Raikkonen makes dramatic F1 comeback with Lotus Renault
Scuderia Ferrari
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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1

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.

2

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.

3

Welcome back Iceman…

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

4

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!!

5

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 🙂

6

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

7

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.

8

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?

9

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

10

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)

11

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.

12

“”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 !

13

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

14

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 🙂

15

Icing indeed…

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

16

This is great news! Welcome back Kimi

17

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

18

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…

19

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.

20

Come on Eric…

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

21

+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

22

James

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

Andy

23

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.

24

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!!

25

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?

26

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

27

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

Well would you?…

28

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 !

29

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.

30

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

31

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.”

32

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.

33

“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.

34

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.

35

YEAH BABY YEAH!!!!!!!

The Iceman Cometh!

36

Great news!

37

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

Bring it on 2012 !!

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