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Raikkonen makes dramatic F1 comeback with Lotus Renault
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Nov 2011   |  10:26 am GMT  |  324 comments

Kimi Raikkonen, Formula 1′s most enigmatic driver, will make it a record six world champions on the F1 grid next year when he lines up to race with Lotus Renault.

Fans have been on tenterhooks for months to see whether the 2007 world champion, who is still only 32 years old, would make a comeback, following in the footsteps of Michael Schumacher, who spent three years on the sidelines before coming back with Mercedes in 2010.

Like Schumacher, Raikkonen was eased into early retirement by Ferrari. The Finn has been in rallying since he was dropped by the Scuderia after a disappointing 2009 campaign, but started talking to Williams in September about making an F1 comeback. They got a long way down the line, even to the point of discussing promotional days, but it didn’t work out.

Instead he has done a deal with Lotus Renault, with whom he had a bit of a spat in September 2010 over the subject of a potential comeback. At that time it was a rumour which the team was openly discussing and the Finn didn’t like them using his name in that way “for their marketing purposes.”

Boullier at the time questioned Raikkonen’s motivation: “I would have to speak personally with him first, look him in the eyes to see if I see enough motivation there for him to return to F1,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to hire somebody, even a former world champion, if you cannot be sure that his motivation is still 100%. Why should you invest in somebody who leaves you guessing.”


The question of motivation is one that has troubled teams about a possible return, but the signs are clearly there that the Finn still feels he has unfinished business in F1 and also an appetite to earn some more money.

Raikkonen himself says that motivation is no problem, “I wouldn’t come back if I wouldn’t be motivated,” he said. “There’s always a lot of talk about the motivation but nobody really knows what I do or what I think apart from myself, so I don’t really care what people say. I enjoy [being able] to come back, I wouldn’t put my name in a contract if I wouldn’t think that I would really enjoy it. So it will be interesting and it will be exciting to get back.”

It looks like Boullier and Raikkonen have put all that behind them now with this exciting deal, which is great news for F1 fans as it brings back one of the best supported drivers, witha a huge world wide fanbase.

“My time in the World Rally Championship has been a useful stage in my career as a driver, “he said. “but I can’t deny the fact that my hunger for F1 has recently become overwhelming,” he said. “It was an easy choice to return with Lotus Renault GP as I have been impressed by the scope of the team’s ambition.”

Raikkonen has 18 wins, 62 podiums and 16 pole positions to his credit. He is also close friends with reigning champion Sebastian Vettel, who is a neighbour in Switzerland.

Team owner Gerard Lopez said, “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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324 Comments
  1. Paul W says:

    No Kubica then … unless he can return and form one of the best partnerships throughout the entire grid!

    Glad to see Kimi back, but would also love to see Kubica return soon!

    1. coefficient says:

      Kubica is out of contract as of 1/1/2012. He won’t be back in a Renault. My money is on Kubica spending a year testing Ferrari F1 machinery as a sort of rehabilitation program before returning to competition with the Scuderia in 2013.

      1. freaky says:

        could be a safe bet?

      2. Ricky says:

        Would be best for both RK and Ferrari. RK could use all the facilities in Maranello to rehab his racing skills while Ferrari gets a lot of publicity and “white knight” elements from it. Plus they might utilize RK in way which could help them to develop their 12 and 13 challengers.

        Not to mention this fires an ultimatum to FM too as if there was enough of that already!

      3. Dimitar Kadrinski says:

        I hope not. They are very close friends with alonso. Racing in the same team will definitely ruin the friendship there… it will be ugly!

      4. Coefficient says:

        I would expect FA to be looking out for his friend RK by recommending him to the team but on the flip side there is probably an assumption that should RK be able to race in F1 again, he will be blunted slightly and therefore make a great no.2.

      5. Andy C says:

        Not sure I agree, as Robert was described by Alonso quite recently as the person he thought was the best driver in the world before his crash.

      6. markdartj says:

        I think you underestimate the severeness of Robert’s injuries. I believe it has been understated in the press, but it is going to take years for RK to be able to perform at an F-1 level. I know this from experience (the injury, not the F-1 drive, ha ha). Nerve connections take a long time to re-establish, even with the best physical therapy in the world. Until then, I don’t think his fine motor skills will be sufficient to be able to operate in an modern F-1 environment. I would be happy to be proved wrong, but having almost severed a finger, I still don’t have full function of my hand after 15 years. Best of luck to him, though.

      7. Chris says:

        It’s like you read my mind. Would be fantastic to see Kimi and Kubica in the same team though.

    2. Bob says:

      Cant wait to see all 6 world champs on the starting grid in HD on BBC. Oh hang on . . .

      1. Doug says:

        Classic! :-)

    3. herowassenna says:

      I cannot be bothered reading all through the comments, so I’ll put mine in right away.

      Oh Joy… Kimi’s back… can’t wait to see the Ice Cream man being humbled by Petrov or Grosjean or anyone.
      I hope Kubica doesn’t return to Renault for Kimi’s sake

    4. One lunger says:

      Forgot to mention Kimi is 3rd on the record list for fastest laps, with 35.

    5. Steven says:

      I honestly dont see RK in a F1 car ever again. Theres no way he can regain all the sencitivity and strenght to his hands. Perhaps he might race in other type of cars, but not F1.

      I hope Im wrong though…

  2. Chris_NZ says:

    I missed Kimi.
    F1 2012 is going to be a cracker! Every world champion is on the grid since the year 2000.
    I wonder who is going be his team mate?
    Grosjean, Senna or Petrov?

    1. Phil says:

      Petrov still has a contract with the team, so should remain there for 1 more year.

      1. Kris says:

        Reminder: Nick Heidfeld
        lol…

        Bully Boullier isn’t one who fears firing his drivers.

      2. Stefanos says:

        Didn’t they have to pay him some sort of compensation in the end? They didn’t get far with Senna either. A series of bad calls by Messier Boulier…

    2. Horoldo says:

      What about Ricciardo? Red Bull Renault Connection. Good way to further his F1 education beside a former champion. And Renault get their prefered mix of experience and youth.

    3. Seeing that none of them have outshone Petrov in the car, why bother replacing him? He brings money and got some good results… why pay Senna to get the same results?

      If Grosjean either stuns in testing, or brings some cash, there’s no reason to replace Petrov. Renault should send him to sports cars for a season (like Bruno Senna and Michael Schumacher did) before reconsidering him in 2013.

      1. Robert says:

        The idea behind Petrov was that he is Russian and would provide a link to Russian business, which has not come to fruition. Why stick with Petrov? Ricciardo could perform well, and one will never know until he is placed into a race seat. Petrov has performed well I think, earning a podium earlier in the year when the Renault had speed. Within the team, from the engineers, they’ll be able to weight the pro/con of retaining Petrov or moving forward with another driver.

    4. markdartj says:

      Any truth to the rumor that Mika Hakkinen is in negotiations for the other seat?

  3. Timo says:

    James,

    Pasting below for your readers a link to KR’s first video interview as a Lotus driver.

    http://www.f1talks.pl/2011/11/29/wywiad-z-raikkonenem/

    Cheers

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks very much, I made it into a separate post

  4. Nick Price says:

    No doubt the ice man returning is going to be awesome for the sport, whats also going to be interesting is who is going to be filling the seat in the sister LRGP…

    1. Dimitar Kadrinski says:

      It will be awesome for he sport, but also for Sky…. a lot more subscribers!!! Makes you wonder if they have ‘helped’ lotus in to the decision….

    2. Richard Mee says:

      Land Rover GP???

      ps(I know)

      1. Ben S says:

        I’m not sure they’d make the 107% rule.

        Conjoured up some great images though. Thankyou!

      2. markdartj says:

        Ha Ha, You would have nuts and bolts falling off on the track, and the switches on the steering wheel wouldn’t work.

    3. Petrov… brings decent results and also brings money. Why replace him, unless they can get some other kid with a little more talent and as much money?

      Kimi’s salary has to come from somewhere!

  5. Dan says:

    Great news for the worlds F1-lovers. Kimi will make F1 exciting again!

    1. **Paul** says:

      If the LRGP is even half good get your dosh on Kimi to win at Spa, the guy just owns that place!

      1. Jose Arellano says:

        +1000

  6. Brad says:

    Best news in ages!!! Welcome back Iceman!!!

  7. Adelaide says:

    This is great news! Can’t wait for the first press conference with Kimi, and his immortal line: “We’ll have to wait and see”.

    Here’s hoping he’ll be racing like he did before 2008.

    1. Peter says:

      How about “For sure we go for the win.”
      That was always a favourite.

      1. ESLKid75 says:

        How about his “I think so that it was a good race”… Somebody should tell him! :-)

      2. kkp0897 says:

        lol….another one of his favourites is “We’ll see how it goes”

  8. Dan Orsino says:

    !Kimster to Pilot Resurgent Renault?
    B R I L L I A N T !

    But James, now I’ll have to take out that sky subscription.
    Damn. Damn. Damn.

    1. GMAP says:

      I have to agree this is the thing above all else that may tempt me to buy the Sky pack.

    2. T says:

      Dang! You’re right!

      1. Nick says:

        I wonder if Sky were in any way instrumental in bringing this about.

        Not that I’ve any reason to believe they had, but its a good coup for them having what has to be regarded as possibly the best line up ever, with a quarter of the grid being world champions.

    3. Joanna says:

      Add a trip to Spa as well.

      You’re not going to miss seeing Kimi be the first driver to win Spa for THREE different teams!

    4. madmax says:

      The Sky thing is annoying.

      If they don’t get the extra subscribers they need they won’t even see the end of their contract like seems to be happening with sky German coverage.

      I hope it happens in the UK for the good of the sport so I don’t want to help them in anyway by subscribing!

      1. Doug says:

        To say thanks to Sky for spoiling my F1 viewing, I’ll be getting rid of my 2 sky boxes, movie package & kids package (£60 a month) and taking out a freeview package with Virgin media next month!

