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.

More information on the 2012 F1 season.

2012 F1 season


Browse all 2012 F1 season articles

Advert | Go Ad-free

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

  1. Massa has been useless since ever his accident, and more likely the same to kubica who ever signs him, he will not be mentally motiveted so always he will be on a backfoot.

  2. This news surprised me at first but on reflection I can see why Renault have opted for Raikkonen.

    A week ago it seemed that Renault would pick two from Kubica, Petrov, Senna and Grosjean. But after the announcement that Kubica would miss the start of the season and that he didn’t have a contract with Renault for 2012 in any case it seems that Renault didn’t think any of the other three drivers were up to leading the team which is where Raikkonen fits in.

    Although I am glad that Raikkonen is returning to F1 I hope people don’t expect too much from him. We just need to look at Schumacher’s return to see what could happen.

    Yes Schumacher was gone for three years and Raikkonen only two but there have still been some big changes in those two seasons, mainly the ban on refuelling last year and the change to Pirelli tyres the season.

    • Miika K said on 29th November 2011, 18:35

      Schumacher’s comeback hasn’t been as bad as everyone keeps saying. Slightly slower than Rosberg, yes, but he has still done pretty much what can be done with that car. Whether you think that his influence should somehow make the car into a winner is a different topic.

      • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 29th November 2011, 21:52

        Agreed.

        Put Schumacher and Rosberg in an RB7 and one of them would have been world champion this year. I don’t think either would have been as perfect as Vettel all season, but they would have atleast gotten wins.

        People are so quick to dismiss Shumi’s comeback and now they are reacting the same way to Kimi’s. Give it some time and I am sure we will all be impressed.

        Furthermore, neither Schumacher or Raikkonen give a hoot what we think. They are back because they enjoy it and want to race. Who is to deny them that, after all they have accomplished? I hope they both have a great season in 2012.

  3. Great news for those of us who remember Kimi Raikkonen at his best. A lot of people question his motivation due to his the last couple of years at Ferrari.
    Well, when Raikkonen was at McLaren his motivation was second to none, some of the drives he produced and his ability to stay in contention despite mechanical failures and last years car were truly inspired. He made his team mates look very average. His bravery was also second to none.

    I don`t know what happened at Ferrari, but I suspect Raikkonen and Ferrari fell out early in 2008. From then on the Ferrari was developed to suit Massa and was not at all to Raikkonens liking. He hates understeer, and that was where Ferrari was going. Hey, they`re still battling this phenomenon today (they don`t seem to be able to generate heat into the front tires but still manage to wear out the back tires prematurely on several tracks). Then I suspect Raikkonen got fed up with the car as well as the demands put on him by Ferrari. And being the character he is he probably didn`t bother anymore and looked for a way out, it`s not his style to take part in internal politics inside a team.

    I think Renault made a good choice. Keep Raikkonen happy, give him a car that suits his style and many might be very surprised by the results he can produce.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th November 2011, 22:25

      A lot of people question his motivation due to his the last couple of years at Ferrari.

      I question his motivation based on his behaviour in the WRC – where he simply gave up the moment things got a little difficult.

  4. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 29th November 2011, 19:48

    Thinking about this, this might actually be a bad move by Lotus. And not just if Kimi doesn’t perform.

    Let’s say he does well (I certainly expect him to do better over 2 years than Senna or Grosjean would). Lotus are competing for podiums every now and then, like Kubica in 2010. Kimi has done well, but what of their other proteges? 3 into 1 won’t go. So say Petrov stays, he’s keeping out Senna and grosjean. Say Senna gets the seat, what about Romain? He could be shipped off to a Renault customer team like Williams, but if they’re uncompetitive he might get lost in the wilderness like Button almost did and as has happened to promising drivers like Brundle and Warwick.

    And if Kimi has made a name for himself and a big team comes knocking, Lotus are back to Square 1, potentially with no top driver to take over. Alonso won’t be coming back as a stop-gap again. They’ll have a at best a Senna who’s learned a few things and maybe a Grosjean itching to step up, that is if he isn’t dropped by Williams for money reasons. Of course, Kubica might come back, but will he be the same again? And what happens if Robert says he’s able to come back for 2013?

    Lotus have got themselves a good deal at the moment but I fear they are creating problems for themselves down the line.

  5. Welcome Back, Kimi! The next WC on the grid ;-)

  6. 5150 (@) said on 29th November 2011, 20:23

    This is great news. Welcome back Kimi.

