Kimi Raikkonen to return to F1 with Renault in 2012

2012 F1 season

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Kimi Raikkonen, Renault, 2011

Kimi Raikkonen will return to Formula 1 in 2012 with Renault.

The team, which is set to become Lotus, announced on Tuesday the 2007 world champion would join them for next season.

Raikkonen, who last raced in Formula 1 with Ferrari in 2009, signed a two-year deal with the team.

Raikkonen said: “I’m delighted to be coming back to Formula 1 after a two-year break, and I’m grateful to Lotus Renault GP for offering me this opportunity.

“My time in the World Rally Championship has been a useful stage in my career as a driver, but I can’t deny the fact that my hunger for F1 has recently become overwhelming.

“It was an easy choice to return with Lotus Renault GP as I have been impressed by the scope of the team’s ambition. Now I’m looking forward to playing an important role in pushing the team to the very front of the grid.??

Gerard Lopez, chairman of teams owners Genii, said: “All year long, we kept saying that our team was at the start of a brand new cycle. Backstage we’ve been working hard to build the foundations of a successful structure and to ensure that we would soon be able to fight at the highest level.

“Kimi’s decision to come back to Formula 1 with us is the first step of several announcements which should turn us into an even more serious contender in the future. Of course, we are all looking forward to working with a world champion. On behalf of our staff, I’d like to welcome Kimi to Enstone, a setting that has always been known for its human approach to Formula 1.”

Raikkonen’s return means a record six world champions will compete alongside each other. He joins Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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376 comments on “Kimi Raikkonen to return to F1 with Renault in 2012”

  1. F1 can still surprise. But I just don’t see how this partnership could turn into the winning combination Raikkonen and Lopez are talking about. Raikkonen seems to come back just because he hasn’t been able to find a better way to spend his time despite his previous statements that WRC was a better place than F1 and that he didn’t want to drive for losers like Toyota. Moreover, Lotus/Renault isn’t a factory team anymore and I just don’t believe in Lotus’ ability to create ‘a successful structure’, they haven’t proved that so far. So I think they’re heading for a complete disaster but I hope I’m wrong.

    1. and that he didn’t want to drive for losers like Toyota.

      Not entirely unreasonable given they were pulling out of F1 for 2010!

      1. i have a silly question but can I ask when will you start referring this team as Lotus?

        1. from the start of winter testing, I guess?

        2. @natkid This is what Tony Fernandes says:

          Our stewardship of Team Lotus will come to an end in mid-December.

          I guess the rebranding will take place then, too. Until then, I think it’s correct to call the team ‘Renault’.

          1. yeah, Fernandes will rename the team in a couple of weeks officially. I expect Renault to announce it sometime december or early januari as well.

            Until then its still the Renault team.

        3. Next year.

        4. listen to Kimi I thnk you’ll find out

    2. of course he said he don’t want to driver for non-top teams. However if Kimi want to come back and all seats of top 4 teams secured, there’s no option at all. Williams window seems closed, though it’s bit of surprise there’s still a window in Renault, it’s almost sole solution.

      Actually I think this is a good sign for him. It means he really want to fight and prove his motivation is genuine. so We will see whether His skill is still great or his motivation is genuine.

    3. If by “factory team” you mean a team backed by an automobile constructor, you’re missing the point, once the last three WDC and WCC have been won so called “private teams”.

      1. In fact, McLaren are a private team too (though heavily backed by Mercedes until end of season 2009), so you could almost argue that the last WDC/WCC won by a constructor is the 2007 WDC of Kimi himself, with Ferrari!

        Last year Renault showed great promise, this year things fell through for lots of reasons, but they were looking for a leader, and Kubica can’t be that leader right now; seems Kimi fancies that role.

        It could be magic, or it might fizz out. Will be interesting to see either way, I think.

        1. Ferrari won WCC in 2008.

        2. Do Ferrari count as a manufacturer or privateer? That they started making road cars to support racing makes me wonder how you define it. If they exist for F1 and road manufacture is secondary or at least equal/not primary focus then are they still ‘privateers’? If Ferrari are classified a manufacturer team then at what point does McLaren become one? Or Caterham or Marussia for that matter.

          1. @Keithcollantine I’d be quite interested to know what you know/think please.

          2. @Matt90: Ferrari and Mercedes are the only manufacturers left in F1. Practically speaking, a manufacturer builds both the engine and chassis. Everyone in F1 is required to build their own chassis, but privateers use a third party engine. Since Renault sold their F1 team to Boullier, Lux et al, Renault is only an engine supplier, and LRGP is a privateer.

          3. @matt90 Today, manufacturer.

          4. Great thanks. So if McLaren take their road car engine-building to the next level and become F1 engine suppliers they become manufactures. Seems obvious, don’t know why I didn’t realise.

          5. Officially manufacturer practically privateer. the small difference between the Mercedes and Ferrari lies on the fact that Mercedes is much recent but that doesnt mean in fact that both dont act as privateer teams cause both have a certain distance from the manufacturer, Mercedes for example is based in Britain having big majoraty of English staff but the technical directions come from above in Frankfurt wherareas the money comes from both German sponsors and Petronas, in the case of Ferrari everything is italian apart from some technical staff and the chassis base and research in the UK, what im trying to say is that both Mercedes and Ferrari also struggle for money despite having big backup from their owners. Its more about publicity

      2. Well Brawn would never have been that successful without Honda’s resources that allowed them to build the BGP001. But, of course, you’re right by pointing out that RBR ain’t a car manufacturer as well. I rather meant to say that Lotus Renault GP has lost the strong backing that the Renault company once ensured. They need money – the current drivers line-up (Senna&Petrov) proves that. They’ve regressed a lot over the 2011 season. I believe that there were good reasons for Petrov’s recent outburst. Petrov isn’t known as a whiner, he knows that his own performance hasn’t been excellent and that he’s in F1 mostly because of his sponsors so I think the team really suffers from serious internal problems if he couldn’t stay quiet. The team’s choice of sponsors is unconvincing, too. Vladimir Antonov isn’t exactly the partner you should make business with if you’re a serious and respectable company / F1 team. All these factors make me sceptical about their future prospects.

        1. Apparently Bruno Senna cannot make OGX (part of Group EBX, of Eike Baptista who’s Brazil’s richest man) give more money, so they’re dumping him for Kimi who (reportedly) is bringing some petrodollars from the UAE.

          1. Where’s the source for this one then?

    4. On paper this is a good deal for both parties. Kimi is bored, and isn’t going to get the top-flight opportunities in other motorsports he wants without doing a lot of tedious groundwork, which he’s apparently not interested in. Renault have acres of drivers on their books, but being honest about it, most of them are middle rankers at best (yes Grosjean fans, that includes him. Especially him, in fact). Kubica was their only top-rank driver, and he’s not going to be ready in time. This deal solves both their problems neatly.

      The reality however is possibly the opposite. Kimi yawned his way through his last two years with Ferrari, and likes to have a simple team to work with (Ron berating him for breaking a fragile car, and the endless pressure and politicking of Ferrari clearly didn’t agree with him).

      Boullier, who is in his first Team Principal role, has managed to annoy senior, well respected technical staff into leaving by bringing in John Wickham to judge them (a man whose achievements hardly qualify him to pass judgement on multiple F1 champion winning staff) – only to have Wickham leave after a few months. He’s also managed to alienate his only decent driver in a series of pointless brinkmanship manoevres. He’s started to embarrass himself and I doubt he has the man management skills to keep Kimi motivated.

      All that will fall by the wayside if by some miracle they produce a winning car next year. They’ve 4 amazingly strong teams to leapfrog in order to achieve that, however.

      1. hmm.. very interesting observation… ill definitely keep an eye on how Boullier runs the team next year.. but certainly it is going to be an exciting season …

      2. The latest interview with Kimi about his reasons for a comeback are solidly in line with what you said there @hairs

        But when I did some NASCAR races this year I noticed that I was increasingly missing the racing side – to race against each other – because in rallying you really race against the clock.

        and to the reason of why back to F1 (instead of trying something different)

        It has been really nice to try to learn rallying in the last few years. On some days it was hard. It’s been easier this year than last year but still it’s a very difficult sport. I’m really looking forward to coming back. At least Formula 1 is something where I know how everything works as I’ve been there for many years – compared to rallying when I didn’t know what would really happen. Then I went to NASCAR and I had no clue how it would be. So in that way it should be much, much easier to come back and it should be pretty normal.

        On a different note, I really liked these lines about how F1 is easier in a way, compared to rallye:

        I certainly remember all the braking and how quickly everything happens. But compared to rallying, say, you have slightly more time. In rallying, it doesn’t give you a second chance. When you make a mistake you go off. There are no run-off areas and there are trees. In Formula 1 you have a lot of run-off areas, you can run a bit wide and it is not such a big deal. You lose a lap in the practice or in qualifying but in the race you maybe don’t even lose a place.