        I suggest all you F1 fans out there with Sky do the same.

        I will be watching F1 live next year using a satalite dish & Belgium FTA coverage. Nice! :-)

      2. madmax says:

        Nice one Doug!

        The more people do the same the quicker this fiasco will be over.

        I was thinking RTL for FTA and 5live for the commentary!

      3. Sufyaan Patel says:

        Hi Doug,

        Quite keen to hear more about this set-up where you can pick up German/Belgian channels to watch live coverage. What do I need to complete the set-up?

        I’m currently with Virgin Media and subscribed to their standard package.

    5. AA says:

      Sky are starting a dedicated F1 Channel for only a tenner a month. People spend more for coffee in a week.

      If you had plans on giving F1 up, now would not be the time.

      Go the IceMan!

      1. Andy says:

        If you already have Sky Sports though which would set you back £35 plus doesn’t it? Sky = the devil.

      2. HFEVO2 says:

        Where does it say you can buy the Sky F1 channel on it’s own for £10pm ?

        As far as I know, to watch the nine or ten races not shown live on the BBC you have to buy the whole package for a ridiculous £50pm.

        I too will be looking to RTL

      3. fatbloke says:

        the f1 channel will be free to hd subscribers you dont need the sports pack. still 30 sheets o month tho. 20 basic pack plus 10 for hd,

  9. Rafael / Seville says:

    So the next hot seat is now at Williams.

    Will keep Rubens his seat there?

    If not, Sutil / Maldonado line up sound as exciting as Wurz / Nakajima one…

    Nothing against these drivers, but Williams without some glamorous name is not the same.

    1. Ralf F says:

      The next hot seat is the other LRGP seat! Petrov better watch his back! How about a Kimi/Sutil pairing?

      1. James F says:

        A certain nightclub incident involving Sutil might stop any chance of a Renault seat.

      2. Liam in Sydney says:

        Yeah, but this is F1 where money is King. If Adrian can bring even more money to Renault than currently, then I bet such past misdemeanors can be overlooked. Anyhing for more money!!

      3. DK says:

        Ha ha ha, remember Kimi used to be Adrian Sutil’ s bogey man in 2008?

      4. K says:

        LOL great reminder :D :D :D

      5. Makes sense… Sutil also brings money, and is probably a little faster than Petrov.

        …but have Eric Lux’s wounds healed enough to forgive and forget? ;-)

    2. Mattij says:

      :D

      Wurz – Nakajima indeed!

      Okay, Sutil “did very well” sometimes, but he must be one of the least charismatic drivers out there…

      May they should gamble with Valtteri Bottas, and hope for the best. Who knows, maybe he is brilliant!

  10. StallionGP F1 says:

    This is indeed good news d fans favourite driver is back, welcome back the ICEMAN

    1. herowassenna says:

      I really don’t get this fanatical support for Raikkonen.

      Yes, he’s a good driver, but some of what I’m reading is like he’s the coming Messiah.

      I’ll wait and see, but don’t be surprised to see his team-mate beating him 50% of the time.

      1. K says:

        People love him not only for his driving ability, but also for his character which you don’t find in anyone else on the grid for the past God knows how many years, possibly since Irvine days.

  11. kidVermin says:

    THat almost confirms it then, Barrichello stays at Williams… I’m quite excited for this pairing of KR and LRGP… The Driver cn definately do it and the Engineers are quite good, we might not see a Championship challenge but I’m sure that this announcement isn’t exactly the best news to Mercedes GP.

    1. JamesW says:

      Aren’t Williams using Renault engines next year. Maybe Renault will try and persuade Williams to take one of their refugees or protoges?

      1. K says:

        possibly Renault said “Right, we’re having Kimi and you can get a discount on the engines”

        =)

    2. CraigD says:

      I’m not so sure. Sutil looks like he’s near to signing on the dotted line for them.

      1. Bob says:

        Surely Renaults works team (RedBull) will get one of their drivers in at Williams. Ricciardo?

      2. Coefficient says:

        LRGP drivers are nothing to do with Renault the engine supplier. They are Genii capital drivers!

        Could F1 stomach seeing the Senna name back in a Williams?

      3. Nick T. says:

        Exactly. Lotus is as much Renault as Toro Rosso is Ferrari. I guarantee that Williams is not going to accept excess baggage drivers from Genii capital. I’ll be surprised if Genii Capital F1 can sustain funding through 2013. Look for them to become Burger King F1 by mid-season 2012.

        More than losing out on a competitive, I think the major blow to Williams from this Raikkonen fallout is that they retain the stagnant image of a team being torn apart by management that refuses to adapt to their situation. Williams is my favorite team, but this result leaves a bad taste in my mouth. They better produce a ridiculously over-achieving car next year…

      4. coefficient says:

        Indeed, Red Bell are the “works” Renault team nowadays.

  12. Lez Martin says:

    According the LRGP website, it is a 2yr deal, surely this wont be enough, to get Kimi where he wants to be, which is fighting for wins, mind you, having said that, maybe the team have something up their sleeves, and can do what Ross Brawn did, and propel themselves towards, (and win amongst), the big teams…the one thing that troubles me, in the above statement though is ‘ an appetite to earn some more money’, I mean is it the money, or will it be to head towards glory?…..

    1. Pete says:

      i believe kimi was sponsoring his own rally team…which means a lot of $$ is down the drain. So yes, this is about money unfortunately :(

      1. Lez Martin says:

        “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,” Says Gerard Lopez,He goes on… “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”…but will the motivation be there from Raikkonen?…if its all about the money, Schumacher has done ok, since his return, but hasnt really been up there, so it will probably end up with Kimi and Micheal seeing who can better each other, rather than any serious challenge up front, (I must admut, Ive never been a fan of either driver….)

      2. Robert says:

        The Schumacher/Kimi comparisons aren’t accurate, much like comparing apples to oranges. Schumi lacked speed, but made up for it with drive and work ethic. On the other hand, Kimi had just immense natural talent, he did not need to work as hard to find speed in the car. also, Schumi needed a full year and a half to really come to grips with the current cars – I don’t think Kimi will need as much time.

        *Having unlimited testing, tires made to suite your driving to a ‘t’, and a team willing to hire drivers whose soul purpose is to help you, Kimi, Alonso, or Vettel would’ve absolutely dominated, much in the same way Schumacher did.

  13. alex says:

    Mixed feeling. Don’t want to see Shumi’s like comeback. James, it looks like Kubica-Ferrary deal is done. what is your opinion?

    1. James Allen says:

      No deal done until it’s clear his hand works properly

      1. Ed says:

        Do you see LRGP and RK as a marriage that has not finished then James?

      2. K says:

        I think Kubica would rather divorce his spouse which he has just done for free (from 1/1/2012 onwards).

        Renault ain’t exactly a great team for wins, let alone WDCs.

      3. Ben says:

        Given that a lot of people suspect Massa’s lack of performance is due to his accident and time out of the cockpit I would be shocked if Ferrari replaced him with a driver who had suffered an even more serious accident and had more than a year out of the cockpit. The result of Kubica’s accident is not just the physical injury – the drop in physical fitness as a result of not racing or training will be even more detrimental.

        If Massa performs at a similar level against Alonso in 2012 as he did in 2010/2011 I think it would be crazy of Ferrari to risk replacing him with another driver whose race pace will be a complete unknown.

        I think it is sad what has happened to both Massa and Kubica, as prior to their accidents they were two very talented drivers. However, because Massa’s accident happened while he was driving a Ferrari it meant Ferrari no doubt felt an obligation to him to give him the chance to resume his career.

        And, while Kubica certainly demonstrated that he had a ton of potential which he never got the opportunity to prove it is highly unlikely that when he returns he will be able to operate at the same level. Unlike Massa, Ferrari don’t owe Kubica anything, which is why I find it strange they would consider risking their championship fight by giving him a drive.

      4. Persi says:

        I think you’ve summed it up nicely.

      5. AA says:

        +1

        Seems to be a lot of wishful thinking from Kubica fans. Robert’s injuries were far more serious as his hands/arms were damaged. This would affect hand movement and his reflexes. In the split second environment of F1, good reflexes are crucial.

        Ferrari are more likely to replace Massa with a rookie like Perez (perhaps Bianchi if they can do a deal with another team to give him some F1 experience). Massa similarly came from Sauber, and Perez has driven very well this year (for a rookie).

  14. Maneesh Maharana says:

    Payback time.

    It was in 2009 when a driver was dropped even after having a season which incredible considering the car he had .Highest scorer in the 2nd half of the season barring hamilton.

    The driver wins a race in what was aruguably the 5th best car of the season at that moment . The driver said that he loved the team and was happy and even said that he had a contract. The next race again he was on podium ,but the whole world was watching the developments as santander bought alonso a seat. The driver still kept scoring in a car that was more of a car(t).
    What did alonso do that justified the decision . the stats say it all. The driver who left was the last one to get em championship 2WCC’s and 1WDC . THE DRIVER IS BACK AND HAS SOME UNFINISHED BUSINESS. Game On.!!

    1. Brad says:

      True, his loyalty to Ferrari was well known…and they sacked him like a dry potato. I have no good wishes for Dominecalli, may they never win a championship under his management EVER!

    2. Remco says:

      At Spa 2009 the Ferrari was the 2nd best car at that moment, behind Force India. Wouldn’t it be for KERS, he would have been 2nd behind Fisichella.

      The Ferrari of 2009 was not very good, but I think is was the 3rd fastest car on the grid. Felipe Massa’s accident in Hungary resulted in at least 10 points less for the Scuderia, which would have put them above McLaren in the constructors championship.

      1. Maneesh Maharana says:

        Ferrari being the 2nd best car in spa that year is not true . Brawn, BMW and even toyota seemed fasted then Ferrari that weekend.

