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. Renault have buckets of loads of potential at their feet and they sign a man who has been out of the sport two years when there’s been massive changes and he’s already abandoned F1 once? Yeah, smart move.

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 29th November 2011, 14:29

      maybe it brings them money, popularity, they can promote their new team with style…. just like Merc did . so in terms of that it is better compared to hiring some young noob who no one knows yet… or keeping the fake Senna; I am sure Kimi will attract a large audience and group to support the (what will now be considered) “true” Lotus team. F1 is a business, thats how it is

      • It should be a sport. Kimi had his chance and Michael Schumacher one of the best drivers (if not the best) ever is struggling still now so how will Kimi do?

        • I’m not going to sit here and suggest Räikkönen will definitely do better than the 7-times world champion, but he might have a slight advantage in that he didn’t rely as heavily on the incessant, compulsive testing that Schumacher did. He also already had a big tyre change to deal with when he moved from McLaren to Ferrari. It took him about half a season to get up to speed, but of course he hadn’t had a two year break on top of that.

          I do agree it’s a shame that F1 seems to be all about looking back these days as far as drivers is concerned. Even if I am a big fan of Räikkönen’s.

  2. TomMK (@tommk) said on 29th November 2011, 12:59

    As a Williams fanatic I’m devastated. As a Formula 1 fanatic I’m ecstatic. So I guess I’m even!

  3. I may not be remembering this correctly; but in the BBC build up show when they were interviewing Boullier, they walked past Grosjean in the garage and Boullier made some type of joke about the ‘contract’ that Grosjean had in his hand…maybe this is for him to drive at HRT next year???

  4. Rahim.RG (@rahim-rg) said on 29th November 2011, 13:07

    Great News….Can’t believe he’s back….
    Can’t wait for 2012…
    The Renault outfit looks good on him too…

  5. Well at least there will be one driver on the grid that won’t be afraid to openly critisise DRS.

    Kimi said a few weeks back that he doesn’t like DRS. Said he doesn’t see it as real racing & doesnt think it produces real or exciting passing.

    Just wish more drivers would actually speak out against this stupid gimmick like guys like Webber, Button, Heidfeld, Kimi & 2-3 others have.

  6. nackavich (@nackavich) said on 29th November 2011, 13:09

    Almost wet myself with anticipation for 2012. 6 Champions! Hell yes!

  7. sbl on tour (@sbl-on-tour) said on 29th November 2011, 13:33

    if this endS up going pear shaped like heidfeld, bouillers gonna have a lot of egg on his face yet again

    why he let kiubica race that rally car is beyond me, and why that dork petrov is there also remains one of the worlds biggest unsolved mysterys

    • Boullier could already make several omlets. He took a podium finishing race car at season’s beginning , and it got beat by a Lotus a couple days ago. At least it stopped bursting into flames. Boullier is a disaster.

  8. KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 29th November 2011, 13:35

    It’s good that he’s back, he was a good driver, but I feel that it’s not going to last..

    Having said all of that, I’d love to see Vettel/Alonso/Schumi/Hamilton/Button/Raikkonen all fighting it out, maybe even Webber/Rosberg/Massa could join them… If just one race has a close fight between those 6, it’d be a good season..