      3. That interview is out on video as well –

      4. Yup. I promise this will be the last time I mention it around here, but Eric Boullier is the worst team principal in F1. Absolutely useless as a manager.

        1. I was excited when he joined as such a young team principal, and he seems like a genuinely nice guy, but I’m beginning to think you’re right. He hasn’t looked too competent this year in particular. According to Will Buxton there are likely still some major shaekups to come at the team in upper management. Could it be the end of Boullier as team principal?

    5. He left McLaren for a good reason. McLaren failed to give him competitive machinery during his tenure with them, and were too critical of an extremely talented man (i look at Ron “loudmouth” Dennis). Ferrari were too political but when they signed Kimi i thought, a change was about. I guess after seeing what Kimi did with McLaren and Ferrari, he needed to take some time off and “rediscover love” for F1. Now he’s back, as he wants to race again, not trundle about, and that’s just my line of thought, but is plausible.

    6. Define “factory” the team are backed by car maker Proton.

    7. I pray that both Schumacher and Kimi show the grid what they’re worth. Next year… there’s Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel, Kimi, Button, Webber, Massa, Hamilton, Rosberg to watch.

      Funny thing! As gripping as the racing will be next year, the silly season that follows can be even better. Hamilton’s contract is up for renewal… It will be interesting to see who’ll move to McLaren next. Schumacher and Rosberg won’t leave McLaren i guess. Alonso/ Kimi wouldn’t want to relive a nightmare, even though Whitmarsh may support either of them. Vettel is having a time of his life at RBR. I don’t think any one else other than Kubica/ Massa/ Webber will have intentions of moving to McLaren, if and when Hamilton leaves. The million dollar question is, if Hamilton moves, where does he go? Ferrari though they rate him, may not be so keen on his services, as Alonso sure will have something to say about it. Or, may be he already knows Ham is headed there, and thus the niceties exchanged between the duo? If not Ferrari then RBR, and Webber could be slotted right in.

      1. I meant Schumacher and Rosberg wouldn’t leave Mercedes.

  2. Finally! Now it will be interesting again.

    1. Yeah, really good news, hope this combination will be very successful.

    2. Now that is good news after sad and somewhat boring Interlagos race. May I borrow the famous cheer: “yes yes yes” :)
      Thank you Kimi, thank you Renault etc….

    3. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the homepage! Somehow I thought all these rumours would become nothing.
      Now I think Grosjean would be perfect to partner him: Senna has been mediocre, as has been Petrov with more experience.

    4. by far and away, the best piece of news of the year! :D

      1. Very happy to see kimi back. Hopefully car will not be that bad such that he keeps on struggling for Q3. Looking forward to see kimi raw speed at display.

      2. by far and away, the bst piece of news of the year!

        Agreed completely! I literally cheered when I saw the headline :) My dog looked at me like I was a crazy person!!!

  3. Petrov must be happy. If Kubica comes back he’ll be out the window, presumably, because they signed Kimi for two years.

    1. That means Grosjean will not get his seat neither… poor guy.

      1. @gwenouille Yep. Pretty disappointed about that. There is nothing else Grosjean can do to ensure a seat next year. He dominated GP2, what else can you ask for?

        1. Grosjean could be another Pantano. Win GP2, miss out on an F1 seat and then never get a real chance again.
          Would be a shame.

          1. isn’t this the same grosjean who HAD a chance , didn’t shine , got dropped ?

            if he can’t get a seat here with the team principal as his manager it looks like goodbye especially as he isn’t actually french …renault would be happier to see a real french driver to put their influence behind , and there now looks to be some talent coming through

          2. @colin grayson : I don’t see how you can say that he is not French… He has dual nationality (Swiss and French) and is running under French racing licence… He is as much French as Vergne and Bianchi.

          3. @lebesset This is the Grosjean who had his chance, didnt shine and was dropped.
            Then went to GT racing and was very good, then won the GP2 title.
            Thus earning himself a second chance.

            We’ve seen plenty of times that some drivers are thrown into F1 too soon, given too little time to adjust and then dropped just as quickly as they were picked up.

            In Grosjean’s case (as with Pantano) this latest setback could be the end of his hopes as an F1 driver because he can’t go back to GP2 and will likely drop off the radar of the F1 teams.
            That seems like a waste of talent, just as it was with Pantano.

      2. Neither will Bruno Senna, who proved that he wasn’t rubbish, even if his racecraft was spotty at times…

        1. Two good qualifying performances and one points finish in eight races doesn’t really prove or disprove anything, if you ask me. I feel more sorry for Grosjean than Senna. The latter will probably pop up in the sport at some point thanks to the backing his name inevitably attracts, but I can’t see where the former is going to take his career now. Perhaps he’ll become a test/reserve driver for a season to start off with.

          I never thought Kimi would come back with Renault, but I’m pleased to see another Finn and another world champion on the grid for next year.

      3. Bet he never saw this threat coming. Senna or Kubica maybe. Feel a little sorry for him and Bruno.

    2. With this news I expect Kubica at Ferrari in 2013. Can Renault even afford to pay Kimi and Kubica? Question is does alonso want kubica at Ferrari, I know they are best mates but he won’t be pulling over to let him through.

      1. I still don’t think Kubica will need to find a place, because I don’t believe he’ll ever return.

      2. Kubica was nearly signed twice by Ferrari, but he refused them on fisrt occasion (for injured Massa) and then for Massa again due to his poor performance, unfortunately Kubica has had an accident so all plans collapsed. So now all puzzles start to make sense, as Renault said they won’t help Kubica to recover as he don’t have a contract, and truly, I dont think that he want to bound with them for long term contract as Boullier wants, so they sign up Kimi, and Ferrari (as rumours were saying) will help Kubica to come back letting him to test on their 2 track and simulator and substitute Massa in 2013 or sooner, but that depends on both Massa’s performance and recovery and pace in 2010 car.
        For me there is no doubt that Kubica will be back even stronger than before, I saw him after Canada’07 in GP3 in 2004 i think driving one hand and claiming victory…

        1. Investing in Kubica would prove similarly risky as investing in Massa after his accident. Takes time to recover both physically and mentally..

          1. I’m not so sure, Massa’s was a brain injury and Kubica’s is more like a serious version of Schumacher’s neck injury.

            If the nerves and the tendons have recovered sufficiently I’m sure he’ll be quick. He wasn’t affected mentally by the Canada 07 crash at all I seem to remember.

          2. Kubica apparently does not remember the accident, maybe that will reduce the mental limitations.

        2. Which is great, but do you really think Alonso will want Kubica in his team?

          That’s the flaw I see in it. And Alonso has quite a bit of influence at Ferrari.

          1. Alonso wants a broomstick in the second car. That way he can celebrate a guaranteed first place in the ‘Fernando Alonso Ego-Boosting Championship, Sponsored by Ferrari’.

          2. I was thinking more along the lines of, not someone who could beat him potentially, like Hamilton could have…

      3. Kubica is likely to be gone for good. For a person to take 1 year to recover is some serious long term injury with potential long term side-effects. Severity of his injuries were played down significantly and we still do not fully understand them. He may be back in the future if he finds good sponsors, but i think teams would be afraid and probably silly to hire him anytime soon. He’s got a long way to go for recovery. At the moment he looks like a walking stick from the images -no muscles, lost a lot of weight (not that he had much to begin with but still it is noticeable) no doubt from rehabilitation and medications and doing nothing … best of luck to him though

      4. Kubica is out of contract with Renault as of Jan 2012 and doesn’t want to go back. He will likely spend 2012 testing Ferrari Machinery for rehab purposes and return to competition with the Scuderia in 2013 if his hands are up to it.

    3. @dc – Renault need Petrov. When Raikkonen was talking to Williams, he was said to be asking for $12 million. Petrov is believed to bring $15 million to the team. He’s basically paynig Raikkonen’s salary.

      1. lol, I find it very interesting to read all your comments.

      2. @Prisoner Monkeys

        Any news on what Renault are paiying him?

        I’m thinking it’s significantly less that a typical Kimi fee of yesteryear.

        1. I’m guessing he got what he asked for because the sponsor that would be paying him and williams is still paying him and renault, they just get (probably) a better car for their man.

      3. $12 million is a lot in this economy for a team like Renault / Lotus. I wonder if Räikkönen actually got anything close to that.

    4. I’m not so sure, I think this is a sign that Kubica isn’t coming back.

      1. Lot’s of interesting points made in this little bunch.

        It’s a shame Kubica will likely not return to Renault/Lotus. A Kimi-Kubica lineup would be electric.