        And about ferrari being the 3rd fastest car that season. Lewis was challenging for victories by the end of the season the car was no way worse than the ferrari for most of the season and bmw too was consistantly there ,even toyota.

      2. devilsadvocate says:

        Don’t know where you get that, I feel I distinctly remember Ferrari very publicly announcing that they had pulled the plug on their 2009 car at least a round or two before Spa, it was a dog plain and simple just look how Fisi got on with it the following round in monza. Even after some simulator time to get used to the layout, the same driver that hounded Kimi for every single lap of spa in a force india was suddenly fighting to just barely take home points in the same car. Even at the end of the season Kimi was still way above Fisichella.

      3. Remco says:

        Yeah, you’re both right. After looking at wikipedia I have to come to the conclusion that my memory is not quite what it used to be.

        Thanks for correcting me.

    3. MISTER says:

      You’re a joke man if you think Alonso did not performed in the last 2 seasons..

      Can’t even believe some of the people here..the hate…the hate!!! :))

    4. KRB says:

      Agree with Remco. No way was it the 5th fastest at the time of Spa. And for sure having Badoer (it’s right in the name, Bad) in the Ferrari lost them their place in the WCC to McLaren.

    5. CraigD says:

      While it’s great Raikkonen is back, Alonso has definitely been great for Ferrari. Destroyed Massa and would have won the championship last year if it wasn’t for his team. You can’t say he’s not cutting it. Raikkonen just didn’t fit with Ferrari.

      Also, for the most of the year the McLaren was inferior to Ferrari.

    6. Kev says:

      “Highest scorer in the 2nd half of the season barring hamilton.” – so that’ll be the second highest scorer then! Lol

    7. Mingojo says:

      Could you explain how Massa dominated Kimi in 2008?

      1. Brad says:

        Mingojo,

        With the help of Schumie and those loyal to Massa, they pushed the development front to better suit Massa. Which translates to the car being understeery not oversteery the way Kimi likes it. It’s evident from Malasia onwards…

      2. DK says:

        The entire Ferrari management was siding Massa in 2008 after his spin out of the race in Malaysia …. and not forgetting Shumi the wise one.

    8. Justin Bieber says:

      Kimi was sacked because he was lazy, had no leadership and was out performed by Massa for 2 straight year.

      You can blame Alonso all you want but Kimi brought this on himself.

      1. azac21 says:

        Guys, get a grip.
        Kimi was great drivee who lost his drive. Literally, metaphoricaly and fairly!

      2. herowassenna says:

        At 43, I normally struggle with any mention of the words Justin and Bieber…….

        But today, my faith has been restored, big thumbs up man.

  15. Kieron says:

    Superb, however was I the only one who hearing Lotus was confused and assumed the Caterham team? Now that would have been special.

    1. CraigD says:

      Ha! Yeah when I first read it on twitter I assumed he was going to Team Lotus, which I thought, ‘Wow, great but that’ll be a challenge!’

      This will make Lotus Renault a slightly more appealing team now (I still hate the management though)! It’s hard to tell how competitive they’ll be though; they seem to have lost their way. I think they’ll be behind Mercedes in 6th again, who really need to step up next year. Rosberg really needs to start winning a race now.

      1. Persi says:

        Yeah I still think of them as just Renault, or Genii…Lotus part just doesn’t stick.

        Can’t stand Boullier.

      2. K says:

        “Can’t stand Boullier.”

        +10.

        I’d love to see him go. Even Dominiacali is better than Bully Boullier.

    2. j says:

      This poses an interesting question… If you were offered a drive from either Williams or Caterham which one would you take?

      Pretty brutal times for Williams if you even have to pause to answer this question.

      1. Simon Donald says:

        Caterham. Williams is the 2010′s version of the late nineties Tyrrell.

  16. Irish con says:

    Best news I have had in a long time. I’ve always supported Ferrari but Kimi was always my favourite driver. Now it’s just a shame that next year I will only see half of the races.

    1. Tuv says:

      The non-beeb races will be torrentable half an hour after the race. No biggie.

  17. gareth says:

    So that confirms that either Petrov or Senna will loose their seat. Could we see both drivers loose out in favor of Grosjean?

    1. Irish con says:

      I think petrov is a goner now already and if u compare petrov, senna and grosjean from there gp2 times petrov was the worst. Between senna and grosjean till Robert comes back.

      1. madmax says:

        In an ideal world yes but Petrov has good sponsorship with him which makes all the difference.

      2. Dren says:

        And Petrov improved 10 fold over last season.

      3. AA says:

        This one is too hard to call. A Raikkonen and Grosjean pairing is really like putting two rookies into an F1 car with no real experience with Pirelli tyres.

        However Mr Boulier manages Grosjean.

        But then again Petrov brings sponsorship to the team and has racing experience with the Pirelli typres.

        As for Senna, he performed better than Petrov in the 2nd half. But knowing Boulier, performance doesn’t mean much – so Senna may be another Brazilian out of a seat.

        It’s incredible how F1 teams are so spoilt for choice these days. But with no testing, sponsorship seats, lots of veterans (6 WDC on the grid next year) – no wonder we see the young boys sweating over their careers.

        As a Ricciardo fan, let’s recall that he is the only one to beat Vettel on a single lap in the same car (at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Young driver test). Yet, his future is not certain, as even he (as a rookie) is being pressured by another rising GP2 star (Vergne).

  18. Andy says:

    Great news! He has always been one of the most exciting racers on track, exactly what F1 is about, and seems like it’s exactly racing that Kimi has been missing more and more during his years in WRC.

    I can’t help but get the feeling that Kimi is not among James’ favorite drivers, especially with the comment implying Kimi is doing this for the money. I believe he is honest when he says he has grown hungry for F1 again, and that money talks are handled by the Robertsons, who naturally want as much as possible since their own income depends on it. I’m just happy to see one of the most talented drivers on the grid again!

    1. James Allen says:

      Where do I say he’s only “doing it for the money”?

      1. Mattij says:

        “…the Finn still feels he has unfinished business in F1 and also an appetite to earn some more money.”

        Caught my eye too. Don’t remember James often mentioning money-making motivation when referring to other drivers…

      2. Brad says:

        Clearly James states “he has unfinished business” too?. As a big Kimi fan I was really disappointed that Kimi did’nt take the Mclaren offer because of money issues. And I’m sure it was definately a big consideration in getting back into the sport. I think as someone else has stated he is a shrewd businessman, and he deserves to be. So I think it’s solid reporting from JA. Does’nt diminish his talents in an F1 car in any way.

      3. stickan75 says:

        He was fed up with politics, and Mclaren wanted him do to 500 PR days/season – not apealing to Kimi at the time..

      4. Andy says:

        I didn’t mean to imply that you think his only motivation was money, but I get the feeling from your writing that you believe money played a big part in his decision, even bigger than for other drivers, why else would you mention it like that. All the world champions are payed according to their champion status, I don’t recall anyone saying Schumacher had “appetite to earn more money” when reporting his comeback, yet I’m sure he isn’t driving for free. Hence, I got the feeling you may not appreciate Kimi’s talent as high as, say, Schumacher’s or Alonso’s.

      5. James Allen says:

        He’s made a huge amount of money in his career, he was earning over €30m a yeat at Ferrari and probably 1/2 to 2/3 of that at McLaren, so he’s wealthy beyond imagination. I doubt he’s spent it all, but you never know..anyway my point is that he clearly still has an appetite to earn money

      6. K says:

        +1 on James Allen here actually.

        From what he wrote, I never got the impression that James felt Kimi is coming back purely for money.

        With the money Kimi has earned, even if he buys 10 Veyrons (which no one would) he’d still have more than enough to do anything in the world he wants.

        Besides, he and his manager run their own F3 team which is another area of business. I doubt Kimi relies on his F1 income alone.

      7. K says:

        By the way James, any news/info on Kimi’s salary from Renault Lotus Genni or whatever they are called now?

    2. quest says:

      I doubt money is Kimi’s primary motivation. People say this because as it turned out he stood to make more in 2010 not driving that taking a seat. But the fact is over a period of time, not just 2010, he would have probably have made more money if he had chosen to stay back in F1. So if money was his motivation he would have taken one of the available seats even with a salary cut rather than face the uncertainty of whether he would ever get to return. The way things panned out in 2009, at that point, i guess he just felt he would be happier away from the sport and decided to walk away.

  19. Chapor says:

    The Iceman cometh! Now everybody.. Chill!

    Sorry… couldn’t resist… :-)

  20. Tom says:

    I noticed that there was no statement from Boullier in the announcement, but there was from Gérard Lopez. Anything significant about that?

    Seems a bit odd not to have a statement from the team principal about the new driver, especially when it is Raikkonen.

    1. quest says:

      I also noticed the same. Is it possible that Boullier won’t be team principal next year. Or maybe we are reading too much into it.

      My favourite driver coming back with the team I dislike the most. But then Kimi at LRGP anyday over no Kimi in F1.

      1. DK says:

        Me too …. I hope Boulier goes elsewhere as I hate to see a repeat of Heifeld saga.

      2. Desmonaut says:

        +1

        [mod] as you so rightly point out, Kimi at LRGP is anyday better than no Kimi in F1.

        This is terrific – to have him back. God, wish that car were half-good and to see him race again at Spa and Suzuka.

    2. madmax says:

      Also noticed that, I’d say Boullier is out soon and also the chances of his managed driver Grosjean.

    3. Dren says:

      Perhaps a Flavio return…?

      1. James Allen says:

        More chance of being struck by lightning!

      2. K says:

        hAHaHahhAHahhAhaHA luv this one from James :D

      3. K says:

        James, there were photographs of Flav being in Ferrari garage.

        http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s720x720/379555_1961931066391_1786271045_1298906_843671016_n.jpg

        Could this mean Flav is planned by Montezemolo to replace Dominicali in the future?

      4. AA says:

        Flavio manages Alonso (and Webber) so it wouldn’t be too surpising to see him there.

