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. Miika K said on 29th November 2011, 8:59

    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.

  2. manatcna (@manatcna) said on 29th November 2011, 9:06

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

    • KNF (@knf) said on 29th November 2011, 9:12

      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…)

      • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 29th November 2011, 17:46

        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?!

  3. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 29th November 2011, 9:07

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

  4. SempreGilles (@sempregilles) said on 29th November 2011, 9:08

    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.

  5. Dragon (@dragon) said on 29th November 2011, 9:13

    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.

  6. t3x (@t3x) said on 29th November 2011, 9:14

    YYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSS !!!!!!!

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

  7. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 29th November 2011, 9:20

    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.

  8. Shimks (@shimks) said on 29th November 2011, 9:32

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

  9. Amadeus said on 29th November 2011, 9:32

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

  10. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 29th November 2011, 9:33

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

  11. David-A (@david-a) said on 29th November 2011, 9:33

    It’s great to see Kimi back on the grid, but it’s a pity for guys like Senna and Grosjean.

    Maybe the GP2 rules could be changed so that GP2 champions can still compete in the series. I’m not sure what someone like Grosjean (who most likely won’t have a seat in F1 next year) will be able to do that is close to F1, with such restricted testing and few seats on the grid.

  12. I’m dissapointed. Does F1 really need the overrated Finn?

    • Changetherecord said on 29th November 2011, 10:06

      Yes it does need the underrated Finn.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th November 2011, 22:23

        The sport did not just survive for two years without Raikkonen – it had two fantastic seasons. Raikkonen’s presence isn’t the only thing holding the sport together (the way so many of his fans like to imply), and he’s not going to bring anything to the sport trundling around in a car a second off the pace.

  13. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th November 2011, 10:05

    Worst. Birthday surprise. Ever.

  14. I am truly amazed, especially after what happened last year between the two parties. I hope his comeback is successful.

  15. rob73 (@rob73) said on 29th November 2011, 10:23

    I can remember seeing Kimi in a Formula Renault, years ago at Silverstone. He absolutely blitzed the rest of the field in pretty dodgy weather conditions.

    When he was on it in the Mclaren he was awesome. The problem is, he appears to have an attitute problem when things are not to his liking, when is shocking to see.

    I feel sorry for Grosjean and Senna – they may not have Kimi’s talent, but they have not had a chance to shine. The team may regret this decision if he throws a hissy fit.

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