        It is right to wonder whether he will recover from injury or struggle like Massa has. It’s a shame because both Pre Accident Massa and Pre Accident Kubica could beat Alonso on their day. Here is to hoping that both can recover that form, so that no matter who the Scuderia signs they can push Alonso and sometimes put him in his place (something I think he needs as a driver more than he’d like to admit).

        1. Umar Farooq Khawaja
          1st December 2011, 17:07

          You mean like Hamilton’s been put in his by Button this year? :P

  4. Must be annoying for those drivers who have been queuing to get a seat at Renault but none the less, well chuffed he’s back!

    1. As I said before, management of this team, whatever it’s name, never has seemed to be very geared to keeping drivers happy.

      Unless they were the ‘chosen one’ that is – Schumacher, Alonso, Kubica, and now perhaps Kimi; but the 2nd driver is almost as secure as in a HRT, just with hope of a much better car, and a in a team that expects more and has more experience, and thus might allow a driver to show more.

  5. Stock up the ice cream fridges!

    1. Won’t it melt in a fridge?

      1. lol :)

    2. Or if Kimi takes a **** just before every race the Lotus will be nice and light…

  6. In many ways kimi’s return was an open secret. Am pleased he’s back although I’d have preferred it to be with Williams (who I’m now very worried about).

    What was strange about this announcement was the timing. Why on earth announce at such an odd time!

    1. As soon as it was a done deal so that neither party feels the desire to renegotiate it, and Kubica’s manager can agree to disagree?

  7. a bit of shock. I’m surprised by the fact that F1 still can surprise me. Anyway it’s interesting choice. Bad for Grojean or Senna though.

    1. so now Sutil for Williams?

      1. sid_prasher (@)
        29th November 2011, 10:50

        I hope so – it will be unfortunate if a top 10 finisher has to drop out…

      2. One more chance for Rubinho – but I think Sutil’s gonna get there.

        1. It’s a shame Williams won’t sign both Rubens and Sutil. They are keeping Maldonado for sponsorship money, but if they’d just show him the door and redesign that awful gearbox solution, they’d make a lot more money by you know, actually scoring points next season.

          1. Rubens has said he will drive for little money but if he was that desperate couldnt he just say he would drive for free?

          2. Jack Flash (Aust)
            30th November 2011, 1:35

            Why is Maldonado to stay for 2012 a done deal? What is happening back in Venezuala and the outrage rising over PVDSA sponsorship to Maldondo (taken from Govt PVDSA coffers)?

            I thought the Pastor Maldonado ride with Williams might end (2012 valid contract or otherwise), when a possible cessation of funding from PVDSA cuts in. A force majure situation event for Maldonado’s contract I’d suspect.

            Rubens has more secure sponsorship money sources from Brazil it would seem. So Rubens may have a glimmer of hope for 2012 after all. I hope so. JF

    2. For Petrov as well. If Boullier wants Romain than even Vitaly’s contract won’t stop him. But maybe Eric is also a man to change. Just my feeling…

      1. Well, Petrov has money and even if it’s not top notch his skill is reasonably good so it’s safe bet rather than Grojean. I won’t say Grojean would be bad but Petrov has more merits.

        1. I get the impression that they’ll drop Petrov, and bring in Grosjean. I may be wrong but I think the team (quite rightly) have not been at all impressed with any of their drivers this year.

        2. Petrov is really overrated. He started this season pretty well, but since then he’s be very very average, even if he pays for his seat.

          Do Renault need the money now that Kimi is coming and all the sponsorship that brings?

          1. Plus that slagging off the team episode can’t have impressed anyone at Enstone

          2. It’s just a hunch of course, but I think Petrov is out.

            Boullier has been quite critical of him in the press recently: very similar to the situation before Heidfeld was dropped. Also, in Brazil Grosjean was quite clearly being lined up for a 2012 drive.

            Personally speaking, I think Lotus should drop Petrov. His appointment has been something of a low point for the team. He has only had his seat because of money and he’s nowhere near good enough for a potential front running team. The pay driver approach may be good enough for the backmarker teams but it’s just wrong for the likes of Renault/Lotus.

          3. @john-h think that it was really mainly the car, ie. the team, that dropped the ball heavily after the start of the season.

            I do agree that this team has a history of blaming the (pay/second) driver for mistakes in the team, so he might be out, but I don’t think he did so very bad.

            Grosjean might have been able to do better, just as Heidfeld might have been able to eke out a few anonymous points more, but see how Senna fared.

            Maybe it is lack of talent, or maybe it’s just the team being as bad or worse than in 2008, but without the drive and supreme talent if Alonso (or Kubica). I think the latter more likely.

          4. @John-h Overrated or not, maybe Williams could now make a grab for Petrov to replace Maldonado?

            He’s not exactly the most popular driver on the grid!

          5. @john-h Given that Raikkonen is historically one of the most expensive drivers in F1, and that he’s infamously loathe to do PR work for the teams he drove for, I’d agree with other commenters who say they now need Petrov’s sponsorship more than ever (esp. after the Snoras embezzlement scandal)

          6. @michel-s Yep, you can look at it either way – depends what Kimi has signed for I guess although I presume your right in actual fact.

            I don’t know how Senna compares, but I’m guessing he probably brings quite a bit. Remember Petrov was signed before Kubica’s injury (andnow possible exit) so perhaps the Senna money is now enough?

            Interesting to speculate.

          7. @skett

            Hmm, a Sutil and Petrov combinations at Williams seems like a good idea.

          8. @mhop He got a podium this year which is more than massa managed in a ferrari. He probably is out but he hasn’t been that bad.

      2. @Mordred I think it’spossible both Boullier and Petrov will go. I don’t know if it’s unusual or not, but there’s no mention of either in the press release.

        As to Boullier, Dave Ryan was looking over his shoulder in Brasil. And it’s never a good sign when people come to watch your work as you do it.

        Regarding petrov, there are some rumblings surrounding the Snoras bank, I don’t know what’s his relation to the bank and the people involved (does he have a relationship with them or is it purely a Renault finance vehicle?)…

        I won’t be surprised if we’re into more surprises!

        1. Could Renault somehow manage to get Grosjean to take Trulli’s seat? Then, STR would have to drop Buemi, and therefore, F1 loses two mediocre drivers: Buemi and Trulli.

          1. For sure, more changes coming up. Boullier does not know how to stop shuffling people around.

          2. Apart from Buemi is not mediocre

          3. Do you mean in a similar way to Red Bull asking HRT to run Daniel Ricciardo?

          4. I think Buemi is, at least, OK.

          5. Supposedly Ricciardo to replace Trulli at Caterham is already a done deal, just needs to be inked. I guess this would be in exchange for RB gearbox and KERS.

  8. Fantastic news, hopefully New Lotus can produce a good car again and keep up the development to give Kimi a chance for a podium or two. Would be great to see a podium made up of Alonso, Shumi and Kimi some time in 2012 to bring back a bit of mid noughties nostalgia (but with a bit of car shuffling in-between!)

    Can’t see any of them troubling the latest world champion though.

    1. Haha good point,

      Who’d have put money in 2005 of seeing a race (let alone a podium) with Alonso in a Ferrari, Raikkonen in a Renault and Schumacher in a Mercedes.

      1. Wow…. Too true.

      2. Renault and Ferrari were good then, so I wouldn’t have been surprised to find that those 2 would find themselves there. But Schumacher in a Mercedes… And Button in a McLaren too, although I wouldn’t have been surprised I definitely wouldn’t have put money on it.

      3. You win :) Valencia 2012.

  9. All in all, 2012 is all spiced up.
    Just imagine a hypothetical (to some extent) scenario:
    6 WDC + Pirellis + KERS + Exciting Rookies – DRS

    What more could we have asked for!

    1. 6 WDC + Pirellis + KERS + Exciting Rookies – DRS

      – DRS is my favorite word :P

      1. Sadly, I don’t think the FIA will be getting rid of DRS in 2012 (if that’s what you mean).

    2. A sky minidish?

    3. 6 WDC is just as exciting as 5 WDC with one of them driving a car 0,5 seconds faster than the rest…

      1. like this ;-))

      2. My thoughts exactly!

      3. Than its a shame, that either its 5 or 4 or 3, remaining are so incompetent against that ONE ;)

        1. yeah you know chuck norris wrote the fia rule book for the sole purpose of stopping schumacher.

    4. 6 WDC + Pirellis + KERS + Exciting Rookies – DRS

      What more could we have asked for!

      Exciting rookies? Like… er… De La Rosa? Grosjean? Charles “Who?” Pic?

      1. To be fair Grosjean never had a chance to prove himself and it will be his first full season.

    5. @vickyy who are these Exciting Rookies you talk about?