  7. - Surprise with DeLaRosa….What a waste of F1 seat.
    – Who is this new PIC/Chic guy ?
    – Raikonnen a surprise. Time will tell if it works.
    – After this type of accident and long recovery forget Kubica for medium term future or may be forget forever.
    – Probably Lotus needs a charismatic leader…..kick this Boullier out. Talks more and actually produces little.
    – Hopefully the wings of Red Bull are cut then the championship will be more interesting, else same as 2011.

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

      Who is this new PIC/Chic guy ?

      His name is Charles Pic, and he’s a GP2 driver. He placed fourth with Barwa Addax this season after an end-of-season collapse (though to be fair, I’m pretty sure only some of it was down to driver error). He’s fast, but he’s inconsistent.

  8. Hallard (@hallard) said on 29th November 2011, 22:10

    So…everyone who has won the WDC for the last 12 seasons will be on the grid together?

    HOT DAMN!

  9. DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 29th November 2011, 22:34

    Wow didn’t see that coming, it’ll certainly be interesting to see how he performs after been out for so long.

  10. shooker88 (@shooker88) said on 29th November 2011, 23:45

    i find lotus interesting.. they have petrov who seems to be pretty consistent and brings money, senna has the name and brought more money (like 4 new sponsors?), grosjean looks like he can be trained, and poor kubica isnt ready yet. TOTAL surprise for me, i actually thought kimi would go to williams then as some of you have mentioned i remember him saying he only wanted to race for top teams so i didnt think williams would happen…and they must be paying kimi buku bucks.. so my thoughts are that lotus have a lot on their plate as to who’s gonna be kimi’s partner. my vote: Petrov.

  11. Estesark (@estesark) said on 30th November 2011, 0:07

    There are clearly too many suitably qualified/talented drivers for the number of cars available in F1 at the moment. I don’t think many people outside of Ferrari want to see teams running three cars, so that begs the question: where is the 13th team? There isn’t going to be one in 2012, is there? By 2013, I expect quite a few spaces to open up through retirements (Schumacher, Barrichello, Trulli, de la Rosa), so the need won’t be so great, but for next year it would definitely benefit the sport.

    • I think Lotus moving for Kimi demonstrates the opposite. There are plenty of young drivers itching to get their hands on a seat for 2012, lots of them already attached to teams; Vergne, Ricciardo, Grosjean for example. The fact that Lotus (who have 2 arguably sprea drivers) have gone to a driver who left years ago to fill one of the vacant seats doesn’t demonstrate a lot of belief to me.

      If I was Grosjean or Senna I think I would be very surprised, and not a little bit p****d off.

      Will be interesting to see how Red Bull solve their 4 into 2 problem; I don’t see them going outside of their current young driver programme like Lotus have.

  12. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 30th November 2011, 0:09

    All world champions of the millenium are participating in 2011. When was the last time that happened?

    • Estesark (@estesark) said on 30th November 2011, 0:51

      All world champions of the millennium are not participating in 2011. They probably will all be participating in 2012, however. Assuming that’s what you meant:

      All world champions of the millennium have never participated in 2012, because we haven’t got to 2012 yet. They have all participated in F1 seasons before 2012, however. Assuming that’s what you meant:

      That was the case from the moment Giuseppe Farina won the inaugural championship in 1950 to the moment Alberto Ascari was killed in 1955. So the answer is 1951-1955. That was only the other time, because Formula One has only existed in two millennia: this one and the last one!

  13. Lord Stig (@lord-stig) said on 30th November 2011, 0:12

    I have been a Kimi fan for years and am happy to see him back. However, I really hope we get a Kimi who is really interested in racing. I couldn’t care less about him appearing in some watch ad or something else. If he drives like he did in races such as Japan 2005 then great.

    For the most part I think this whole motivation issue has been blown out of proportion. For example, in the 2009 Malaysian GP he had a KERS failure which would have meant he could not restart even if the race did. I am not sure about 2008 necessarily but clearly there were issues with the car and him not getting heat into the tires compared to Massa.

  14. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 30th November 2011, 0:49

    I’m sorry but as soon as one of us are in the position where we are running an F1 team, and Kimi Raikkonen wants to negotiate a deal to drive for us, we can’t be as negative as a lot of the comments on here.

    You all moan when pay drivers, or drivers of little experience are hired, but then an underdog signs a WDC and everyone jumps to how Lotus-Renault have made the wrong decision.

    Jesus, don’t moan at Kimi, think of people that really shouldnt be in the sport. He’s a WDC that just happens to have tested himself in other series. Sure, it failed, but full marks for having the guts to step outside such a comfort zone.

  15. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 30th November 2011, 1:16

    Who said things will be boring between Brazil 2010 & Australia 2011.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.