Kimi Raikkonen

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.
Show full PR text
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."