      1. @hairs @mustalainen my bad, poor choice of words, I actually meant more refined DiResta, Perez, even Hulk and none of them are literally rookie

  10. wow. just wow. My jaw’s still on the ground. Now to see whether he struggles or gets back to business easily.

  11. like i just said before the only top driver available oon the grid it’s KIMI!!!!!!
    welcome back KIMI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Which Kimi? The guy who fought JPM and Michael Schumacher to the end in 2003, often won races from the midfield in 2005 (e.g. Japanese GP), won 6 races and won the 2007 title by a point over Alonso and Hamilton, or the guy who buggered off to his yacht in Monaco 2006, retired the car for some Magnums and Coke in 2009 and kept crashing in his WRC for two years straight?

      Hopefully he makes the most of his second tour in F1 and we get to see more of the “Flying Finn” rather than the “Frat Boy Finn”

      1. well maybe you should sit in a water filled car with KERS insulation problem and show us how he’d supposed to be racing with that…and in Monaco, you’d probably keep driving even tough your car is on fire. Really how stupid of Kimi to stop for those kind of things, right?

        1. You’ve named yourself well to respond to @knf ‘s post. Kimi was doing a great job in Monaco 2006, running 2nd and passing Webber on track (yes, on track), before his car failed.

          1. Being a Raikkonen supporter can be very frustrating, especially if his machinery falls apart (how on earth did his suspension come undone during qualy in Bahrain 2006?), or he trips over a backmarker (like Liuzzi in Hungary 2006)…

  12. Kim and Robert, this is going to be awesome.

      1. So Bruno Senna doesn’t stand a chance? I though OGX paid enough money!

        1. Best chances for Bruno is Williams.

          1. Senna + Williams = ouch

    1. If it it’s going to happen… Yes. Kubica & Raikkonenn in 2012 have the perspective to be the most astonishing as well as the most disappointing pair. Both of them achieved outstanding results and in both cases their form for next season is a big questionmark. In Kubica’s case, he might not be fit enough, Kimi on the other hand might not be motivated enough for F1.

    2. IMO KUB is more likely to start with Ferrari than Lotus

      1. IMO KUB will never race in F1 (or any other series) again.

        1. no. the news is not kimi’s back. the news is kubica is going to ferrari. and thats why kimi is back and eric says that he will not give kub a car for testing if he is going to other team.

          1. Haha. Believe it when I see it.

        2. you keep giving that oppion, but do you understand the up to date facts on kubica. kubicas bones are practically all healed now, he is driving a road car in poland. his hand still doesnt have the feeling required, but he moves all his fingers and is getting there, just slowly. he will recover, all his doctors have said that, not just his manager who would obviously say it to get him a contract. Autosport were the last ones stating Ferrari will test him in 2012 with an eye for the race seat in 2013, there was an article in their paid subcsription online magazine just recently. ferrari are taking that opportunity with kubica coming out of contract for renault. ofcourse everydriver would pick a ferrari race drive in 2013 over a second-half of the season drive with renault next year.

          1. Couldn’t have said it better this is exactly what i believe is happening in all respects.

        3. What a fantastically positive outlook you have there!

          1. Apologies for coming across so negatively.

            I guess what I meant to say is that it seems the vast majority of fans are taking Kubica’s return to F1 for granted, which seems irrational given the severity and nature of his injuries. Sorry to be blunt, but the fans have been conned by Kubica’s management team by them saying that he could have been back before the end of 2011, and reading between the lines it seems to me that it will be impossible for him to return any time in 2012. It’s very sad, I’d love to see Kubica back one day, but no one should take it for granted given his injuries.

  13. Poor Grosjean, he really deserves another shot at F1. Certainly more deserving of the other Renault seat than Petrov…

    1. Petrov’s best result: 3rd. Grosjean’s: 13th. Grosjean never showed he had the speed, determination or strength for F1 racing. Petrov’s far from perfect but I’d put more faith in him than in stick-thin Romain to drag his car as high up the grid as possible.

      1. He was partnering Alonso at a time when Renault were actually ‘the Fernando Alonso (+1) team’ and the car was generally more of a dog than it was at the beginning of this season. Also, Petrov had a full season before getting that podium.

        1. Do you really think fernando needed the team to mess with grosjean’s car to beat him? If you do i can only assume you are here representing the spanish inquisition’s formula one interests, no one can hate a spaniard that much.

          1. @TheBrav3
            I never said that his car was messed with. I’m not a crazy conspiracy-nut, no matter how much you want me to be one.

          2. I specifically used the spanish inquisition to avoid you thinking i was calling you a conspiracy nut. Just some one who hates fernando, nothing wrong with that i hate maldonado.

          3. There doesn’t seem any point arguing as you clearly misread what I wrote or are just looking to have an argument. I said the team was Alonso-focused, to the detriment of his team mate, not that they sabotaged the other car or that Alonso was in any way ‘bad’. I don’t waste my time hating on Alonso, or people stating innocent truths. I never implied that Grosjean would have beaten Alonso in a more equal team, just that he was disadvantaged and that probably exaggerated how bad he really was.

      2. That’s based on only what you see in the results column. I’d disagree 100%. Petrov is good for Russian publicity and sponsorship – and is okay in the rain. Beyond that…..Grosjean would blow him away in equal equipment. It already happened in GP2.

        1. Grosjean also blew away Kobayashi in GP2. Ask around the paddock who the teams would rather hire.

          1. If it’s Kobayashi it’s probably mainly because of experience, not skill necessarily.

          2. @matt90 let’s see… in his first couple of races, Kobayashi was dicing with the world champion and overtaking guys in faster cars.

            In his half a year in F1 Grosjean went backwards in the races, couldn’t keep to the track, and showed absolutely no indication of the sort of mental or physical strength you need to be in F1. So… No, I’m sorry. Kobayashi would get hired because he’s faster, more reliable, a better driver, and more interesting to sponsors and the media.

          3. As I’ve said in several other places, I think there were several things working against Grosjean. Although there’s no doubt he dissapointed, he has shown in the last year to be talented enough to deserve another go, so I doubt teams would look exclusively at those few races 2 years ago.

        2. Grosjean didn’t blow Petrov away in 2009 before he replaced Piqet jr. Grosjean had 3 good races to start the season, 2 wins and a 2nd. but after that he was just average. Hulkenberg, Petrov AND Lucas Di Grassi blew him away!

    2. Grosjean is only good for french publicity

      1. And winning GP2, Auto GP and F3 Euroseries.

          1. Solid input, nice discussion.

        1. @matt90

          yes, and that.

  14. I wonder what will happen to Senna and Grosjean now…will LRGP drop Petrov for Senna/Grosjean ? Partnering a young inexperience driver with Kimi will be good.

    1. if some brazillian journos are right, it will be Bruno Senna as teammate for Kimi.. Bruno has potentials, bring sponsors, LRGP members love him and most importantly, he is Group Lotus’ poster boy

      1. well some may love him, but his perofrmance is just poor…
        better to se romain than petrov and bruno.

        1. I can see a scenario where Grosjean gets the drive from the start of the season, learns from Kimi, builds up some experience and then gives up the seat for Kubica to return and becomes the teams chief reserve and test driver. In the hopes that he is promoted to one of the race seats again when either Kimi or Kubica leave in a few seasons.

          That’s not likely to happen, but if I were Boullier that’s exactly what I’d do. Most people didn’t think they’d sign Kimi, I hoped they would and I was right, I hope I can be right on this one too!

  15. i can’t wait for Spa 2012

    1. Oh yeaahhh! Kimi in Spa. Ah, music!

      1. Why Spa? Kimi vs. Lewis in Spa on a rainy Sunday? Massa should be happy too :)

    2. @tifoso1989 – I doubt he’ll last that long. I predict Renault will be looking for a new driver some time around the Canadian or European Grand Prix. When Raikkonen realises the car isn’t a title contender, he’ll grow bored and an embarrassed Renault will fire him.

      1. I don’t agree, He’s obviously tried hard to come back into F1. And I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves.

        I’m far from a Kimi fan, but I’m absolutely delighted he’s back.

      2. When Raikkonen realises the car isn’t a title contender, he’ll grow bored and an embarrassed Renault will fire him.

        That would explain the win and 4 other podiums in 09. His form seems to swing with mood, but I think just how much is exaggerated.

      3. @prisonermonkeys,bitter much?

        1. No, I’m not bitter. I just think Raikkonen was the wrong decision for all involved.

      4. In that situation, I’d be surprised if other teams don’t start clambering over him.

        1. Why would they? I suspect Raikkonen will walk away from Lotus when he realises the car isn’t as competitive as he would like it to be. Why on earth would the other teams fall over one another to sign him up simply because he gave up as soon as things got difficult?

          1. I’d say publicity. Some have, I suspect, signed up faded talents just for the limelight. Having a champion in your team increases the likelihood, more or less, of getting more sponsors (especially those new to Formula 1).