        Although with no date on the photo, we don’t know when it was taken. It could have been early on during the season. Perhaps at Monaco – we know he has a yatch moored there.

        But as James said, the chances are small – Flav himself has rubbished rumours about a come back a while ago.

  21. Turbo says:

    Great to see another F1 champ on the grid, however i wish his comeback was with Williams as Frank needs a F1 champ to bring in some extra sponsors and move the team up the grid.

    I Hope Romain Grosjean gets a 2nd chance with the team

    1. JEVthebest says:

      Me too, he’s far better than senna and petrov

  22. Matt S says:

    Great to have Kimi back but where does this leave the others, especially Kubica ?

    So they’ll end Petrov’s contract early if Kubica is ready mid-way through 2012? Unlikely I think if there are financial penalties.

    Seats are rapidly disappearing in this game of musical chairs.

  23. Vida says:

    WOOOHOOOOO THE ICEMAN is back… welcome back Kimi…

  24. Steve Rogers says:

    So Lotus Renault now have FIVE drivers… that’s not going to work :-)

    1. K says:

      Yup, especially for their bank account lol…

  25. vvipkho says:

    Kimi The Iceman VS Heikki The Fireman. Both from Finland..
    Lotus Vs Caterham ..

  26. Richard says:

    Forza Kimi! This is fantastic news, I almost choked on my breakfast at my office desk reading the headline! :)

    I’m truly getting excited about 2012 now…a World Champion in each of the top 5 teams, this has the hallmarks of an epic season!

    1. Weeraz says:

      Meanwhile, McLaren are just being greedy with two :P

      1. K says:

        Well nothing stopped the other 4 teams being greedy as well LOL…

  27. Krishna says:

    I’m super stoked to see Kimi back in the reckoning, now if only Renault can get a car to do his talent justice.

    James, any ideas as to who his teammate will be and what news of drivers at Williams? Will Rubens be pushed out to have Sutil and Maldanado there? I hope Rubens gets another year…

  28. Brad says:

    Great headline pic chosen James

    1. Brad says:

      as great as the articles u write :-)

  29. Pete says:

    Quality…..2012 season cannot come soon enough! Articles like these are why I look at this site so many times in a day keep it up James and whoever works for ya, top stuff!!!

  30. Trixie says:

    Welcome back KIMI! Melbourne here I come.

    I get the feeling Renault now realised they erred in their decision not to have signed Kimi last year. Given such a promising start to 2011, but without an experienced champion driver to push them forward, they floundered soon after.
    Perhaps Boullier should’ve had closer look at the eyes of the drivers he signed up last year and he would’ve seen lack of top notch capabilities.
    Kimi and Kubica will make a formidable team.

  31. Ashwin says:

    If Renault can set aside the differences they had in 2010 to hire Kimi, then they can (should) as well settle down the differences with Sutil this year and hire him as well….

    Or, has this also already happened?
    :)

    Dare I say… Give your drivers a decent car Lotus Renault

  32. Alex says:

    I’m delighted to have read this! I must admit to be shocked though, not because of the comeback, but the team he has done it with. For the last few weeks there has been intentse speculation that Kimi would be at Williams, then out of the blue he has signed with Renault/Lotus. This is more surprisinf considering that he angrily reacted to having his name used at the beginning of the year.

    none the lesss as a massive Raikkonen fan I am extremely pleased to see him where he belongs!

  33. Number says:

    Really great news. Im a Ferrari fan, but hopefully he finishes every race in front of Alonso!

    1. mo kahn says:

      I don’t care where he finishes, a single on board lap from Kimi would be worth watching the entire race… so, yeah… bring it on :)

      1. carlys says:

        Same here just cant get over the fact that hes back… got to organise my SKY subscription now… Wow Wow wow . the iceman is back… pure unadulterated racing

    2. herowassenna says:

      What????!!!! When did you become a Ferrari fan, don’t tell me, during the Schumacher years no doubt!

      A real fan would know Alonso is the best driver we could possibly have.

      1. number says:

        yes, i admit that he is the best driver in F1 at the moment, with Vettel being really close, but Alonso made his opinion about Ferrari quite clear in 2006, and im not really ready to let that slide.

        he is the best, but id rather ferrari didnt have to pick him

      2. herowassenna says:

        Yes, I see what you mean.
        I still wouldn’t want a non Ferrari driver finishing ahead of our team though.

        To be fair to Alonso, and I may have forgotten all the details, but wasn’t he replying to what Todt had said about him.
        Todt had made comment that he only wanted the fastest driver, ie Raikkonen?
        I would imagine Alonso took offence at that.
        He also criticised Ferrari testing with Valentino Rossi which started words between them?

        I always got the impression that when Schumacher left Ferrari, so would Todt and Brawn.

        By hiring Raikkonen, they knew exactly what driver they were getting, fast but no driven man to build the team. Alonso is a team builder like Schumacher.
        If he had been signed for 2007, you would have seen Ferrari continue winning championships, not just luck into one like Kimi in 2007, thereby underlining that it was Ferrari that dominated not the Schumi/ Todt/ Brawn axis.

        Re: fan since 1990, it’s hard being a Ferrari fan sometimes. lol

      3. number says:

        ah yes, and im fan of ferrari since prost was there, would be longer but i wasnt alive :)

  34. Ajit says:

    Hi James

    How certain are you that Schumacher was eased into retirement by Ferrari? If I remember right Schumacher had 7 wins in 2006. The same as Alonso. It only makes sense to retain a driver who has been fighting for the championship every season. In Kimi’s case he was not performing and had no motivation.

    Good to see Kimi back. Would be interesting to see how quickly he gets back to speed.
    Cheers

    1. Alex says:

      Actually Kimi WAS performing, in the last 1/3 of 2009 season he managed to get more points than any1 else except for Hamilton who got 1 point more than him….he won in Spa and managed to get 2-3 ohter podiums with car that was quite bad, with car that Badoer or Fisico coulnt bring any results at all….

      It wasnt about Kimi’s motivation or his results on track, it was about Santander and the money they brought to Ferrari.

      1. herowassenna says:

        2nd, 3rd, 1st, 3rd, 10th, 4th 6th, 12th.
        His last 8 results from 2009, from Hungary after Massa’s accident till Abu Dhani.

        It highlights what happens when he was interested against how he performs when he’s bored or been informed he is being released from his contract.

        It was precisely because of his motivation that Ferrari sacked him/ bought him off/ eased him out, you choose which.
        Ferrari had signed Alonso for 2011, but worked for half of 2009 to come to an agreement with Kimi over MONEY, so they could get Alonso in earlier.
        If he had gone to another team, Ferrari wouldn’t have had to pay the full amount.
        If he was that highly rated, why didn’t Mclaren take him back for 2010?

        Ultimately, whilst I respect how fast Kimi can be, he is not a team motivator, a team builder or someone who can guide a team.
        Ferrari, need someone like that because quite simply, Ferrari is such a high pressure environment, it has to be a strong driver who commands respect.
        Schumacher was that type of driver, Senna would have been and Alonso definitely is.
        Kimi never claimed to be or was.

        Regarding Santander, Marlboro pays the big money at Ferrari, they are a secondary sponsor.

    2. Chetz says:

      Yes Kimi was not performing. perhaps you need to re-watch that 2009 season again with the “car” Ferrari had that year. also it says a lot when Ferrari haven’t won a single Drivers’ title since Kimi…

    3. Justin Bieber says:

      Schumacher was ease into retirement when Ferrari hired Kimi. The team needed to hire one of the next generation top driver because Shumacher was near the end of his career. I think the parking incident in Monaco was a big wake up call for Ferrari. They realize that schumacher, while still being fast, was starting to really loose it when the pressure was on. Schumacher didn’t want to go against Kimi and risk his reputation so he retired.

      1. Ajit says:

        Well lets just say that this is your theory and probably no one will know the answer to my question.

        But the parking incident was no wake up call for Ferrari. Ferrari have got down and dirty when they had to and they did it as a team. It makes no sense to single out the driver. And if you look at the 2007 season, Massa had twice the number of pole positions in that season. So it was not like Kimi destroyed Massa which extrapolates to the fact that he would beaten Schumacher to pulp hence ruining his reputation. But all of us know how many times Massa out performed Schumacher when they were paired. And if risking his reputation was a big deal for him then he would not have returned to the sport.

  35. Michael says:

    I think senna showed he deserves a seat, its a shame he is going to lose it now. Perhaps Rubens seat at Williams would be the best option for Bruno. On another point, I cannot see Lotus Renault dragging themselves back to the front anytime soon but in any case hiring Kimi is certainly not a step in the wrong direction.

  36. George says:

    So, next year, for those of us who don’t fancy Sky and want to watch Kimi, is there any reason a proxy/vpn service from the US and streaming live from Speed won’t work?

    1. Justin Bieber says:

      I believe SPEED is a paid channel(like SKY). I doubt they will stream the race and if they did you would have to be a paid member. If you want to decent speed proxy/vnp you will need to pay around 7$ per month. If SKY offer a 10$ per month F1 channel with extra content, why bother? I will probably signup with SKY at this price and I dont even live in the UK! While it’s not perfect, you should appreciate the coverage you have in the UK.

      1. Dren says:

        Yes, SPEED is a channel in certain cable/satelite TV packages in the States. I receive SPEED HD with my fiber optic Cinergy TV/Internet connection. It’s just over $100USD a month for both the HD TV package, HD DVR and high speed internet.

  37. Craig says:

    Second best news all year! Only beaten by the birth of my son. I cannot wait to see what he can do after 2 years out.

    1. mo kahn says:

      awww’ that is sweet :)

    2. Weeraz says:

      Putting your son in a kart at age 2? Future champ! Oh wait, you meant Kimi :P

    3. carlys says:

      For me… the best news of the year by far !

