cyclops_pl I continue to call them Renault because, as explained months ago, this is the name logged with the FIA for the 2011 season:

        The same goes for Lotus and Virgin. Am I, in your view, also being “spiteful” towards them?

        1. @keith don’t try to make sense of it. This is a product of the bahr/renault/proton propaganda campaign it’s like stockholm syndrome towards a company

  7. What are the chances that Grosjean could be in line for a place at Williams? I know Renault are technically pulling out of F1 as a works team, but Williams will be powered by Renault engines next year and we all assume that Barrichello won’t be there.

    Grosjean is managed by Gravity which is owned by Gerard Lopez, so maybe there is a spot there?

    1. @smifaye Not a bad way of looking at things at all. Sutil and Grosjean perhaps?

      Would be one hell of a shift for Williams but let’s face it, they need one!

      1. @andrewtanner yeah I’d like to see that but I can’t see Maldonado leaving Williams.

        1. That would actually be a fantastic move for Williams. Unfortunately Hugo Chavez has given Maldonado so much oil money it’s unlikely to happen.

          But, there is a chance the Venezuelan government could override the sponsorship deal because they believe it may violate their laws. Thus opening up the door for Williams to keep Barrichello or at least bring in some new drivers that don’t suck.

          1. @smifaye @Adam-Tate If Williams can’t keep Maldonado then they will only go on the hunt for another pay driver. Not to say that pay drivers are all bad. But looking at the Young Driver test, i’m not holding out much hope!

  8. Yessssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the ICE AGE has returned!!!!!!!!!

    1. eeerrrm 2 years contract??? so what about Kubica????

      1. Well, the rumour has it Robert does not want to commit to Lotus for a long term (2013 onwards), so I have no idea what about him now that they signed Kimi.

        I kind of trust Kubica and his manager know what they are doing (i.e. they must have alternatives), given the current tense situation with Lotus GP (I suppose they are trying to make Lotus drop Kubica, not the other way round).

        1. It did seem that way with him manager stressing he only had a contract with them until the end of this year, not the next. I hope they’re looking at Ferrari for 2013, and will have Kubica do racing in a lower formula this year to get back up to speed and show he’s not Massa.

    2. By the way, the 2012 movie of the Ice Age series is called “Continental Drift”.

      1. LOL , very apt!

  9. UNeedAFinn2Win
    29th November 2011, 8:58

    Heeeee’s baaa’aaack…

    Actually having some trouble with this, as Bahar really put me off this team, settling in (or was it out of?) court came way too late, and now I have to cheer them for the next two years? WTH!?

    As Team Lotus is no longer and Genii Lotus are probably going to take full advantage of the history of the brand, I just hope they keep it civil.

    I now have “my” guys sitting on both sides and I have to be able to cheer both…maybe I’ll alternate :)

    It’s looking good for a Finn in 2012: Kimi, Heikki, Valtteri (and ½ Nico )

    1. Valtteri? Why? Have I missed something blindingly obvious, or does he still have no drive?

  10. Kimi will get bored quicker than he did in WRC. Mid-table has never been his ambition so I think he’ll struggle to motivate himself once he finds himself there.

    1. I have the same fear! Formula1 has changed – and even a schumacher struggles very hard. And i think with the new conditions : Managing tires, tactical thinking and NOT sheer speed, it will demotivate our Iceman.

      As we see on Hamilton, real speed isnt the point anymore – Formula1 requires clever and patient drivers. On the other hand i think Kimi will at least have some fun with the drs. Cant wait to see him rushing through the field, whenever he starts at the end of the grid – where i expect Lotus Renault to be :/

      1. He generally did a good job when they had a single set of tyres for the race

      2. Really Renault only fell back this season because they tried such a radical solution with the exhaust. Much like Williams falling back because they tried a radical solution with the gearbox packaging. I fully expect both to ditch the concepts next year and return to the form they both exhibited in 2010, which would mean Renault nipping at the heels of Mercedes and Williams leading the midfield in a close battle with Force India.

        Given how the top teams will be looking to close the gap on RedBull and how tight the midfield was by this seasons end, next year could be a real humdinger of a season.

        1. Williams falling back because they tried a radical solution with the gearbox packaging

          I don’t think that’s why they fell back, I suspect other teams will utilize similar concepts next year.

