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. Rodney said on 29th November 2011, 10:30

    best news ever.

  2. HUHHII (@huhhii) said on 29th November 2011, 10:34

    I’m crying the tears of joy and drinking champagne over here. This is one of the best days of last few years. FORZA KIMI (am I allowed to use that, even if he doesn’t drive for Ferrari anymore?)

  3. JUGNU (@jugnu) said on 29th November 2011, 10:34

    Nice surprise. Wasn’t expecting Kimi’s announcement so soon. He is one of my favorite driver and on his day could be as quick as Vettel and Hamilton.

    “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”

    This is good to hear, that the hunger is back. In 2008 and especially in 2009 he lacked hunger or there could be other factors which made him loose interest in F1 like maybe he smelled in the Ferrari camp that he is no more needed and that they would be happy if he empty the seat for Fernando. A top driver need to have this sense that he is wanted and loved by his team so maybe those reasons affected his performances and increased mistakes.

    Now i hope he doesn’t take too many tests and miles to get back to the rhythm and top level pace and that Lotus Renault comes up with a competitive car to rival top 3 teams.

  4. MahavirShah (@mahavirshah) said on 29th November 2011, 10:37

    Everyone is feeling sorry for Grosjean and Senna. I feel sorry for Sutil who wont be happy to see his nemesis back. All I can remember are incidents involving Sutil and Raikkonen. :)

  5. Mahir C said on 29th November 2011, 10:37

    Awesome news for Kimi and his sizeable fanbase. I suppose Lotus is the best team to be in for Kimi with Petrov supplying his vodka needs :)

    Sad news for Grosjean, he is really more talented than people think yet somehow cant get a break.

  6. matthewf1 (@) said on 29th November 2011, 10:57

    I think the team should be referred to as Lotus already….otherwise the headline should read…’Raikkonen signs for Renault to drive for Lotus next year’.

    Anyway, I confidently predict that the Iceman will not drive a single race for Renault :-)

  7. DavidS (@davids) said on 29th November 2011, 11:39

    Is he bringing in some big dollars from Unilever?
    Are we to expect the Heartbrand logo appearing on the car?

  8. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 29th November 2011, 11:40

    WHAT THE FER……Well this wasn’t the wake up call I expected, wow! Bring on 2012!

  9. KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 29th November 2011, 12:01

    I did not see this coming. Best news all year. KIMI IS BACK! YEAH!

    Six world champions in the grid next year. Let the epic battle begin…

  10. So, every 1 in 6 drivers is a champion, and ‘almost’ 1 in 2 are former GP winners (I counted 11 incl Rubens). I feel it devalues the championship as a whole but it does make for exciting racing! Would someone be able to tell, how long has it been that every champion for the past decade has been on the grid at once?

  11. I’m ecstatic — I’ve been hoping for Kimi to come back ever since he left. That said, I always feel bad for anyone losing their seat in F1, I don’t care who it is. As a Bruno fan, I’m feeling even more conflicted than I might be normally.

    But it seems doors in F1 are never truly closed. At the beginning of 2011, who would have guessed we’d end the season with, for example, both Toro Rosso drivers still in their seats AND Ricciardo racing as well? I guess my point is that you never know what’s going to happen, and for now I’m just going to focus on this positive thing: KIMI IS BACK. :-D

  12. dutch in sweden (@dutch-in-sweden) said on 29th November 2011, 12:32

    What about that Lotus does not want to have Lada on the sidepod. They have a deal with Grosjean (or Senna) sponser and Petrov will go to Williams (also Renault motor) and Williams get (god forbid) Lada on the sidepod maybe even larger than Renault had this year.

  13. maxthecat said on 29th November 2011, 12:41

    I seem to remember Kimi saying he would NEVER drive for Renault/Lotus Renault and claimed they were using his name to give themselves publicity a few years back. How times change eh Kimi.

  14. silencer (@silencer) said on 29th November 2011, 12:46

    so I guess all the delay about this announcement since yesterday maybe due to photo shoot for kimi in renault team kit

    but.. this is good news; 2 Fins on the grid; one iceman and one fireman…

    so who’s next to be announce? Sutil for Williams? Ricciardo for Caterham? or maybe after all.. grojean will go to HRT?

    if grojean wanna be in Formula 1, he should find a place at the back of the grid. He just can’t keep hang in on to boullier praises because time is running out on him. But hey.. don’t lose hope even if he is reaching his 40’s; life is like a box of chocolate.. you never know what you gonna get!

    • PJ (@pjtierney) said on 29th November 2011, 12:56

      @silencer

      I agree that Grosjean should try for a lower team spot. It seemed to work well for Ricciardo this season and he’s gotten a lot of respect/notice from F1 fans since he replaced Narain.

      Not sure what race seats are available though:
      HRT have (I think) the #2 left.
      Caterham have Heikki, but no word on Trulli yet.
      Marussia are sorted I think.
      Sutil is probably going to Williams.

      • Dave_F1 said on 29th November 2011, 13:14

        Problem with that is that Grosjean doesn’t have any sponsorship to take with him to a lower team.

        Ricciardo took some Red Bull funding to HRT & I’ve seen speculation suggesting that Caterham will be getting there Red Bull gearbox at a cheaper price if they take Ricciardo for 2012.

        Also whats left at the back?

        Ya know im happy to see Kimi come back but also dissapointed that the young drivers have been overlooked again.

        Just hope that Senna or Grosjean get the other seat.

      • Dave_F1 said on 29th November 2011, 13:15

        Forgot to say that its worth remembering that HRT will be renames ‘Spanish National team’ next year so will likely want another spanish driver.

    • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 29th November 2011, 21:05

      but.. this is good news; 2 Fins on the grid; one iceman and one fireman…

      Haha that is great. COTD nomination.

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