  38. goferet says:

    The Finn didn’t like them using his name in that way “for their marketing purposes.”
    ———————————————-

    Oooh, that humble pie must taste rather sour for Mr. Eloquent for didn’t he say he wouldn’t drive for a team that isn’t capable of fighting for the WDC.

    So, Vettel & Kimi are neighbours up in the alps & what’s more they’re mates – WHAT?!!!

    Maybe we have Vettel to thank for this news, also I have a feeling his next door neighbour plans to get his mate a seat at Red Bull come 2014!

    I think Petrov will partner Kimi for I don’t think Boullier is brave enough to snub the Kremlin!

    But something rather worrying for Williams’ fans is Frank Williams hard-line nature, he is single handedly destroying that former power house.

    First he refused to give Newey shares in his company which forced Newey to walk out.

    Then he got rid of Damon Hill, got rid of Montoya & now he has refused to bend over backwards for Kimi.

    Yes, too much stubbornness is one of the reasons why the Roman Empire collapsed.

    P.s.

    Ha, with Kimi back, I guess Vettel can kiss the fastest lap crown goodbye for good!

    1. James Allen says:

      Webber won the DHL Fastest Lap award this year…

    2. Athlander says:

      Regarding Newey & Williams, I’ve heard two stories: one is that Newey wanted to leave – partly due to the way Damon Hill was treated – and that Williams offered him shares to try and keep him, the other story is that he left because he wanted shares in Williams and was refused. Which is nearest the truth?

      1. James Allen says:

        He wanted to leave because of Damon’s treatment and because he wanted shares and because Ron made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

      2. garoidb says:

        A series of monumental errors by Williams then.

      3. Athlander says:

        Thanks for clearing that up James!

        I wonder how Williams, with the continuity of Newey staying, would have fared against the Schumacher-Todt-Brawn-Byrne era Ferrari. I suspect they would have needed something like McLaren’s partnership with Mercedes to be successful. I think this is what has caused their decline more than anything else – even though their partnership with BMW was problematic, it was still a relatively successful period for them.

      4. kkp0897 says:

        i wasn’t aware of the newly reasoning for leaving Williams but i’m glad someone cleared that up but what was the reasonin for newey to leave Mclaren? Adrian’s departure from Mclaren was widely speculated before it was official and the rumours at the time was that he was going to pursue another of his passions which is making boats… That never happened and he’s at redbull racing…. Somewhere he seems to feel more at home with.

        if Ron made him an offer he couldn’t refuse to leave williams, does it mean corner made adrian an even better oneto lure him away? Newey leaving a team tends to be a vacuum before a team regains its composure. Fortunately Mclaren were able to do so fairly swiftly whereas Williams has not favoured so well.

    3. Peter says:

      You forgot Villeneuve and Button. Both casualties of Williams. One a world champion and the other rated as a star of the future by Williams themselves. Williams used to be the team that got everything right, but it seems like Frank has made a lot of errors in the last 15 years… and their current grid position shows it.

      1. Michael C says:

        No kidding. I just watched a clip on GPUpdate showing Kimi’s Interlagos win in 2007. I couldn’t believe that Nico had the Williams up in 4th in that race. And where are Williams now? Uuuggggh…

    4. Andy C says:

      “He is single handedly destroying that team”

      Well, I’m not sure I agree. As he pretty much single handedly made the team what it is (with other key personnel) he should be given the benefit of the doubt.

      There is no sense in Williams paying kimi big bucks (i.e sponsor money just going straight out) if they’d be better spending it on developing the technical side of the company again (which after all has been its downfall – not the lack of good drivers on the whole).

      1. Milligan says:

        But did the sponsor give the money for a specific purpose like to pay kimi, or did they just gift it to frank williams as a early christmas present?

      2. Steve says:

        what’s wrong about getting rid of Damon Hill and Montoya?

      3. Ajay says:

        What’s wrong about throwing out the driver who managed to rally the troops after Senna’s death, finish 2nd twice and win the WDC the year you throw him out? And what’s wrong with throwing out possibly the most prolific non-Ferrari polesitter of the early 2000s?

        I don’t know. You tell me.

      4. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        Williams is a public company now and therefore has a responsibility to its shareholders. Whilst this is also true of private companies, they have the ability to think longer term. Public company shareholders want profits. Therefore paying Kimi might not have fit within the budget, nor may they have had the ability to simply give him shares.

      5. C-M says:

        Its always had a responsibility to its shareholders. The main shareholders are the same shareholders as when the team was successful.

  39. coefficient says:

    I’m not convinced Raikonen has made a good move here from a performance perspective. Renault have been losing key technical staff in droves lately and their performance on track has arguably reflected that. Also, Eric Boulier has a tendency to blame his drivers for all the team’s woes and they’re moved in and out whimsically is seems. The drivers always seem to be the ones to fall on the sword when actually the car just isn’t good enough. It was reasonable at the start of the year but they developed their way pretty promptly to the lower mid field early in the season and so poor old Nick had to take a bullet for the team. Incidentally, Mr. Heidfeld still finished 11th in the championship, just 3 points behind Petrov despite being out of a drive before Spa. Did they sack the wrong guy perhaps? Funding has also been called into question for the last 2 seasons, are they on the ropes financially? I certainly doubt they have the spending power to attack the top teams anymore.

    Further to this, I have a sneaking suspicion that Williams are at the beginning of a revival. Mike Coughlan has penned some pretty handy cars in the past even without the “Ferrari Dossier” (which I hate to mention because it’s boring old data and the guy has served his penance, but if I don’t nip it in the bud here we’ll end up back in the spygate debate for the 100th time, yawn). He’s been sat at Grove all year working solidly on next years Team Willy chariot and not once taken time out to attend trackside. They may just surprise a few people next year with the some decent mid field results that will provide the bedrock for further improvement in the coming seasons. As a racer I’d have gone to Williams but Raikonen has a desire to acquire equity in a team one day so this move is at least in part business motivated I believe. He has probably agreed some sort of equity deal in exchange for reduced salary knowing his presence will increase the value of shares in the team which he could then sell at a profit before absconding to a top team after proving his worth in the first season of his return.

    Cynical I know, but there are few drivers as shrewd as Kimi and I believe he has identified his trajectory back to the top already and it’s just a matter of following the plan. We shall see.

    1. mo kahn says:

      I don’t care what he does… I just wish whatever Kimi does must be in F1. Without him F1 has a different feel for me.

    2. Michael C says:

      “Renault have been losing key technical staff in droves lately and their performance on track has arguably reflected that.”

      Don’t forget that Renault rolled the dice big-time with their forward blowing exhaust. The car’s performance tanked after hot blowing was banned mid-season because the entire aero pkg. was designed around it. So this reflects early engineering gambles, not the later loss of engineering staff.

      Nonetheless, I still don’t see the team entering the top-4 next year. They may even face a significant threat from the team formerly known as “Midland F1″ when Renault won their last WC.

    3. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

      Coughlin will have a fair bit to prove and may be on a mission to clear his name. He will be motivated!

  40. Merlinghnd says:

    Interesting news James, with Kimi supposedly wanting a stake in Williams, is he taking a stake in Lotus and so in for the long run??

  41. Lynn says:

    Great news! Japan, Korea, India, China, Malaysia & Singapore, here I come! Will be broke in 2012 haha.

    Can’t wait for 2013 – Raikkonen & Kubica in the Lotus Renault team! Fingers crossed.

    1. shane says:

      I doubt kubica will ever race for lotus Renault again as he is out of contract come the 1st Jan. He can look elsewhere for a better drive….ferrari in 2013 for example. That of course is IF he can drive competitively again.

  42. robert says:

    So I guess this leave Kubica waiting for Massa to be dropped by Ferrari.

    If he is ever fit to race again.

    And Williams with Sutil and Maldonado.

  43. tomtyl says:

    James,

    How do you think this affects Kubica’s situation? I mean is it possible, that we will have Robert and Kimi in LRGP (provided of course, that Kubica will be able to get back)? I mean, as the most of the fans, I assumed that Raikkonen’s comeback implies that Kubica, if he will be back at all, won’t be back in Lotus but does it have to be this way?

    I was wondering about it because the flow of Russian sponsors is said to be not as big as expected and adding to that the last friction between Petrov and LRGP, maybe they will employ Grosjean on 2012 and then later during the season, he can step down?

    I believe that I am not the only one curious, what in your opinion this whole situation means for F1 drivers market.

    Regards

    1. James Allen says:

      I’m not sure RK wants to come back with Renault, if he comes back.

    2. Chetz says:

      Dunno abt the whole driver situation but if Kubica does get fit, Massa surely is sweating already with that thought.

      1. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        Ferrari would be taking a Badoer style risk to put him straight into a car. Unfortunately, as good as Robert is, he is no Niki Lauda.

  44. Peter says:

    Is it a 2 years deal or a 1+1 year with the aim to get back to a top team in 2013?

  45. Blaize says:

    Great to see Kimi back but i refuse to be truly happy until i see Bruno get a seat somewhere too. Honestly whats a guy got to do to get a race seat in f1. He has more than earnt it since replacing Heidfeld. Dammit if only Maldonando and his money would leave williams and a Paternship of Sutil and Senna sounds great.

  46. Pavosen Heska says:

    ” signs are clearly there that the Finn still feels he has unfinished business in F1 and also an appetite to earn some more money.” …bit of a cheap shot. Let’s see your comments when Lewis signs his next contract.

    1. Coefficient says:

      Well, besides having fun in the best cars in the world these F1 drivers do tend to demand/expect pretty high salary packages. James is not being derogatory, just honest.

  47. eric says:

    Kubica is going to Ferrari in 2013, nevermind Stefano’s comments playing this down(Ferrari did the same thing with Alonso), it’s still on the cards.

  48. Finn says:

    People in Funland going to love this. Most of them cancelled their plus-card from tv for two years When Kimi left, because its costing some extra money having those channels. But now their getting them back, not also because of Kimi is back, but also because we have a world champion hockey team playing in hometown!

