We expected Kimi Raikkonen to return to Formula 1, but we didn't expect it to be with Lotus. The 2007 world champion, as you may recall, left Ferrari and all of F1 at the end of 2009, competing in the meantime in the World Rally Championship and in NASCAR. Rumors of his potential return to F1 have been circulating ever since, and have now been confirmed by way of a two-year contract with Lotus Renault GP starting next season.

The Finnish driver's return answers a number of questions: For one thing, who would fill injured driver Robert Kubica's seat while he recovers. For another, Kimi was linked to a drive next season with Williams, leaving Rubens Barrichello – the oldest driver on the grid – to potentially continue for at least another season. With Kimi back behind the wheel next year, it should be an interesting season of F1 racing ahead. Follow the jump for the official announcement.
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Kimi Räikkönen back in F1 with LRGP in 2012

Enstone, Tuesday 29th November 2011

Lotus Renault GP is pleased to announce that Kimi Räikkönen will race for the team next season. The 2007 World Champion, who left Formula 1 at the end of 2009 to pursue a career in rallying, has decided to make a comeback at the pinnacle of single-seater racing. He has now signed a two-year agreement with Lotus Renault GP.

Kimi's F1 roll of honour includes 18 wins, 62 podiums and 16 pole positions. This experience and success is sure to help the team make a step forward next year. The 32-year-old Finn's commitment indeed makes for a vote of confidence in Lotus Renault GP, demonstrating the team's determination and new philosophy for the seasons ahead.

Kimi Räikkönen: "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."

Gérard Lopez, Genii Capital, Chairman: "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."


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  • 29 Comments
      typhoon5000
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is it it me or does he look like Michael J. Fox with long blonde hair in that pic?
      Squawk3000
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Iceman is back!
      Kronos
      • 3 Years Ago
      Welcome back, Kimi. Six former world champs on grid in 2012 - woot! "Rubens Barrichello – the oldest driver on the grid" Wrong.
      WatchF1
      • 3 Years Ago
      AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW YEAH!!!!!!!!! But seriously, the guy brings a rabid fanbase. He brings brilliant car control. He makes people WANT Lotus / Renault to win. He makes his teammates (whether it's Grosjean or Senna) work harder for their seat. He will demand a better car from Lotus, and make the most from his car, similar to how Alonso pushes independent of the car he's given. This is a win for F1 fans. It is a win for Lotus. It is a win for F1. So much "win".
      bleexeo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Cool. And now 6 World Champs competing together. Let's hope Austin works out. Raikkonen/Senna would bring some great name recognition to the team - and to fans - even though Bruno may not be the best driver.
      _I_I_II_I_I_
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is very, very good news.
      Myself
      • 3 Years Ago
      If Hamilton and his bros continue their best to sent him out to history as a one hit wonder, Kimi'll be back in McLaren alongside Jenson in 2013. Hamilton contract expires in 2012 and McLaren aren't that keen to have him on board.
        AndyMidd
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Myself
        This comment is completely wrong. McLaren are currently pursuing Hamilton to sign a contract for after next year - Hamilton himself is delaying it.
        The Law
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Myself
        You really think McLaren would ever kick Hamilton for Kimi? Kimi is talented but, he's not exactly people friendly, he couldn't bring as much sponsors as Hamilton or Button and he's not British. In 2007 as a rookie driver he lost the WDC by one point to some very experience drivers one of them a double world champion, 2008 he did win the WDC and so far he only had one bad year on he's resume so calling him a one hit wonder, makes me wonder are you now to F1? Perhaps you've been watching to much Nascar lately?
          lorenzo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @The Law
          Kimi is a smart driver, Hamilton is an emotional driver. McLaren likes smart drivers.
          The Law
          • 3 Years Ago
          @The Law
          @lorenzo McLaren problem with Kimi was the fact that he didn't try hard enough if he felt the car wasn't competitive. No team wants a driver with that mind state. So McLaren likes fighters not quitters.
        tjon901
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Myself
        Mclaren have been investing in Hamilton since he was like 12 they arent going to get rid of him any time soon.
      Shane Gardner
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wonder where this leaves Senna as far as his role with the team next year.
      Big Bird
      • 3 Years Ago
      Cool! My favorite drunkard! Can't wait to here again about the s**t he took :D Love ya, Kimi!!!
      Quinn Salinder
      • 3 Years Ago
      If only kubica would run alongside Kimi next year, they would have the distinct possibility to tear **** up!
        onewayroll
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Quinn Salinder
        They wouldn't be tearing anything up in the Lotus...just not a competitive car.
          WatchF1
          • 3 Years Ago
          @onewayroll
          You can't speak to next year's car and it's general competitiveness. You can speak to how much money they'll have "generally" to develop over the season, given their standings in the Constructor's. However, Kimi has a quality that attracts both sponsors and paying fans. Trust me. They'll get better sponsorship money from signing Raikkonen than they will from letting Vitaly "pay his way in".
      dadslife83
      • 3 Years Ago
      Kimi comments on his return > http://youtu.be/hu8Uy9PkS5g
      Carbon Fibre
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good, getting sick of Hamilton and Webber all the time ahead. Let's create some variety here...
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