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The moment Kimi Raikkonen fans have been waiting 2 years for
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Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Jan 2012   |  6:45 pm GMT  |  60 comments

This is a moment Kimi Raikkonen’s many fans around the world thought they may never see again; the 2007 world champion back behind the wheel of an F1 car, albeit a chassis mock up, in the Lotus Renault factory near Oxford.

It’s the first time Raikkonen has sat in an F1 car since the end of the 2009 season, when he left Ferrari and went to compete in the WRC.

Raikkonen was at Lotus’ Enstone factory today for a seat fitting ahead of his first run in an F1 car. The chassis he is sitting in is not the 2012 Lotus challenger, but a monocoque which is used to create a seat for a driver and to measure and make minute adjustments to the dimensions around him.

You can see a video I made with McLaren about this process by clicking this link How an F1 team builds a car around its driver

It is understood that he will get back up to speed this month in a two year old car, as the rules allow and will then take part in the new car tests starting in Jerez in February.

Raikkonen’s presence this year will make it six world champions on the F1 grid for the first time in history.

For more on Raikkonen’s return go to the Lotus Renault GP website

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60 Comments
  1. Adam says:

    I dont think you need to be a Kimi fan to see that if he comes back and is competitive it will make for a much better show. I really hope he does well!

  2. georgecowleyci5 says:

    good to see him back,i reckon a good year in 2012 might see the iceman partner button at the macs if lewis jumps ship for 2013,another topic james the mail is reporting you have replaced crofty as there main man on the 5live coverage?true or not

  3. Jose Eduardo says:

    This is good news to have six world champions, all of them from diferents teams.

    1. Bayan says:

      Lewis and Jenson are both at Mecca!

      1. Jose Eduardo says:

        Yes, but Lewis and JB they obtained their champion in different teams.

        50% obtained just one: LJ. JB. and KR.
        Alonso and Vettel twice but in same teams.
        only MC make it with two teams 2+5.

      2. Bayan says:

        What about Kimi and Schumi then. Both got championships with ferrari.

      3. Martin says:

        Which team is Medina? Or is that Modena? :-)

      4. Jose Eduardo says:

        Yes and No. Yes both got championships with Ferrari, and No, they no were teammates at the same time in the same team.

    2. JOS says:

      how do you make that out? Kimi and schu both won champs with ferrari.

      1. Jose Eduardo says:

        Actually all the champions are in differents teams, they obtained their champion in different teams. It would be interesting to see if this 2012 could have two champions in the same team and as a teammates, at Redbull and McLaren is possible.

    3. Martin says:

      Hi Jose,

      I was just trying to make a joke about Bevan’s use of Mecca rather than Macca, which is a more common nickname for anyone/thing whose name starts with is Mc or Mac. Mecca and Medina being two cities significant to muslims. I’d be guessing from your name, but it could be that, for example, in Spanish that Mecca and Medina have different spellings, so the joke was not clear.

      On your list of teams and champions, the Bennetton Renault of 95 and the Renault of 2005-06 are pretty much functionally the same. Same car and engine factories and many of the same personnel.

      Cheers,

      Martin

  4. Lewis says:

    James promise us all the next time Button wins you’ll scream get in there, please.

  5. Congrats on your new job James

  6. mo kahn says:

    Worth the wait, worth the wait after resigning to watch over rated kids (baring Schuey). Now we don’t have paper-Senna-Wannabes… now we have Kimi the Ice-Version of Ayrton Senna :)

  7. danny says:

    Great. Kimi will be sensation this year :)

  8. Gene says:

    Michael’s back, Kimi’s back… I think there’s still a seat open for Mika somewhere right?

    1. Chapor says:

      You just got me all misty eyed… I would like to see Mika back in the paddock to be honest. Maybe as a manager for some of the younger drivers. He is just such a likeable character.

  9. Sebee says:

    Kimi is about to have a flashback to his Sauber days. We all have a bit of nostalgia in us. I still like to wear my Schumi Ferrari gear. Lucky for me, I’m the only one!

    1. Dries says:

      You’re not the only one still wearing Schumi-Ferrari gear Sebee!
      I do that too, with pride!

  10. Mitchel says:

    Great Stuff!

  11. CTP says:

    why are all the bloggers getting such a hard-on for this picture?! it’s really not that exciting, is it?

    1. elie says:

      Whenever you see a maestro in their natural situation, its always exciting. Regardless of the pic !. I really hope that Lotus is quick cause in mind he is a triple world champion but for the macs that let him down.

      1. Brad says:

        beauuuuutifully stated

      2. alpesh says:

        awesomely said … :)

    1. Marybeth says:

      jmv, me, too. :)

  12. goferet says:

    Aah that’s so cool.

    For sure, this feels like a good dream F1 fans can’t seem to wake up from for who (apart from the Kimi die hard fans) thought we would ever see this day – The iceman in an F1 car/model.

    OMG!!! Am sure the anticipation of the 2012 is going to kill a number of pensioners even before the season gets underway proper. Be safe mates!

    With a record six champs & cars separated by tenths (according to Alonso) + DRS I guess the 2012 season will go down as the best of the best and whoever wins it will go down in history as the ”Champion of Champions”

    Yes, 2012 is not to be missed at all costs because Schumi is going home at the end of 2012 & we shall be back to having boring 5 champs on the grid.

    P.s.

    Congratulations to JA on F1 for scooping up the 5 Live gig.

    This is crazy, everybody that’s anybody in F1 is in place for the greatest season of all time.