  16. Great to see another class world champion on the grid. The Iceman is back.

  17. I’m happy. Kimi, despite non-F1 people thinking he’s dull, I find him hilarious. Glad to have a non-corporate driver back in the pit lane to tell us how things really are.
    He’s also great to watch on track. (I guess that point should come first) :D

  18. Good news. Little disappointed that I won’t get to see him compete in the WRC anymore and feeling for Grosjean right about now.

    That said, it will be great to have him back. I hope we get flicks of the old Kimi but a more a more sensible, sincere approach to his drive. I’m sure we will.

  19. now the silly season fully deserves it’s name … it may have been an open secret, but I was hoping that Renault (or Lotus … ok, let’s call them Lopez’ team) will give the chance to Grosjean … Romain is the actual looser of this game … hopefully he’ll get a chance at Williams (Sutil should stay in FI imo, but F1 isn’t always rational) …

  20. I must admit mixed feelings about this one. Obviously it’s good to see Raikkonen back but I’m disappointed for Senna and Grosjean. This is all assuming nothing’s going to prise Petrov out of the other seat, of course.

    1. Agree. I was really looking forward to seeing Grosjean vs. Petrov at Lotus (better get used to it now). Great to have Kimi back, though.

      1. I still think there is a chance Grosjean will get the nod over Petrov. Boullier likes him a lot, he has more than proven himself by dominating GP2 this year and he’d be perfect to slot into the 2nd seat alongside Kimi. Either to keep it warm till Kubica could return or to have it all to himself.

    2. @keithcollantine I’m disappointed for Sutil and Barrichello as I think this decision decreases their chances of getting race seats for 2012. I believe these two guys really deserve to be in F1, they have proved their value lately.

      1. I’d say it deffinitely increases rubens chances because the pool of talent and sponsor money just got smaller.

    3. Yeah the same. It is great to see 6 champions on the grid and F1 should be about the best drivers in the world, competing in the best cars on the best tracks (maybe the last one is a bit dubious).

      You can’t help but feel sorry for Grosjean as he has impressed on two occassions now and just aced GP2 this year and still can’t get a drive. Maybe he will, we just don’t know. I also think Senna deserves a drive but there are only 24 spots on the grid, someone’s got to go home unhappy.

      1. And in the meantime, granPa De La Rosa snatches a seat from nowhere… puzzling…

        1. yeah thats a joke. and no offence is intended towards pedro, fair play id accept a drive if it was offered but there are better options out there.

          1. I dunno, he’s probably exactly what HRT need

    4. Yes, that’s my feeling too. Looking forward to seeing Kimi back in F1, but this silly season makes me feel more and more sorry for some talented guys who just won’t get a chance for next year if ever, it seems.

    5. Senna and Grosjean

      i am not really disappointed with neither of the two.

  21. Welcome back Iceman :)

  22. Agree with Keith.

    Mixed feeling for me, is nice to see a big name like Kimi back in f1, with 6 former champions on the grid next season, but I would love to see Senna next season. I think he deserved a full season to show his full talent.
    Will LRGP replace Petrov with Senna/Grosjean now? (by breaking the contract).

  23. Well I’m glad that’s over. Just got to wait and see who will be driving alongside him. We all suspect it will be Petrov but then you never know.

    I think the partnership could work quite well. Renault started the year really well with a couple of podiums and you can’t help but think that if Kubica was in the car then he would have got a better result, and this would be the same guess with Raikkonen.

    I’m glad to see Kimi back on the grid as F1 should have the best drivers in the world and Kimi is one the best. Welcome back.

  24. Well I’ll be…who would have thunk it, the long rumoured Raikkonen comeback has actually happened!!

  25. Very happy to see Kimi return, back a few posts someone asks “which Kimi are we getting?”
    Cant wait till March to find out!

  26. Well, now I am just waiting for Kubica’s come back. I hope he will and we will see Robert’s true speed. I just can’t wait to see which one will be stronger. Kimi is a good comparison.

    1. How good will Renault, or Lotus, be if Kubica comes back?!

      1. Kubica will take long time to get back up to speed.

        1. @Maksutov So will Raikkonen.

    2. I think Kimi’s 2 year contract means door’s closed for Kubica, not that he didn’t ask for it. IMO chances of “world class” line up in Lotus (because this is how this is team will be called from now on, I find it silly and to some extent spiteful to call it Renault while calling Caterham Lotus) are very slim.

      1. Patience. I’m sure everyone will call them Lotus next season.

      2. Calm down @cyclops_pl it’s in no way spiteful to call them Renault. We aren’t in the 2012 season yet so I shall call them Renault. I don’t call McLaren Vodafone so I won’t call them Lotus until pre-season testing begins.

      3. @cyclops_pl I continue to call them Renault because, as explained months ago, this is the name logged with the FIA for the 2011 season:

        The same goes for Lotus and Virgin. Am I, in your view, also being “spiteful” towards them?

        1. @keith don’t try to make sense of it. This is a product of the bahr/renault/proton propaganda campaign it’s like stockholm syndrome towards a company

  27. What are the chances that Grosjean could be in line for a place at Williams? I know Renault are technically pulling out of F1 as a works team, but Williams will be powered by Renault engines next year and we all assume that Barrichello won’t be there.

    Grosjean is managed by Gravity which is owned by Gerard Lopez, so maybe there is a spot there?

    1. @smifaye Not a bad way of looking at things at all. Sutil and Grosjean perhaps?

      Would be one hell of a shift for Williams but let’s face it, they need one!

      1. @andrewtanner yeah I’d like to see that but I can’t see Maldonado leaving Williams.

        1. That would actually be a fantastic move for Williams. Unfortunately Hugo Chavez has given Maldonado so much oil money it’s unlikely to happen.

          But, there is a chance the Venezuelan government could override the sponsorship deal because they believe it may violate their laws. Thus opening up the door for Williams to keep Barrichello or at least bring in some new drivers that don’t suck.

          1. @smifaye @Adam-Tate If Williams can’t keep Maldonado then they will only go on the hunt for another pay driver. Not to say that pay drivers are all bad. But looking at the Young Driver test, i’m not holding out much hope!

  28. Yessssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the ICE AGE has returned!!!!!!!!!

    1. eeerrrm 2 years contract??? so what about Kubica????

      1. Well, the rumour has it Robert does not want to commit to Lotus for a long term (2013 onwards), so I have no idea what about him now that they signed Kimi.

        I kind of trust Kubica and his manager know what they are doing (i.e. they must have alternatives), given the current tense situation with Lotus GP (I suppose they are trying to make Lotus drop Kubica, not the other way round).

        1. It did seem that way with him manager stressing he only had a contract with them until the end of this year, not the next. I hope they’re looking at Ferrari for 2013, and will have Kubica do racing in a lower formula this year to get back up to speed and show he’s not Massa.

    2. By the way, the 2012 movie of the Ice Age series is called “Continental Drift”.

      1. LOL , very apt!

  29. UNeedAFinn2Win
    29th November 2011, 8:58

    Heeeee’s baaa’aaack…

    Actually having some trouble with this, as Bahar really put me off this team, settling in (or was it out of?) court came way too late, and now I have to cheer them for the next two years? WTH!?

    As Team Lotus is no longer and Genii Lotus are probably going to take full advantage of the history of the brand, I just hope they keep it civil.

    I now have “my” guys sitting on both sides and I have to be able to cheer both…maybe I’ll alternate :)

    It’s looking good for a Finn in 2012: Kimi, Heikki, Valtteri (and ½ Nico )

    1. Valtteri? Why? Have I missed something blindingly obvious, or does he still have no drive?

  30. Kimi will get bored quicker than he did in WRC. Mid-table has never been his ambition so I think he’ll struggle to motivate himself once he finds himself there.

    1. I have the same fear! Formula1 has changed – and even a schumacher struggles very hard. And i think with the new conditions : Managing tires, tactical thinking and NOT sheer speed, it will demotivate our Iceman.

      As we see on Hamilton, real speed isnt the point anymore – Formula1 requires clever and patient drivers. On the other hand i think Kimi will at least have some fun with the drs. Cant wait to see him rushing through the field, whenever he starts at the end of the grid – where i expect Lotus Renault to be :/

      1. He generally did a good job when they had a single set of tyres for the race

      2. Really Renault only fell back this season because they tried such a radical solution with the exhaust. Much like Williams falling back because they tried a radical solution with the gearbox packaging. I fully expect both to ditch the concepts next year and return to the form they both exhibited in 2010, which would mean Renault nipping at the heels of Mercedes and Williams leading the midfield in a close battle with Force India.

        Given how the top teams will be looking to close the gap on RedBull and how tight the midfield was by this seasons end, next year could be a real humdinger of a season.