    So next year we are no more hungry than fullfilled lions are.

  49. Rob Newman says:

    Coulthard once said that Kimi is the laziest driver on the grid. Even though he later apologized, I don’t think Colthard changed his opinion.

    I think the reason Kimi lost his motivation was, as usual Ferrari destroyed his head as well. The Ferrari culture is that whenever they think there is a better driver on the grid, they want to kick someone out of the team. Not surprisingly, Kimi’s replacement hardly brought anything to the team and hardly achieved anything.

    It is good to have Kimi back but I am not sure what exactly he is going to bring to Lotus Renault. He wants to get back to F1 because he is not successful in whatever he is doing right now.

    We have seen how other drivers who returned to F1 has performed. only time will tell if Kimi can make a difference.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      Hardly achieved anything? What does that make his world title then?

      1. KRB says:

        He was talking about Kimi’s replacement (Alonso) when he said that.

      2. Peter says:

        In which case, how could you call 2 world titles and a near miss in 2010 ‘hardly anything’. Abu Dhabi 2010 was not his fault, remember. Alonso did his job, which was to get the car iacross the line in the best possible position all year. If Ferrari strategists hadn’t stuffed up he would be triple world champion, in his first year for the Scuderia (just like Kimi – but Kimi has the devils luck in 07 with Hamilton and Alonso taking points off each other).
        BTW I’m a Schumi fan not an Alonso fan, but I will give credit where it’s due. Massa is not as bad as everyone says. The Ferrari’s a pig on hard tyres. It’s only Alonso’s skill that flatters that thing so high on the grid and podium.

      3. Chetz says:

        if Ferrari strategists stuffed up Abu Dhabi, then Ferrari designers stuffed up 2009 car for Kimi (and Massa). you can always take this round and round, bt fact is Ferrari haven’t won anything since Kimi left. and they way he was ousted was distasteful.

        p.s – Alonso’s two titles before Ferrari cant really count in this argument.

      4. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Peter, if you are going to pen down 2007 as down to luck, then how about Alonso’s 2005 championship? The Mclaren was practically made out of wet paper…

    2. mo kahn says:

      When Coulthard was this lazy man’s teammate… this lazy man beat his oh so active teammate every single time :)

      1. K says:

        LOL good one.

    3. Vili N says:

      Kimi said in an official statement in Finnish about the ever-present motivation talk, that only a person himself can know his true motivation, but the NASCAR races he did made him miss racing on track against other cars. He said the deal was finalized so late that he could only follow LRGP’s racing for twentyish laps. Furthermore, he said he grew tired with the all the vanity in F1. So for him to come back to F1 with all the non-racing matters obviously means he’s in it with his heart. To look back in his final season with Ferrari, he must’ve known for a good while that Santander would buy him out of the Scuderia so just imagine how that would affect you, Kimi went on to race as fast as ever, but out of the seat his discontent was quite obvious.

      1. Chetz says:

        he said the same in English as well.. was most joyful to see.. he even laughed twice in the video.

  50. mo kahn says:

    YES YES YES !!!!!! Just yesterday I was wishing that Kimi’s talks with Lotus should come through and just after 24 hours and wrote so on this Blog … WALLA !!!! THE ICEMAN HAS COMMETH :)

    Lets leave the winning to Vettel, Whining to the rest and ENJOY THE KIMISTER SPECTACLE IN 2012 :)

  51. Andrew Carter says:

    OK, I didnt see this one coming, but great news all the same.

    To echo everybody else: The Iceman Cometh!!

  52. Dejan says:

    As Maneesh Maharana has wrote, payback time is near!!!

    Kimi is high profile driver, one of the best in last ten years and Ferrari has made a wrong, disastrous move in 2009.
    It’s great to see he is coming back. Hope that LRGP will make good job over the winter, be able to create competitive car and to develope properly during the season.
    I can’t wait march 16. 2012!

  53. Dan Smith says:

    Great to see Kimi back in F1, but can’t help wishing there was more opportunities for younger drivers…

    As much as I want to see Barrichello stay in in F1, I can’t help thinking that with 6 world champions next season and drivers still getting race seats into their 40s that 2012 could feel a bit like Grand Prix Masters(!)

    It’s a shame there’s not 30 cars on the grid to give a seat all those that deserve one…

    1. Peter says:

      I think in F1 talent should come first and not age. The fact is that there have not been such a stand-out talent amongst the young guys as Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen recently. Raikkonen was in the points with a Sauber in his first race after 23 car races (grand total) coming from F Renault straight to F1. The new guys have plenty of races behind them in lower categories and they are good, but not really special.

  54. grigved says:

    GO GO GO kimi……………now we are overwhelmed…

  55. RCOne says:

    It’s a good headline for the sport and Kimi is a quality driver. The flip side though is that we have another driver blocking out a race seat for the next up and coming superstars.

    Personally, I would rather see some new blood come in – Wickens, Rossi, JEV, Filippi, Van de Garde etc.

    I would rather remember Kimi, De la Rosa, Schumacher etc for the history they were part of and see some new faces pushing the sport forward.

    1. George says:

      I agree about De la Rosa and Schumi, but Kimi’s only 32!!

  56. Werewolf says:

    The cost of it would have been exhorbitant and the management of it, er, interesting but just think how good a Schumacher-Raikkonen partnership or a Raikkonen-Alonso partnership would have been!

    As much as it saddens me to see Williams-Renault potentially without any star names next year, I think Lotus-Renault is Raikkonen’s better bet for re-establishing himself.

    James, do you have any idea what was the magic ingredient that changed Raikkonen’s mind?

    1. James Allen says:

      No, I think he really fancies it and like Schuey is probably a bit bored. He likes to live life on the limit!!

  57. mo kahn says:

    one more thing… When is Flavio’s and Symonds’ bans lifting?

    Wonder if they will take over from Eric… if they do and with Raikkonen on board… it would be a murderous combination :)

    1. Coefficient says:

      Symonds is already at MVR and Briatore has been linked with a Maranello lately but I think that might have died a death after Montezemelo’s aspirations to enter politics have been deraled by the Italian Fiscal quagmire.

      1. James Allen says:

        I cannot see Flavio at Maranello

      2. K says:

        How about Flav with a return to Lotus, a former Renault guise?

      3. James Allen says:

        Italian colleagues are suggesting Berger coming back to work with the team. I saw him in Abu Dhabi, for first time in ages

    2. And if Sutil was his teammate, they’d be on the cutting edge!! ;-)

  58. Joanna says:

    “Like Schumacher, Raikkonen was eased into early retirement by Ferrari. ”

    James, I’ve long admired your writing style, but that is an absolutely classic brilliant line. So much said wittily in so few words.

  59. Peter B says:

    Oh dear, another retired driver trying for a comeback with a mid rated team. It never works.
    F1 moves on. He didnt do so good in the rally world, and I dont expect anything but marketing from him in F1.
    I expect him to be mid field at best, and certainly behind Schumi.

    [mod] The Icecream Man cometh then will goeth probably unnoticed.

    1. Janis says:

      Exactly!
      I would guess it’s all about money:
      - having a world champion on board will make it easier for Lotus to find sponsorship;
      - Kimi has spent more of his savings than he should, and so is coming back to F1 for more.

      Don’t think this partnership will be productive, though as Kimi was never a particularly good development driver. Fast – yes, but not very technical, and provided poor feedback to his engineers.
      With the regulations not changing much (apart from the EBD’s) I also wouldn’t expect Lotus 2012 to be a front runner.
      So – yes, midfield, and probably behind Schumi.
      Particularly because Schumi never lost his motivation and he certainly is not racing for money… :)

      1. K says:

        “Don’t think this partnership will be productive, though as Kimi was never a particularly good development driver. Fast – yes, but not very technical, and provided poor feedback to his engineers.”

        Maybe you should dig up some comments and info provided by his former engineers and tech people from McLaren and Ferrari to revise your view.

      2. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        I know a few really rich people. Sure some are obsessed about it, but there are others who once they have enough to be comfortable prefer to stay in their chosen field for the “game”. They hate being bored with “normal” life. Elite sportsmen are a classic example of this.

  60. Dan Smith says:

    Kimi is certainly SUPER EXCITED judging by this video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu8Uy9PkS5g

    You gotta love his cheery disposition…

    1. audifan says:

      by kimi’s standards that is positively ecstatic !

  61. Doc Ric says:

    Good news!
    I would have loved a Raikkonen + Alonso lineup at Ferrari in 2010 already, I hope KR brings that Lotus Gp higher up even if it’s pretty much slow :)

  62. mm says:

    Welcome back Kimi! I’ve always admired your demeanour in public and behaviour on track.

  63. Funster says:

    To celebrate Kimi’s return I will grant his dots back in this post.

    Welcome Kimi Räikkönen, the F1 -driver.

  64. Chris Meirick says:

    Another ‘oldie’ returns. Just what F1 needs – NOT!

    Terrible appointment, what a mistake. So disappointed with this.

    Hope Grosjean and Senna get sorted out with a seat somewhere.. particularly the brilliant Frenchman.. F1 needs him…

    1. quest says:

      Hmm…

      Kimi at 32 is on the brink on senility , whereas Senna at 28 has just entering adulthood.

      Grosjean, who failed miserably in his previous attempt at F1 is brilliant and Kimi, a former WDC is a terrible mistake.

      1. Chris Meirick says:

        Hmm..

        Yeah, let’s dismiss the 2011 GP2 champion just because he didn’t perform well when plonked straight into a crap car (that even Alonso struggled with) mid-season. You’ve obviously never watched him in GP2.

        I think you miss my point – F1 needs new blood/talent, and to give these talented younger guys a proper opportunity, and not to recycle drivers who have done it all already. If Kimi loves F1 so much then why did he leave in the first place? He has spent too many of his millions?

        I would much rather watch Senna or Grosjean any day, and support them in trying to become World Champions. Grosjean is a huge talent, given the right opportunity, preparation etc. I still can’t believe this appointment.

