Kimi Raikkonen to return to F1 with Renault in 2012

2012 F1 season

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. Robin said on 29th November 2011, 8:24

    Great to see another class world champion on the grid. The Iceman is back.

  2. Chalky (@chalky) said on 29th November 2011, 8:24

    I’m happy. Kimi, despite non-F1 people thinking he’s dull, I find him hilarious. Glad to have a non-corporate driver back in the pit lane to tell us how things really are.
    He’s also great to watch on track. (I guess that point should come first) :D

  3. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 29th November 2011, 8:26

    Good news. Little disappointed that I won’t get to see him compete in the WRC anymore and feeling for Grosjean right about now.

    That said, it will be great to have him back. I hope we get flicks of the old Kimi but a more a more sensible, sincere approach to his drive. I’m sure we will.

  4. plyschak said on 29th November 2011, 8:27

    now the silly season fully deserves it’s name … it may have been an open secret, but I was hoping that Renault (or Lotus … ok, let’s call them Lopez’ team) will give the chance to Grosjean … Romain is the actual looser of this game … hopefully he’ll get a chance at Williams (Sutil should stay in FI imo, but F1 isn’t always rational) …

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 29th November 2011, 8:30

    I must admit mixed feelings about this one. Obviously it’s good to see Raikkonen back but I’m disappointed for Senna and Grosjean. This is all assuming nothing’s going to prise Petrov out of the other seat, of course.

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 29th November 2011, 8:36

      Agree. I was really looking forward to seeing Grosjean vs. Petrov at Lotus (better get used to it now). Great to have Kimi back, though.

      • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 29th November 2011, 17:32

        I still think there is a chance Grosjean will get the nod over Petrov. Boullier likes him a lot, he has more than proven himself by dominating GP2 this year and he’d be perfect to slot into the 2nd seat alongside Kimi. Either to keep it warm till Kubica could return or to have it all to himself.

    • Girts (@girts) said on 29th November 2011, 8:43

      @keithcollantine I’m disappointed for Sutil and Barrichello as I think this decision decreases their chances of getting race seats for 2012. I believe these two guys really deserve to be in F1, they have proved their value lately.

      • TheBrav3 said on 29th November 2011, 23:54

        I’d say it deffinitely increases rubens chances because the pool of talent and sponsor money just got smaller.

    • smifaye (@smifaye) said on 29th November 2011, 8:52

      Yeah the same. It is great to see 6 champions on the grid and F1 should be about the best drivers in the world, competing in the best cars on the best tracks (maybe the last one is a bit dubious).

      You can’t help but feel sorry for Grosjean as he has impressed on two occassions now and just aced GP2 this year and still can’t get a drive. Maybe he will, we just don’t know. I also think Senna deserves a drive but there are only 24 spots on the grid, someone’s got to go home unhappy.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 29th November 2011, 10:07

      Yes, that’s my feeling too. Looking forward to seeing Kimi back in F1, but this silly season makes me feel more and more sorry for some talented guys who just won’t get a chance for next year if ever, it seems.

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 29th November 2011, 13:59

      Senna and Grosjean

      i am not really disappointed with neither of the two.

  6. David-A (@david-a) said on 29th November 2011, 8:35

    Welcome back Iceman :)

  7. Goran (@goran507) said on 29th November 2011, 8:41

    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).

  8. smifaye (@smifaye) said on 29th November 2011, 8:47

    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.

  9. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 29th November 2011, 8:48

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

  10. jack (@jackobite) said on 29th November 2011, 8:52

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

  11. Toxic (@toxic) said on 29th November 2011, 8:52

    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.

  12. smifaye (@smifaye) said on 29th November 2011, 8:55

    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?

  13. Blog_Raider said on 29th November 2011, 8:56

    Yessssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the ICE AGE has returned!!!!!!!!!

    • Blog_Raider said on 29th November 2011, 8:58

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

      • Mister Nillionaire (@mister-nillionaire) said on 29th November 2011, 9:08

        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).

        • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 29th November 2011, 10:10

          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.

    • Girts (@girts) said on 29th November 2011, 9:10

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

  14. UNeedAFinn2Win said on 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 )

  15. paolo (@paolo) said on 29th November 2011, 8:59

    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.

    • andy_f1 said on 29th November 2011, 9:13

      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 :/

      • Skett (@skett) said on 29th November 2011, 10:59

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

      • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 29th November 2011, 17:41

        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.

        • 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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 29th November 2011, 9:13

      @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.

      • paolo (@paolo) said on 29th November 2011, 9:17

        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…

        • Changetherecord said on 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.

          • paolo (@paolo) said on 29th November 2011, 12:09

            @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.

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