        1. Williams falling back because they tried a radical solution with the gearbox packaging

          I don’t think that’s why they fell back, I suspect other teams will utilize similar concepts next year.

    2. @paolo He knows what he’s getting himself in for. I doubt he’d have signed a two-year deal if he didn’t think he could hack it.

      1. Fair point but it one thing signing for a team which have obviously convinced him of their potential and another actually delivering that potential.

        He knew what he was getting into in WRC and the US too…

        1. Changetherecord
          29th November 2011, 10:09

          Do you really think he was serious about Nascar?He was just interested how that car felt.And about WRC,he was basically driving a private team.It’s not cheap.

          1. @Changetherecord Your first sentence could as equally apply to F1 this time round.

            But I hope not, and its good to see him back on the grid. 6 world champs make it extremely interesting although I do also agree with Keith that its a shame someone is going to get squeezed out.

  31. As a Finn, I am of course excited about the return of Kimi. But at the same time, I am not at all sure if the Renault/Lotus team has what it takes to bring the car to the top level. I’m sure they could be stronger next year than they were this year, but I doubt they can challenge the Mclaren-Ferrari-Red Bull trio over a full season.

    Hard to say what will happen with Robert’s career, but Massa has been completely useless ever since his accident (and I didin’t think much of him before either), so there is definitely a spot opening in the Ferrari camp. Red Bull will hang on to Webber although he is nearly as useless, because he’s just about good enough to help them with the constructor’s titles while not threatening Vettel at all.

    1. Massa has been completely useless ever since his accident

      And yet everyone is so sure that Kubica will be the same driver he was before IF he comes back at all…

      1. Not everyone is. I think it’s a real possibility that he WON’T return to F1.

        1. Which is why it would be smart if he can take next year to convince himself, and also Ferrari, by driving some other formula, showing he’s there again at the end of 2012, and in time for 2013.

  32. I don’t think Raikkonen would be very welcome at Ferrari…

    1. And I don’t think he’ll give the time of day to Ferrari either, seeing how he was pushed out by Santander money (granted, he was given some of that money to leave, but…)

      1. Agreed, but I still think they may have originally wanted to form a Kimi-Alonso super team, but didn’t have the heart to drop Massa after his accident.

        Given that they have treated Massa like crap ever since he came back, it’s puzzling they didn’t go for a Kimi-Alonso duo.

        But given how Alonso reacted to having Hamilton around, being team mates to Kimi could have been even worse.

        That said, I don’t see Kimi ever returning to Ferrari. But stranger things have happened. Most thought neither he or Schumacher or Mercedes would ever return!

        And who would have thought we’d ever have 14 driver’s championships held by a field of only 24 drivers?!

  33. Quick picture! (And better than the oft-shown picture from WRC days where he looks 45).

  34. Good news!:) I hope Lotus build a decent car, and that Kimi gets up to speed rather quick. That way we could have an exciting battle for best of the rest between Mercedes and Lotus.
    And I like Kimi’s “I race and don’t care about anything else” attitude a lot better than lots of the PR puppets we have these days.

  35. I think most F1 fans have wanted this for a while, but you know, I thought I’d be happier than I am. Maybe because until I see it for myself, I simply can’t believe that we’ll see a return of the old Kimi; and maybe because it again stalls the careers of Romain and Bruno, both of whom I’d love to see driving around in 2012. Not to mention the certainty of the exit of Petrov for 2013 when (if?) we see the return of Kubica.


    Finally my favourite driver is back, next year is going to be incredible !! i can’t wait !!

  37. Totally rubbish news. We have talented unproven youngsters waiting in the wings and the seats are being filled up by has-beens for their experience and then the teams wonder why the young guns aren’t getting to grips with technical knowledge, so fire them when the car is bad and they can’t get results.

    I just hop to the skies that he actually comes back and does really well, or it will have been for nothing.

    1. See, I’m hopping mad at this, that much…lol

    2. @icthyes I agree with you, I also don’t think that struggling ex-champions make F1 sexier, they rather have the opposite effect.

  38. Any idea why he’s coming back? Surely he doesn’t need the money? I though he hated F1.

  39. Very interesting to watch. Until now, only Alain Prost had a succesfull return in 1993.

      1. Technically you could count in Mario Andretti as well

      2. How could anyone forget Lauda’s comeback and eventual championship when it happened against Prost himself…

  40. Raikkonen returning? Wow, this really came out of nowhere…

  41. It’s great to see Kimi back on the grid, but it’s a pity for guys like Senna and Grosjean.

    Maybe the GP2 rules could be changed so that GP2 champions can still compete in the series. I’m not sure what someone like Grosjean (who most likely won’t have a seat in F1 next year) will be able to do that is close to F1, with such restricted testing and few seats on the grid.

    1. Like, top GP2 will get the extra team slot that is available?

  42. I’m dissapointed. Does F1 really need the overrated Finn?

    1. Changetherecord
      29th November 2011, 10:06

      Yes it does need the underrated Finn.

      1. The sport did not just survive for two years without Raikkonen – it had two fantastic seasons. Raikkonen’s presence isn’t the only thing holding the sport together (the way so many of his fans like to imply), and he’s not going to bring anything to the sport trundling around in a car a second off the pace.

  43. Worst. Birthday surprise. Ever.

    1. Hope you have a mostly good day despite it though!

    2. I didn’t see that it was your birthday PM. Sorry about this news but I sincerely hope you’ve had a wonderful day :)

  44. I am truly amazed, especially after what happened last year between the two parties. I hope his comeback is successful.

  45. I can remember seeing Kimi in a Formula Renault, years ago at Silverstone. He absolutely blitzed the rest of the field in pretty dodgy weather conditions.

    When he was on it in the Mclaren he was awesome. The problem is, he appears to have an attitute problem when things are not to his liking, when is shocking to see.

    I feel sorry for Grosjean and Senna – they may not have Kimi’s talent, but they have not had a chance to shine. The team may regret this decision if he throws a hissy fit.

  46. best news ever.

  47. I’m crying the tears of joy and drinking champagne over here. This is one of the best days of last few years. FORZA KIMI (am I allowed to use that, even if he doesn’t drive for Ferrari anymore?)

    1. This has to be the comment of the day!

      1. This has to be the comment of the day!

        Thank you :)

    2. I think you can definitely say forza Kimi. I remember reading the blogs in Italian when Kimi was pushed out by Santander and Alonso. Many many tifosi were irate at the news.

      There might be an assumption that Ferrari fans in Italy love Alonso, but from what I’ve seen Raikkonen was loved much more even if not fully understood.

      Forza Kimi, x sempre nel cuore!!!

  48. Nice surprise. Wasn’t expecting Kimi’s announcement so soon. He is one of my favorite driver and on his day could be as quick as Vettel and Hamilton.

    “My time in the World Rally Championship has been a useful stage in my career as a driver, but I can’t deny the fact that my hunger for F1 has recently become overwhelming”

    This is good to hear, that the hunger is back. In 2008 and especially in 2009 he lacked hunger or there could be other factors which made him loose interest in F1 like maybe he smelled in the Ferrari camp that he is no more needed and that they would be happy if he empty the seat for Fernando. A top driver need to have this sense that he is wanted and loved by his team so maybe those reasons affected his performances and increased mistakes.

    Now i hope he doesn’t take too many tests and miles to get back to the rhythm and top level pace and that Lotus Renault comes up with a competitive car to rival top 3 teams.

  49. Everyone is feeling sorry for Grosjean and Senna. I feel sorry for Sutil who wont be happy to see his nemesis back. All I can remember are incidents involving Sutil and Raikkonen. :)

    1. Germany 09..what a shame for Sutil :D

      1. How about Monaco 08! A real shame for Sutil.

        The brightside of Sutil possibly being in a Williams, he won’t see much of Kimi in the Renault ;)

        The bad news if Sutil stays with Force India….he will see a lot of Kimi in the Renault.

    2. Mahavir HAS to get COTD for that! :) :)

  50. Awesome news for Kimi and his sizeable fanbase. I suppose Lotus is the best team to be in for Kimi with Petrov supplying his vodka needs :)

    Sad news for Grosjean, he is really more talented than people think yet somehow cant get a break.

  51. I think the team should be referred to as Lotus already….otherwise the headline should read…’Raikkonen signs for Renault to drive for Lotus next year’.

    Anyway, I confidently predict that the Iceman will not drive a single race for Renault :-)

    1. @matthewf1 I’ve explained why they aren’t earlier in the comments.

  52. Is he bringing in some big dollars from Unilever?
    Are we to expect the Heartbrand logo appearing on the car?

  53. WHAT THE FER……Well this wasn’t the wake up call I expected, wow! Bring on 2012!

  54. I did not see this coming. Best news all year. KIMI IS BACK! YEAH!

    Six world champions in the grid next year. Let the epic battle begin…

    1. Six world champions with 14 driver’s championships between them!!

      Including every champion for the past decade!