      2. KGBVD says:

        Boullier manages Grosjean, so you’d think he had a better idea of who’s capable of what.

        Some drivers try F1, fail, then go back to GP2 and do really well: Pantano, Enge, and now Grosjean. But that’s not a ticket to get back into F1. The GP2 talent pool is about as deep as a birdbath, and a bit of F1 experience probably goes a long way.

        F1 does NOT need to be a bunch of newbies driving around for a couple a years while they try to sort it out; we have GP2 if we want to watch amateur hour. Quite frankly, some of these “talented younger guys” are given TOO MUCH of a chance in F1 at the expense of real talent (whether that talent be experienced or not). F1 can’t be full of Luizzis and Buemis.

        F1 is about the best drivers in the world. Senna and Grosjean are obviously also-rans (you must be VERY impressed with non-points finishes if you’d rather watch those two).

      3. K says:

        Kimi was pushed out, as James Allen said. Not leave by his own accord. Get your facts right please.

    2. DK says:

      Stick to GP2 then ….

      1. Chris Meirick says:

        Uh?!

        Joker.

      2. Chris Meirick says:

        I didn’t say he wasn’t pushed out of Ferrari.

        I can’t wait to watch him.. driving around making up the numbers.. Let’s have a chat this time next year eh?

        This makes me laugh from the video/latest post by James.. “He says that he hasn’t really followed the 2011 F1 season or the progress of the Lotus Renault team”

        Says it all really.

        I just strongly believe that there needs to be full and proper opportunities for new talent, that’s all.

  65. A.B.Normal says:

    James, how would you evaluate the engineering talent at Lotus/Renault? Do they have the potential to develop a car in 2012 that can compete at a higher level than 2011? Despite his often negative reputation, Boullier seems like a serious team boss. And I can’t help but feel that the team’s lack of results in 2011, especially later in the season, were partially driver related. An engineer has to know that a design and subsequent upgrades are being used to maximum advantage, otherwise doubt becomes a driving force. Raikkonen, like Kubica, has the capability to eliminate doubt.

    1. James Allen says:

      Some very good people there. James Allison admitted his guys messed up this year with the forward exhausts, but on the whole they are sound engineers, Alan Permane knows what he’s doing, as does Rod Nelson etc. I think they miss Pat Symonds a bit and also designer Tim Densham, who Martin Brundle and I worked with at Brabham in early 1990s, who turned out to be a really good designer (2005/6 Renaults)

      1. Milligan says:

        if they do well, James, and kimi flies, their target first year will be mercedes. But will Schumacher play fair? you know he will really hate it if K.R. breezes past

      2. Brad says:

        Let not forget they have more announcements to make….hmmmmm

      3. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        Thanks for this James. Very few commentators seem to be able to provide any depth to assist punters to understand what goes on behind the scenes and who are the engineers that count.

        Lets not forget that the team got some podiums early on in the season. Be it luck, or otherwise, that result still counts.

  66. Freeman says:

    “and also an appetite to earn some more money”

    Can’t help but speculate Kimi’s chasing the money rather than a better team, while Williams are piling up key talents and championship-winning staff are leaving the Lopez/Bahar team in droves.

    1. Nick T. says:

      Can’t reiterate this point enough. The number of fans simply stating as fact that Renault is a much better ride show how few people have any foresight, clue about F1 and/or have simply not been paying attention to personnel news.

      I’m fairly confident Renault will be behind Force India, Williams and potentially Sauber (if they are able to get a cash injection that allows them to actually due significant in-season development).

  67. Charlie says:

    Thank Beelzebub’s chubby love handles!!!

    I periodically come onto this site to bicker and moan about having not watched an F1 race since Kimi Raikkonen left. True, I’m a stubborn and headstrong individual, but I reiterate above opinions that his return is a reason to but the Sky package (or the Finnish equivalent etc). The reality is that I know F1 has had a great few years. Competition in many ways has increased from the state of affairs a decade ago and the sport is probably a better place for that…though let’s not forget that Manchester United and Michael Schumacher illustrate a propensity in the average sports fan for “glory support”…but that’s beside the point.

    My point is that F1 has always felt like a different place when Kimi has been involved. I don’t deny anyone having the right not to appreciate him, however in a world in which globally sportsmen and women are under so much scrutiny to perform in terms of sporting competency, media interaction, ethical perfection in their private lives, and attractive promulgation of their characters…well, Kimi is a complete maverick. Someone of such nonchalance and disregard for the commercial world of sport in which he operates is an absolute delight. His irreverence is simple, charming and really quite special in such an ugly world.

    I’m so glad he’s back for my own sanity, but it’s good for the world of sport. Children ought to be taught that’s it’s ok not to be the most competitive and unpopular guy in the room. Personality, autonomy and individuality can also succeed.

    1. Desdi says:

      Agreed. Welcome back Mr. Raikkonen. Now lets see that “Raikkonen Hustle” that Brundle talked about. Get in Iceman!!

    2. Dan Orsino says:

      second that

  68. mr sneff says:

    How dull to have “Mr Personality” back on the grid, another reason not to watch next year.

    1. Peter says:

      If you want to see great racing Raikkonen can offer just that, if you want to see talk-shows there are plenty of them on different TV British channels.

      1. mo kahn says:

        I couldn’t agree more with you Peter :)

      2. KGBVD says:

        The price of ice cream in the paddock just went up.

      3. K says:

        +1 LOL love this one of yours.

  69. franed says:

    Where are LRGP getting the money from, they were in difficulties not long ago.
    I cannot see Kimi holding on to his motivation if the car is not a winner and that is not likely against the top four teams. Eight place will loose it’s charm rapidly.
    It will end in tears.

  70. jjpm says:

    A few of the F1 circus were prone to tell Williams to hire Kimi a few weeks ago like Domenicalli and Whitmarsh… Since they probably knew a lot more about his return than us, in insight we may suspect that these two preferred Williams over Lotus/LRGP knowing that their car is a potential concurrent for 2012 much more than the 2011 results have shown.

    and I believe that a pink slip is hot and waiting to be delivered to Boullier (which mean departure for Grosjean as well) :

    Raikkonen/Senna, Wickens

    1. Nick T. says:

      what is a concurrent?

      1. jjpm says:

        Excuse my english, I should have said rival i guess…

        From Paris with love! ;-)

  71. Josh says:

    I hate Kimi for making me buy new shirts. From a silver one to a red one and now to a black and gold one. What’s next, a dark blue one with a drink’s name? :)

  72. Darren S says:

    Greenpeace have welcomed the news of Kimi Raikonnen returning to F1 – the world’s trees just got a whole lot safer.

  73. RDC says:

    James – what do you think this news says about Williams, in particular their expectations for the next 2 seasons (as KR himself is quoted as saying the choice came down to LRGP or Williams). Surely if Wiliams’ expectations were (even quietly) pretty positive, they would not have passed up an opportunity to sign a driver such as KR, with all the media interest/exposure and performance potential that he would almost certainly bring.

    At best it looks like Williams will be left with decidely second tier drivers for the next 2 seasons – not very encouraging from their point of view, it seems to me.

  74. Peter says:

    Isn’t it interesting that we all regard Kimi so highly, yet Vettel has beaten each of his stats with a lot less races. The kid is the real deal. You can’t acknowledge one master without the other.

    1. Sri says:

      With that car like RedBull even I could win the races :-). Although I still think Vettel is a real deal and perhaps maybe better than Kimi and all others.

      Kimi in his prime in 2003 lost WDC to Schumacher by few points using a much older spec car. Had he got a RedBull-like car that year, Schumi would be nowhere in the picture that year.

      1. kandy says:

        Agree

  75. Ashok says:

    Great news….am going to stock up ice creams in my freezer…. ;-)

  76. DaveF says:

    Have to say I don’t know why people are getting so excited. Yes, Kimi is a great driver and at least he has been rallying whilst away from F1 so his driving skills should still be sharp. However, he was never one for developing a car, he just likes to get in and drive. And the Renault/Lotus has been a dog this year. They’ve had nobody with experience to lead the team this year so why would next years car be any better?
    Sadly I think he’ll spend next year running in midfield getting very frustrated.

    1. Pavosen Heska says:

      and still you are excited enough to response?

      1. DaveF says:

        Mainly to wind up the Kimi fans! They seem to think he is the messiah or something. Yes he is very good but he is not the complete package. I like his no nonsense attitude though but can’t seem him sticking at Renault/Lotus due to the culture they seem to have there at the moment. But good luck to him anyway. It sure beats having yet another pay driver trudging around.

      2. AA says:

        It’s all smiles now. But the real test will be next year. If Kimi can’t get to grips with the Pirelli tyres, let’s see how Mr Boulier reacts.

    2. carlys says:

      Please give this development thing a break…. it cuts no ice !!!… in that case alonso should have won the championship twice more with renault after developing the car suitably at the beginning of each year….. the iceman cometh

  77. Monika says:

    Best news ever!!!! Welcome back Iceman!!!! We really missed you!!!! :)) 2012 will be the most exciting season with 6 World Champions on the grid, can`t wait until March….

  78. Jon Wilde says:

    Great News! I hope Lotus Renault give him a car he can deliver with.

    2012 is shaping up nicely, looking forward to the next set of annoucements from the Black and Gold team!

    by my count Red Bull could be backing 7 drivers on the grid next year. surely this isn’t sustainable. Someone has to get the boot!

  79. f1 fanatic says:

    James any bets on who will be in the second Renault seat?

  80. Andy C says:

    I think it cant fail to be good for F1 to have kimi around. We actually need some characters in the sport.

    Whilst his motivation was questioned at Ferrari, there has never been a doubt about his pace. There was also a time at Ferrari when his engineers couldnty understand how he was doing the lap times in the car he had (James referred to it on here ages ago).