  9. The Limit said on 29th November 2011, 13:40

    I am not convinced that taking on Raikkonen is the right move for Lotus, despite many crowing about how good it will be to have six champions on the grid. The fact is that Kimi always drove, from 2002 onwards anyway, championship worthy cars for McLaren and Ferrari. Only in his final year at Ferrari in 2009 did Raikkonen find himself driving a lemon. And that my friends, is the one million dollar question?
    Raikkonen is legendary for not exactly being the most PR friendly person. He prefers to let his driving do the talking, but in 2012, he may still not find himself in a winning car. Will he have the capacity to push the team forward during hard times, when the results are not coming and the pressure is on? Obviously, no matter who he is paired with, he will be the team leader for Lotus in 2012. Alot will be expected of him!
    His years at Ferrari were, on the whole, disappointing. Yes he won the title in 2007 and deserved to. His end of season performances that year were awesome, but it was his complete slump in the following two years after that that convinced Ferrari to look elsewhere. And lets be honest, as poorly as Ferrari have performed in 2011, they look far more happier as a team with Fernando Alonso in the car don’t they?
    Then there is Kimi’s embarrassing attempt at WRC competition, which was nothing short of a shambles. Earlier this year, he refused to fly to an event in Australia because of the distances involved! Interesting, considering F1 goes to a different country every two weeks during a season, often different continents. Its nice to see he hasn’t lost his ‘commitment’ over time.
    So, as you can see, I have my reservations. I feel sorry for the likes of Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov as it seems almost certain one of them will be dropped, and they are both young promising drivers. Petrov may have shot himself in the foot by badmouthing the team in the press, which is in stark contrast to Senna’s PR friendly persona. Considering he only drove a short while in 2011, Bruno showed promise and maturity at Lotus, and in my opinion does not deserve to get dropped. He outqualified Petrov on a number of occasions and showed reasonable race pace, despite getting turned over by the stewards a couple of times.
    Then there is Robert Kubica. Still recovering from his terrible injuries yet still a possibility for 2012. On paper, a fully fit Robert and Kimi would make the ideal pairing. Two big name, and expensive drivers, in the mould of McLaren’s lineup, driving for Lotus. Everything hinges on there 2012 machine, and if they can get to grips with teams like Mercedes and Force India who will almost certainly improve next year.
    I just hope that Raikkonen realises that he may still not be driving a ‘winning’ car next year. Much like he did at Sauber in 2001, he will have to prove his worth in sub standard machinery. If we see that Raikkonen, the fast and determined Kimi, then I cannot wait for the season to start!

    • Miika K said on 29th November 2011, 17:21

      “The fact is that Kimi always drove, from 2002 onwards anyway, championship worthy cars for McLaren and Ferrari. Only in his final year at Ferrari in 2009 did Raikkonen find himself driving a lemon.”

      Lol, so Mclaren’s 2002, 2004 and 2006 cars were championship worthy? Give me a break. All of them just a s bad at the 2009 Ferrari.

      Tons of people are questioning his motivation, but I think it’s ridiculous. He drove very good races in late 2009 (Spa, anyone?) when he supposedly shouldn’t have cared one bit how he did anymore.

      I think he still has it in him. Whether Renault/Lotus has it… Now, that’s a different question.

      • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 29th November 2011, 21:13

        Agreed. I don’t know what to expect from Renault/Lotus, but Kimi still has it.

        This is a guy who qualified in the top 10 in his first ever F1 race, in a Sauber, after only competing in 20 or so races before that in his life!

        He almost beat Schumi to the 03 title with remarkable consistency. Poor reliability robbed him of that title and one in 05 as well.

        He took an off the pace McLaren and beat Schumacher at Spa in 04!

        He will do well.

      • The Limit said on 30th November 2011, 14:33

        So you are suggesting that the 2009 Ferrari was as fast as the 2004 McLaren, did you ever see Kimi’s lap of Silverstone in 2004! I suggest you watch this sport with your eyes open from now on. My point was, which you missed, is that Raikkonen drove for the majority of his career for the sports two biggest teams. That will not be the case in 2012.
        You also left out 2003 and 2005, years inwhich Raikkonen could have won the championship with McLaren. You are obviously too young to remember!

    • Don’t know what your motivations are mate… in 2003, Macca were running a modified 2002 car, using which Kimi ended up as a runner-up. In 2004, Macca were known to roast their engines, and two GP’s where Kimi was indeed in leadd, his suspension gave up on him. Most of the McLaren cars were utter crap with 6 retirements for Kimi in 2006. In ’07 he won the championship. In ’08 Kimi again had 3 retirements, and the gap subsequently was enough to convince Ferrari to push Massa. In ’09 Kimi did as good as a very over rated driver (Lewis Hamilton of course) who was in a faster car.

      About his attempts at other stuff… McLaren weren’t a happy place for him, as Ron Dennis is not the best manager of people as he would like to believe. I of-course refer to Ron’s comment of managing Montoya when he snagged Montoya out of Williams. I really loved every single word of Sir Frank. Ferrari was too political always, and has been, and most likely will remain so. He is a racing driver, and he was trying to replace F1 with some other form of racing, which is good news indeed. However, to run a rally expedition at your expense, as many have pointed out earlier, is rather prohibitively costly. Good news is, he still loves racing, and likes F1. So let us wait and see what comes to be in 2012. Personally, i’d like him winning races and watch him fiddle with the (new) mic. Press conferences were always fun to watch with him.

    • Then there is Kimi’s embarrassing attempt at WRC competition, which was nothing short of a shambles.

      It was a shame that he didn’t go to Australia, and not right that he didn’t after having put his name down for that race, but he was essentially funding his own privateer team. The distance itself wasn’t the main issue I’m sure, but rather the costs involved in getting his car and equipment shipped over there.