      That is just incredible.

  55. So, every 1 in 6 drivers is a champion, and ‘almost’ 1 in 2 are former GP winners (I counted 11 incl Rubens). I feel it devalues the championship as a whole but it does make for exciting racing! Would someone be able to tell, how long has it been that every champion for the past decade has been on the grid at once?

    1. In fact, every GP winner for the past 5 years is on the grid aswell, with the last odd retiree being Fisichella winning Malaysia 06 if my memory serves right.

      1. Kubica won’t be on the grid

        1. Forgot him, thanks!

    2. How would winning the championship over 5 (or even 6) other champions devalue it? I would think that would be one of the most impressive championship efforts ever!

      And right off the top of my head i’d suspect it’s never happened that the champions of the past 10 years are all on the grid.

    3. 1 in 4 drivers will be a champion actually…

  56. I’m ecstatic — I’ve been hoping for Kimi to come back ever since he left. That said, I always feel bad for anyone losing their seat in F1, I don’t care who it is. As a Bruno fan, I’m feeling even more conflicted than I might be normally.

    But it seems doors in F1 are never truly closed. At the beginning of 2011, who would have guessed we’d end the season with, for example, both Toro Rosso drivers still in their seats AND Ricciardo racing as well? I guess my point is that you never know what’s going to happen, and for now I’m just going to focus on this positive thing: KIMI IS BACK. :-D

  57. What about that Lotus does not want to have Lada on the sidepod. They have a deal with Grosjean (or Senna) sponser and Petrov will go to Williams (also Renault motor) and Williams get (god forbid) Lada on the sidepod maybe even larger than Renault had this year.

  58. I seem to remember Kimi saying he would NEVER drive for Renault/Lotus Renault and claimed they were using his name to give themselves publicity a few years back. How times change eh Kimi.

    1. LOL, such is life, I also seem to remember him saying he has a contract for 2010 with Ferrari!!!

      1. He did have a contract with Ferrari for 2010 (and 2011, I think). It was the contract that he was very handsomely rewarded to forget about, so Ferrari could bring in Alonso.

  59. so I guess all the delay about this announcement since yesterday maybe due to photo shoot for kimi in renault team kit

    but.. this is good news; 2 Fins on the grid; one iceman and one fireman…

    so who’s next to be announce? Sutil for Williams? Ricciardo for Caterham? or maybe after all.. grojean will go to HRT?

    if grojean wanna be in Formula 1, he should find a place at the back of the grid. He just can’t keep hang in on to boullier praises because time is running out on him. But hey.. don’t lose hope even if he is reaching his 40’s; life is like a box of chocolate.. you never know what you gonna get!

    1. @silencer

      I agree that Grosjean should try for a lower team spot. It seemed to work well for Ricciardo this season and he’s gotten a lot of respect/notice from F1 fans since he replaced Narain.

      Not sure what race seats are available though:
      HRT have (I think) the #2 left.
      Caterham have Heikki, but no word on Trulli yet.
      Marussia are sorted I think.
      Sutil is probably going to Williams.

      1. Problem with that is that Grosjean doesn’t have any sponsorship to take with him to a lower team.

        Ricciardo took some Red Bull funding to HRT & I’ve seen speculation suggesting that Caterham will be getting there Red Bull gearbox at a cheaper price if they take Ricciardo for 2012.

        Also whats left at the back?

        Ya know im happy to see Kimi come back but also dissapointed that the young drivers have been overlooked again.

        Just hope that Senna or Grosjean get the other seat.

      2. Forgot to say that its worth remembering that HRT will be renames ‘Spanish National team’ next year so will likely want another spanish driver.

    2. but.. this is good news; 2 Fins on the grid; one iceman and one fireman…

      Haha that is great. COTD nomination.

  60. Renault have buckets of loads of potential at their feet and they sign a man who has been out of the sport two years when there’s been massive changes and he’s already abandoned F1 once? Yeah, smart move.

    1. maybe it brings them money, popularity, they can promote their new team with style…. just like Merc did . so in terms of that it is better compared to hiring some young noob who no one knows yet… or keeping the fake Senna; I am sure Kimi will attract a large audience and group to support the (what will now be considered) “true” Lotus team. F1 is a business, thats how it is

      1. It should be a sport. Kimi had his chance and Michael Schumacher one of the best drivers (if not the best) ever is struggling still now so how will Kimi do?

        1. I’m not going to sit here and suggest Räikkönen will definitely do better than the 7-times world champion, but he might have a slight advantage in that he didn’t rely as heavily on the incessant, compulsive testing that Schumacher did. He also already had a big tyre change to deal with when he moved from McLaren to Ferrari. It took him about half a season to get up to speed, but of course he hadn’t had a two year break on top of that.

          I do agree it’s a shame that F1 seems to be all about looking back these days as far as drivers is concerned. Even if I am a big fan of Räikkönen’s.

  61. As a Williams fanatic I’m devastated. As a Formula 1 fanatic I’m ecstatic. So I guess I’m even!

  62. I may not be remembering this correctly; but in the BBC build up show when they were interviewing Boullier, they walked past Grosjean in the garage and Boullier made some type of joke about the ‘contract’ that Grosjean had in his hand…maybe this is for him to drive at HRT next year???

  63. Great News….Can’t believe he’s back….
    Can’t wait for 2012…
    The Renault outfit looks good on him too…

  64. Well at least there will be one driver on the grid that won’t be afraid to openly critisise DRS.

    Kimi said a few weeks back that he doesn’t like DRS. Said he doesn’t see it as real racing & doesnt think it produces real or exciting passing.

    Just wish more drivers would actually speak out against this stupid gimmick like guys like Webber, Button, Heidfeld, Kimi & 2-3 others have.

  65. Almost wet myself with anticipation for 2012. 6 Champions! Hell yes!

  66. if this endS up going pear shaped like heidfeld, bouillers gonna have a lot of egg on his face yet again

    why he let kiubica race that rally car is beyond me, and why that dork petrov is there also remains one of the worlds biggest unsolved mysterys

    1. Boullier could already make several omlets. He took a podium finishing race car at season’s beginning , and it got beat by a Lotus a couple days ago. At least it stopped bursting into flames. Boullier is a disaster.

  67. It’s good that he’s back, he was a good driver, but I feel that it’s not going to last..

    Having said all of that, I’d love to see Vettel/Alonso/Schumi/Hamilton/Button/Raikkonen all fighting it out, maybe even Webber/Rosberg/Massa could join them… If just one race has a close fight between those 6, it’d be a good season..

  68. I am not convinced that taking on Raikkonen is the right move for Lotus, despite many crowing about how good it will be to have six champions on the grid. The fact is that Kimi always drove, from 2002 onwards anyway, championship worthy cars for McLaren and Ferrari. Only in his final year at Ferrari in 2009 did Raikkonen find himself driving a lemon. And that my friends, is the one million dollar question?
    Raikkonen is legendary for not exactly being the most PR friendly person. He prefers to let his driving do the talking, but in 2012, he may still not find himself in a winning car. Will he have the capacity to push the team forward during hard times, when the results are not coming and the pressure is on? Obviously, no matter who he is paired with, he will be the team leader for Lotus in 2012. Alot will be expected of him!
    His years at Ferrari were, on the whole, disappointing. Yes he won the title in 2007 and deserved to. His end of season performances that year were awesome, but it was his complete slump in the following two years after that that convinced Ferrari to look elsewhere. And lets be honest, as poorly as Ferrari have performed in 2011, they look far more happier as a team with Fernando Alonso in the car don’t they?
    Then there is Kimi’s embarrassing attempt at WRC competition, which was nothing short of a shambles. Earlier this year, he refused to fly to an event in Australia because of the distances involved! Interesting, considering F1 goes to a different country every two weeks during a season, often different continents. Its nice to see he hasn’t lost his ‘commitment’ over time.
    So, as you can see, I have my reservations. I feel sorry for the likes of Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov as it seems almost certain one of them will be dropped, and they are both young promising drivers. Petrov may have shot himself in the foot by badmouthing the team in the press, which is in stark contrast to Senna’s PR friendly persona. Considering he only drove a short while in 2011, Bruno showed promise and maturity at Lotus, and in my opinion does not deserve to get dropped. He outqualified Petrov on a number of occasions and showed reasonable race pace, despite getting turned over by the stewards a couple of times.
    Then there is Robert Kubica. Still recovering from his terrible injuries yet still a possibility for 2012. On paper, a fully fit Robert and Kimi would make the ideal pairing. Two big name, and expensive drivers, in the mould of McLaren’s lineup, driving for Lotus. Everything hinges on there 2012 machine, and if they can get to grips with teams like Mercedes and Force India who will almost certainly improve next year.
    I just hope that Raikkonen realises that he may still not be driving a ‘winning’ car next year. Much like he did at Sauber in 2001, he will have to prove his worth in sub standard machinery. If we see that Raikkonen, the fast and determined Kimi, then I cannot wait for the season to start!