    2. @paolo He knows what he’s getting himself in for. I doubt he’d have signed a two-year deal if he didn’t think he could hack it.

      1. Fair point but it one thing signing for a team which have obviously convinced him of their potential and another actually delivering that potential.

        He knew what he was getting into in WRC and the US too…

        1. Changetherecord
          29th November 2011, 10:09

          Do you really think he was serious about Nascar?He was just interested how that car felt.And about WRC,he was basically driving a private team.It’s not cheap.

          1. @Changetherecord Your first sentence could as equally apply to F1 this time round.

            But I hope not, and its good to see him back on the grid. 6 world champs make it extremely interesting although I do also agree with Keith that its a shame someone is going to get squeezed out.

  11. As a Finn, I am of course excited about the return of Kimi. But at the same time, I am not at all sure if the Renault/Lotus team has what it takes to bring the car to the top level. I’m sure they could be stronger next year than they were this year, but I doubt they can challenge the Mclaren-Ferrari-Red Bull trio over a full season.

    Hard to say what will happen with Robert’s career, but Massa has been completely useless ever since his accident (and I didin’t think much of him before either), so there is definitely a spot opening in the Ferrari camp. Red Bull will hang on to Webber although he is nearly as useless, because he’s just about good enough to help them with the constructor’s titles while not threatening Vettel at all.

    1. Massa has been completely useless ever since his accident

      And yet everyone is so sure that Kubica will be the same driver he was before IF he comes back at all…

      1. Not everyone is. I think it’s a real possibility that he WON’T return to F1.

        1. Which is why it would be smart if he can take next year to convince himself, and also Ferrari, by driving some other formula, showing he’s there again at the end of 2012, and in time for 2013.

  12. I don’t think Raikkonen would be very welcome at Ferrari…

    1. And I don’t think he’ll give the time of day to Ferrari either, seeing how he was pushed out by Santander money (granted, he was given some of that money to leave, but…)

      1. Agreed, but I still think they may have originally wanted to form a Kimi-Alonso super team, but didn’t have the heart to drop Massa after his accident.

        Given that they have treated Massa like crap ever since he came back, it’s puzzling they didn’t go for a Kimi-Alonso duo.

        But given how Alonso reacted to having Hamilton around, being team mates to Kimi could have been even worse.

        That said, I don’t see Kimi ever returning to Ferrari. But stranger things have happened. Most thought neither he or Schumacher or Mercedes would ever return!

        And who would have thought we’d ever have 14 driver’s championships held by a field of only 24 drivers?!

  13. Quick picture! (And better than the oft-shown picture from WRC days where he looks 45).

  14. Good news!:) I hope Lotus build a decent car, and that Kimi gets up to speed rather quick. That way we could have an exciting battle for best of the rest between Mercedes and Lotus.
    And I like Kimi’s “I race and don’t care about anything else” attitude a lot better than lots of the PR puppets we have these days.

  15. I think most F1 fans have wanted this for a while, but you know, I thought I’d be happier than I am. Maybe because until I see it for myself, I simply can’t believe that we’ll see a return of the old Kimi; and maybe because it again stalls the careers of Romain and Bruno, both of whom I’d love to see driving around in 2012. Not to mention the certainty of the exit of Petrov for 2013 when (if?) we see the return of Kubica.


    Finally my favourite driver is back, next year is going to be incredible !! i can’t wait !!

  17. Totally rubbish news. We have talented unproven youngsters waiting in the wings and the seats are being filled up by has-beens for their experience and then the teams wonder why the young guns aren’t getting to grips with technical knowledge, so fire them when the car is bad and they can’t get results.

    I just hop to the skies that he actually comes back and does really well, or it will have been for nothing.

    1. See, I’m hopping mad at this, that much…lol

    2. @icthyes I agree with you, I also don’t think that struggling ex-champions make F1 sexier, they rather have the opposite effect.

  18. Any idea why he’s coming back? Surely he doesn’t need the money? I though he hated F1.

  19. Very interesting to watch. Until now, only Alain Prost had a succesfull return in 1993.

      1. Technically you could count in Mario Andretti as well

      2. How could anyone forget Lauda’s comeback and eventual championship when it happened against Prost himself…

  20. Raikkonen returning? Wow, this really came out of nowhere…

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