    There is one thing for certain, better to go with a proven race winner with something to prove. renault have had a poor year this year, but the prior year they were very strong and showing progress.

    Bit of a shame for Williams, and you you have to wonder what they do now. Maldonado is not a team leader. I personally dont think Sutil has proven enough capability yet to do it.

    May I suggest the reason for Nico H being so happy that he is indeed going back to Williams next year?

  81. DK says:

    Looks like this has just turned into a Kimi’s fan reunion !!

    Bring it on 2012 !!

  82. Nitin says:

    Great news!

  83. Janet says:

    YEAH BABY YEAH!!!!!!!
    The Iceman Cometh!

  84. Richard D says:

    Seems odd that an ex world champion would want to make a comeback with a midfield team. At least Schumacer’s comeback was to the team that won the previous year’s championship. It will be interesting to see how he gets on as this years crop of Renault drivers haven’t done very well.

  85. KGBVD says:

    Now I’m in a pickle.

    I’ve come to hate Renault/”Lotus” for the way they conducted themselves with the naming fiasco, their driver carousel, and their image obsessed mentality (putting Senna in a black and gold “lotus” was for PR and PR only, his two points highlight that). Bully-Boullier is an F1 tyrant of the worst kind (at least Flav always had his drivers in mind).

    BUT, I’ve always liked Kimi (as a Canadian, I’ve got a soft spot for a guy who races snowmobiles and loves ice cream).

    I really wish he came back to Williams, that’s something I could have thrown my weight behind.

    1. Nick T. says:

      “I really wish he came back to Williams, that’s something I could have thrown my weight behind.”

      Couldn’t agree more. Although I particularly wanted to see Kimi back in a Williams, I would have been happy to see him anywhere except for Genii-Lotus which has taken the joy out of his return for me. It is impossible to route for their scummy little operation, especially with Eric Bulliercrap at the helm. I hope some massive row seems him jump ship. And, hopefully, that row is 2012′s Genii Crapital’s Lotus being such a dog Kimi quits on day 1.

  86. Sri says:

    Great news. Always looked forward to it. Makes F1 more interesting as Kimi can put that car in places where it should not be like in 2009.

    Regarding this cheap shot:
    “The question of motivation is one that has troubled teams about a possible return, but the signs are clearly there that the Finn still feels he has unfinished business in F1 and also an appetite to earn some more money.”

    As though every other driver on the grid is doing it for pure love of sport or as charity for the deprived without caring about their own money. Let me know how many of us really do not care about money in their career and would do it even if they are underpaid or even for free, just because we love to do our work? Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button all negotiate the contracts for having better compensation and Button famously did that with Brawn GP only to me to McLaren as he was paid more there. So why should Kimi be singled out? It is biased reporters like this that make Kimi and many F1 fans criticize media.

    When commentators report they bring up their own bias without even realizing that their thought process is devoid of any basis.

    Anyway Raikkonen himself answered such people with his own comment: ““There’s always a lot of talk about the motivation but nobody really knows what I do or what I think apart from myself, so I don’t really care what people say.”

  87. audifan says:

    hamilton has been the only driver in recent seasons who could make a car go faster than it was actually capable of ….not that that translates into wins , of course

    finally a second driver who can do that !

    1. K says:

      You’ve either mistakenly or intentionally missed out Alonso.

      I’m a fan of both, but credits are due to Alonso especially when he drove for Minardi outperforming the car, a thing he repeated in Ferrari 2011 and half of 2010.

      1. audifan says:

        not at all , and it seems that alonso agrees with me judging by his comment about hamilton

        alonso is a top driver , gets what there is in the car , but his great strength is that he gets it ALL the time , is relentless ; but as you will have noticed in the last race when he changed to the harder tyres , he gets what there is

  88. Rich C says:

    Well! I’m stunned.

    Like some other ppl I just had to drop back by here and see what’s up with this deal.

    All the rumors I heard were about Williams blah blah blah – Nothing about (the new)Lotus.

    So is this like some bolt outa the blue or did I just miss some other rumors?

    1. James Allen says:

      There were some rumours about LRGP and they got across the line, where Williams couldn’t or wouldn’t

      1. Lady Snowcat says:

        I think Kimi had a contract with Williams but didn’t rush to sign when Renault came calling…

        Well would you?…

  89. JB says:

    Just incredible!

    After Williams deal gone bad, I was trying to get used to thinking we’ll never see Kimi again in F1. Didn’t take Renault thing too seriously.

    But.. whaddaya say!!

  90. Andy C says:

    James
    how did Kimi and Dave Ryan get on at Renault. Do you think the possible arrival of DR is coincidental?
    Andy

    1. James Allen says:

      Fine. But Dave isn’t going to work for LRGP. He was just there as a consultant to do a report on how they can sharpen up their operation. Dave is close to JYS, who is working closely with Genii and Gerard Lopez. That’s the connection, but Dave is very happy running a sportscar team out of Surrey these days.

  91. eric weinraub says:

    Don’t wish to pop balloons…big KR fan…. but i won’t enjoy watching Kimi struggling and in the mid field at best. Crap car and having been out for 3 years is NOT going to be fun to watch if and when the cameras DO pick him up.

    1. Lady Snowcat says:

      Come on Eric…

      We enjoyed him in Sauber… that’s why we started to support him….

      1. Peter says:

        +1, a kid with 23 car races behind him coming straight from Formula Renault (ca. 500 hp difference) pushing the F1 car to its very limits…his first quali is available on youtube

  92. Lady Snowcat says:

    So my Christmas present has arrived early and with the Iceman’s return my interest in F1 awakes…

    Deja vu too as Lotus Renault are about where Sauber were on the grid when Kimi joined them…

    Maybe he’ll move to Macca for 2013…

  93. Gabe says:

    This is great news! Welcome back Kimi

    1. carlys says:

      Welcome back kimi …. got a reason to watch f1 again

  94. carlys says:

    Fingers crossed all I need now is for Kimi to beat the ferraris… that would be the icing on the cake ….I just hope they dont give him a dog of a car …please please please

    1. Lady Snowcat says:

      Icing indeed…

      Especially given that Mr Alonso left the Lotus Renault team to go to Ferrari…

    2. mo kahn says:

      I dearly would love to see that… was a fan of Ferrari as I do own one… But trust me… Kimi is simply too breathtaking for anyone not to be a fan of his.. and I am no exception :)

  95. carlys says:

    “”F1 teams need a driver who will consistently set laptimes that are 100 per cent on the edge,” “That is what a driver of Kimi’s caliber can do, to dance on the edge and never fall off. From that, the engineers get a baseline.” – quoting Jean Alesi – so true… so much for kimi not being able to develop a car. The ICEMAN is back !

  96. Sufyaan Patel says:

    Absolutely thrilled to hear this news! It now means I will have to arrange for live coverage next year. Looking forward to see who they’ll pair him up with. Prior to this, I wasnt too fussed about Renault putting together a good package… but now I’m hoping they will! More importantly though, I’m just so glad to see hes back!

    James – Whats the technical team like at Renault? Any idea who his race engineer is likely to be? p.s. I have many good memories of Raikkonen in F1 coupled with your commentary :) Some are still on Youtube.

  97. Alex says:

    Chill out guys the iceman is back!!!

    Kubica and KImi would be wicked, so would Alonso and kimi or even webber and alonso.

    2013

    RBR: Vet and Ricciardo
    Mclaren: Hamilton and Button
    Ferrari: Webber and Alonso
    ‘Renault’: Kimi and Kubica

    Massa will have given up byt then.

    Thoughts????

    (How good was alonso and webber scraps this year, especially spa, webbers pass on alonso through eau rouge)

  98. Douglas says:

    I don’t know why everyone is getting so excited – he won’t change up the grid next year that much driving a Renault…

  99. Nil says:

    Somehow my comment is not making past the mod!

    This just made my day! I wanted to read all the comments before posting. I didn’t find one question I was looking for an answer to up above so I’ll ask it here.

    James, does a driver get to see a team’s plans for the upcoming year, possibly some simulation runs or design before inking a deal? Apart from the failed talks over remuneration, did Kimi see better prospects for 2012 at LRGP than at Williams? How much information does a team share with a prospective driver?

  100. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    As a true fan, glad to see Kimi back, I fear it will be a bit like what happened when Michael returned. Not a reflection on the driver, just that they’re not given the tools they need to be competitive. The result is that the fans miss out on possible action.

  101. mo kahn says:

    And Eric has spoken, and admitted that it was them who convinced Kimi to comeback to F1. They have a Simulator which is being readied and Wind Tunnel etc etc. And a Demo car run with Kimi I guess.

    All in all if they managed to convince Kimi they must have had a good plan. There is no shortage of Malaysian money and they are aggressively making investments it seems.

    So, all in all, you could be looking at an improved performance by Lotus next year in car-terms… We don’t want to even remotely question the quality of drive power the team has now… The best man has commeth… The iceman has commeth :)

    1. Brad says:

      From what I know he hates simulators… willdefinately do demo car

  102. Kunal Shah says:

    Guys, I have captured some ‘challenges’ that Kimi and Lotus F1 team will face next season. Read them here – http://bit.ly/tvSvNP and share your thoughts too. Six WC on the grid next year is of course exciting!!

  103. Senthil says:

    Welcome back Iceman…

    We missed you for 2 seasons badly…especially your dig at the media…

  104. Ross says:

    It was well known that Kimi was looking for equity in Williams which explains why he was happy to come to a team at the back of the grid.

    He mentions in the video that they agreed terms with Lotus. Is there any suggestion that Kimi has acquired some equity in Lotus?

    They have ran two pay drivers this season and are known to have money issues. Now they are signing an ex world champ who wont come cheap. Something does not add up.

  105. Scott says:

    I think Raikkonen has everything to prove again, as he didnt exactly leave F1 at the top last time around. I predict his lack of technical feedback will also hinder his progress and that he will struggle to beat any of his proposed teammates.

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