    1. James Allen says:

      I like your last point! It’s a good one!

      1. Martin says:

        It only took him ~300 posts :-)

    2. Alex says:

      It’s by no means certain that Schumi is going home at the end of 2012. Both he and Mercedes have said they will consider contract extensions, depending on results and both parties willingness to continue.

      Time will tell, until a decision is made either way, speculation is as pointless as saying he is going home.

      1. AH Jordan says:

        I think it’s fairly certain that Schumi will go home at the end of 2012…to spend time with his family at Christmas before starting testing for 2013… ;)

      2. Alex says:

        I can say I’m fairly certain the tooth fairy exists, and it’s no more or less factual than you saying it’s fairly certain Shumi will go.

        The only facts anyone actually has is that both he and Mercedes have said they would consider extending their contracts with each other should the circumstances be right for both of them. Until either Schumi or Merc say something else, we will just have to wait and see.

  13. eric weinraub says:

    Considering how much more lean Kimi was in 2009, I am wondering if there will be issues as I expect him to lose 20 or so pounds over the course of the next 12 months.

    1. yi wei says:

      tired of explaining this…the 2009 car is a failure product….they stop the development earlier to focus on 2010…and still Kimi manage to clinch 5 podium and 1 win at SPA….the engineers were shocked by his performance~~!! Stop looking at the statistic…and watch all the damn races pls = )

      1. Jon says:

        He’s talking about his weight…

      2. Wallers says:

        He’s talking about Kimi being a little bit fatter than he was in 2009. Not the state of the 2009 Ferrari.

      3. yi wei says:

        ops….my fault = )

      4. Mark V says:

        Does that mean he has to have additional seat fittings during the season as his butt shrinks?

  14. SkinBintin says:

    Chuffed to see him back. Looking forward to a fight for the title between Hamilton, Button, Alonso, Vettel, Raikkonen, and in a perfect world, a few other drivers too!

  15. Any idea where the test with the old car will take place? Likely to be classified info to prevent Kimi fans/F1 journalists’ invasion…

    Also, does the old car mean it’s the R29 or the R30 (2009/2010)? Curious to find out but LRGP won’t give away anything about Kimi’s preparation programme, not worth asking on the team blog as well because team/fan communication ceased to exist there, a real shame. In 2006 & 2007 it was a great place to be, well, even until 2011 I think.

  16. Dina says:

    Do you know when he gets to test the old car?

    1. Andy C says:

      Talk was that it might start in Jan with a 2009 car. Dont know how true that is.

  17. JohnBt says:

    Welcome home Kimi!

    As long as there’s no run away championship, it should be a very good 2012.

    Maybe it’s good the last race is around end November, the wait is not like forever.

  18. Craig in Manila says:

    I can’t remember the last time that I saw an F1 driver wearing a baseball cap that was unbranded/unsponsored. Odd that their PR Department missed the chance to get some logos in front of cameras.
    It looks like a baseball cap that The Stig would wear !

    1. Bill says:

      Maybe there’s some kind of sponsorship clash or something? Didn’t Kimi use to have red bull sponsorship on he’s cap?

      Either way, Kimi in a Lotus! Quality, can’t wait.

  19. K says:

    Kimi in the 2009 Renault, now he’ll know what a dog of a car Alonso drove back then LOL! Though his 2009 Ferrari wasn’t that much better lol.

    Kinda funny that this is going to happen with the two drivers in each other’s old teams.

    1. yi wei says:

      both of them are fated rival LOL

  20. Ian Hamilton says:

    James, when testing a 2 year old car can teams add 2011 spec wings/parts, DRS, KERS, Pirelli tyres etc or must the car be totally 2010 spec? Also is there any limit to the amount of testing which can be done in the old cars?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not as far as I know. As for crossover parts, there wouldn’t be many you could use. Aero wise it would be all over the place.

      1. Craig in SG says:

        What tyres are they allowed or even able to use?

      2. Marybeth says:

        I read somewhere that they are allowed GP2 tires. :)

  21. Richard says:

    Of course good to see Kimi back, but the restrictive factor as far as he is concerned would seem to be the car. As I’m one that won’t be using Sky it’s good to hear 5 live will have all 20 races live. I can’t wait for the new season to start mainly to see which cars are competitive. Do so hope Red Bull are cut down to size this year, but I would not bet on it! McLaren last year tried to do something really good with the exhaust, but came unstuck, so I rather hope this year they are at the front enabling us to witness a head on duel between Hamilton and Button for the championship.

  22. Franco says:

    We all know Kimi is a great driver and will get up to speed really quickly but somehow I cant see the Lotus being a great car, at best I expect he will get 2 or 3 podiums, will this be enough for a driver of his talents????

    On a positive note he will be entertaining inside and outside of the car.

  23. audifan says:

    hang about …if this is a mock up he STILL hasn’t sat in a F1 car since 2009 , has he !!!

    look forward to you on F1 live james !

  24. elie says:

    Prediction: 1.Hamilton 2.Alonso 3.Vettel 4.Roseberg 5.Kimi 6.Button 7. Di Resta 8. Massa 9 .Webber 10. Schumacher

  25. Richard D says:

    Assuming the Kimi still has his old touch and his car is any good, it will be strange hearing the name Lotus up with the front runners rather than with the back markers. It will probably take a few races to get used to the new names.

  26. Carl says:

    Go Kimi, Go, Go!

  27. The more Fins the merrier!

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