      I also don’t think that he embarrassed himself with his performances in WRC. But I guess it depends what you choose to focus on in that regard, as he did have essentially the same car Loeb was driving.

  10. rdpunk (@rdpunk) said on 29th November 2011, 13:41

    All this arguing whether or not Kubica will return is frustrating. No one knows when/if he will return. Basically, we arent there sat with him, bringing him grapes to understand if he wants too, needs to or more importantly physically can. Its going to take alot from him to come back for sure, but we don’t know if he can or not. Driving a F1 car takes alot of upper body strength and untill he drives a full power car we cannot speculate which car he will be in. Ferrari have expressed an interest, i dont blame them he WAS a quick driver, doesn’t mean he will be quick coming back e.g Massa.

    Anyway, Kimi’s return is good, everyone loves him and he’s a good leader, hopefully we see the Kimi thats setting fastest laps not eating ice cream in shorts a tee in the race :p

  11. SlideTru (@slidetru) said on 29th November 2011, 13:57

    so pumped, there is a humblepie in the oven kimi shall be serving up. Now i have to cope with the fact that fernando is my no.2, but thats my problem

  12. Rob Wilson (@rob-wilson) said on 29th November 2011, 14:57

    This is fantastic news! So excited for next year, a Kimi return is good for the sport as a whole.

    I celebrated like a football fan when their team scores a goal to win the match when i saw this headline! Cannot wait! Raikkonen is back, dreams become reality!

    I know it’s not really important but i love little details like this – Do you think Renault will give Kimi the No.9 on his car instead of Petrov even though he’s new to the team? Also, will Rosberg finally get the No.7 he deserves off Schumi next year! And will McLaren let JB have the No.3 because he beat Lewis this year? Don’t know why i care so much about the number allocation of the drivers but i love little details.

  13. Nixon (@nixon) said on 29th November 2011, 15:10

    WOAH!

    Didn’t see that coming.

  14. I predict Raikkonen scores fewer points in 2012 than Nick Heidfeld scored in 2011.

    • why don’t you visit a bookie and put some money on that ?…I am sure they would be absolutely delighted to take it

      • That’s not my vice. But why would a gaming professional look at the performance of that team this year and disagree? Petrov barely outscored Heidfeld, who left the team months ago. I take past results over future hype.

        • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 29th November 2011, 21:18

          I predict he will score twice as many points in 2012 as Heidfeld did in 2011.

          And I like Heidfeld. But Kimi is better, the car will be better, that forward facing exhaust really hampered their development. Without that being a hindrance next season I expect the team to be somewhere between Mercedes and Force India in the points.

          Do you really think Kimi will score fewer points over a whole season than Quick Nick managed over just half a year?

  15. frankly I always expected Kimi’s time at ferrari to be a disaster , and except for him winning the 2007 WDC , so it proved ; I felt that he had deserved to be champion while he was at McLaren but it didn’t go his way , so a bit of luck at ferrari even it out
    frankly ,like most italian companies , ferrari runs on emotion , must be the latin temperament , and kimi looked a square peg in a round hole ; when ferrari latinised they slipped back , but looks like anglicising has started again so hopes for a better balance there in the future

    I am delighted to see kimi at LRGP for the next years , I didn’t see it happening because I expected him to play hard ball over the money …he obviously hasn’t so his desire to come back must be real I am happy to say

    so I see this as win-win for kimi and the team ;at the beginning of this season the team was competitive with their version of the blown diffuser but it seemed impossible to develop it and they soon got swamped by the teams who did it later but better ; however , it’s banned for next year so that that should immediately move them near to the top of the non-grandee teams

    but to get further , they needed a top driver , and in the absence of kubica who else but kimi was available ?

    so my expectation for next season is that mercedes will be snapping on the heels of the top 3 [ uncle norbert said on sunday that he expected some podiums in 2012 ] , but in addition I expect LRGP to be snapping on THEIR heels

    my existing BBC satellite dish continues ,my satellite dish pointing at Astra 19.2 is already installed , an old digital receiver is ready to be retuned , and apart from the first 2 races next year [ when I will be asleep ] I am set up to watch and listen [ BBCradio5live ]

    not as good as the BBC , but as I never have and never will pay mr murdoch , it will have to do

    incidentally I am told that Sky germany have not renewed their F1 contract , not enough extra people paid to watch because of F1 but accepted a lesser service on RTL ; does anyone know if this is confirmed ?

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