    1. “The fact is that Kimi always drove, from 2002 onwards anyway, championship worthy cars for McLaren and Ferrari. Only in his final year at Ferrari in 2009 did Raikkonen find himself driving a lemon.”

      Lol, so Mclaren’s 2002, 2004 and 2006 cars were championship worthy? Give me a break. All of them just a s bad at the 2009 Ferrari.

      Tons of people are questioning his motivation, but I think it’s ridiculous. He drove very good races in late 2009 (Spa, anyone?) when he supposedly shouldn’t have cared one bit how he did anymore.

      I think he still has it in him. Whether Renault/Lotus has it… Now, that’s a different question.

      1. Agreed. I don’t know what to expect from Renault/Lotus, but Kimi still has it.

        This is a guy who qualified in the top 10 in his first ever F1 race, in a Sauber, after only competing in 20 or so races before that in his life!

        He almost beat Schumi to the 03 title with remarkable consistency. Poor reliability robbed him of that title and one in 05 as well.

        He took an off the pace McLaren and beat Schumacher at Spa in 04!

        He will do well.

      2. So you are suggesting that the 2009 Ferrari was as fast as the 2004 McLaren, did you ever see Kimi’s lap of Silverstone in 2004! I suggest you watch this sport with your eyes open from now on. My point was, which you missed, is that Raikkonen drove for the majority of his career for the sports two biggest teams. That will not be the case in 2012.
        You also left out 2003 and 2005, years inwhich Raikkonen could have won the championship with McLaren. You are obviously too young to remember!

    2. Don’t know what your motivations are mate… in 2003, Macca were running a modified 2002 car, using which Kimi ended up as a runner-up. In 2004, Macca were known to roast their engines, and two GP’s where Kimi was indeed in leadd, his suspension gave up on him. Most of the McLaren cars were utter crap with 6 retirements for Kimi in 2006. In ’07 he won the championship. In ’08 Kimi again had 3 retirements, and the gap subsequently was enough to convince Ferrari to push Massa. In ’09 Kimi did as good as a very over rated driver (Lewis Hamilton of course) who was in a faster car.

      About his attempts at other stuff… McLaren weren’t a happy place for him, as Ron Dennis is not the best manager of people as he would like to believe. I of-course refer to Ron’s comment of managing Montoya when he snagged Montoya out of Williams. I really loved every single word of Sir Frank. Ferrari was too political always, and has been, and most likely will remain so. He is a racing driver, and he was trying to replace F1 with some other form of racing, which is good news indeed. However, to run a rally expedition at your expense, as many have pointed out earlier, is rather prohibitively costly. Good news is, he still loves racing, and likes F1. So let us wait and see what comes to be in 2012. Personally, i’d like him winning races and watch him fiddle with the (new) mic. Press conferences were always fun to watch with him.

    3. Then there is Kimi’s embarrassing attempt at WRC competition, which was nothing short of a shambles.

      It was a shame that he didn’t go to Australia, and not right that he didn’t after having put his name down for that race, but he was essentially funding his own privateer team. The distance itself wasn’t the main issue I’m sure, but rather the costs involved in getting his car and equipment shipped over there.

      I also don’t think that he embarrassed himself with his performances in WRC. But I guess it depends what you choose to focus on in that regard, as he did have essentially the same car Loeb was driving.

  69. All this arguing whether or not Kubica will return is frustrating. No one knows when/if he will return. Basically, we arent there sat with him, bringing him grapes to understand if he wants too, needs to or more importantly physically can. Its going to take alot from him to come back for sure, but we don’t know if he can or not. Driving a F1 car takes alot of upper body strength and untill he drives a full power car we cannot speculate which car he will be in. Ferrari have expressed an interest, i dont blame them he WAS a quick driver, doesn’t mean he will be quick coming back e.g Massa.

    Anyway, Kimi’s return is good, everyone loves him and he’s a good leader, hopefully we see the Kimi thats setting fastest laps not eating ice cream in shorts a tee in the race :p

  70. so pumped, there is a humblepie in the oven kimi shall be serving up. Now i have to cope with the fact that fernando is my no.2, but thats my problem

  71. This is fantastic news! So excited for next year, a Kimi return is good for the sport as a whole.

    I celebrated like a football fan when their team scores a goal to win the match when i saw this headline! Cannot wait! Raikkonen is back, dreams become reality!

    I know it’s not really important but i love little details like this – Do you think Renault will give Kimi the No.9 on his car instead of Petrov even though he’s new to the team? Also, will Rosberg finally get the No.7 he deserves off Schumi next year! And will McLaren let JB have the No.3 because he beat Lewis this year? Don’t know why i care so much about the number allocation of the drivers but i love little details.

    1. @rob-wilson Schumacher will keep 7 because he is superstitious about even numbers, he doesn’t like them. As to Raikkonen’s 9, I’d assume he will. Jenson will probably have number 3.

  72. WOAH!

    Didn’t see that coming.

  73. I predict Raikkonen scores fewer points in 2012 than Nick Heidfeld scored in 2011.

    1. why don’t you visit a bookie and put some money on that ?…I am sure they would be absolutely delighted to take it

      1. That’s not my vice. But why would a gaming professional look at the performance of that team this year and disagree? Petrov barely outscored Heidfeld, who left the team months ago. I take past results over future hype.

        1. I predict he will score twice as many points in 2012 as Heidfeld did in 2011.

          And I like Heidfeld. But Kimi is better, the car will be better, that forward facing exhaust really hampered their development. Without that being a hindrance next season I expect the team to be somewhere between Mercedes and Force India in the points.

          Do you really think Kimi will score fewer points over a whole season than Quick Nick managed over just half a year?

  74. frankly I always expected Kimi’s time at ferrari to be a disaster , and except for him winning the 2007 WDC , so it proved ; I felt that he had deserved to be champion while he was at McLaren but it didn’t go his way , so a bit of luck at ferrari even it out
    frankly ,like most italian companies , ferrari runs on emotion , must be the latin temperament , and kimi looked a square peg in a round hole ; when ferrari latinised they slipped back , but looks like anglicising has started again so hopes for a better balance there in the future

    I am delighted to see kimi at LRGP for the next years , I didn’t see it happening because I expected him to play hard ball over the money …he obviously hasn’t so his desire to come back must be real I am happy to say

    so I see this as win-win for kimi and the team ;at the beginning of this season the team was competitive with their version of the blown diffuser but it seemed impossible to develop it and they soon got swamped by the teams who did it later but better ; however , it’s banned for next year so that that should immediately move them near to the top of the non-grandee teams

    but to get further , they needed a top driver , and in the absence of kubica who else but kimi was available ?

    so my expectation for next season is that mercedes will be snapping on the heels of the top 3 [ uncle norbert said on sunday that he expected some podiums in 2012 ] , but in addition I expect LRGP to be snapping on THEIR heels

    my existing BBC satellite dish continues ,my satellite dish pointing at Astra 19.2 is already installed , an old digital receiver is ready to be retuned , and apart from the first 2 races next year [ when I will be asleep ] I am set up to watch and listen [ BBCradio5live ]

    not as good as the BBC , but as I never have and never will pay mr murdoch , it will have to do

    incidentally I am told that Sky germany have not renewed their F1 contract , not enough extra people paid to watch because of F1 but accepted a lesser service on RTL ; does anyone know if this is confirmed ?

  75. the ICEMAN cometh! yeyyyy

  76. In hindsight, I can’t say this was too much of a shocker, though if you’d have told me this a few months ago I’d feel like it came out of left field. Because let’s be honest: Renault was starting to look like it would become a revolving door of less than ideal drivers this season. I like Bruno, but he didn’t set the world afire. Nick was ho-hum as always. Romain had had an opportunity in ’09 and didn’t create fireworks on the track either. Though his time to gain more experience was probably positive, he was still a big question mark. And then of course, Petrov’s got the money for them, but never consistency or flair on track.

    So with all that, what do you do? Well, hire a world champion, of course. Since Kubica’s been gone, the team has needed a leader badly. And even though I don’t like Mr. Mumbles, he’s got the experience needed to firmly place himself as the lead driver. This is a logical choice for them in a market where all the top talent has been snatched up, but mediocrity abounds.

    All I know is I’m glad he didn’t go to Williams. I like Williams and I don’t want to have to cheer for Kimi, whatever good he could have done there.

  77. Kimi isn’t that old,but his attitude|!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The last race Schumi drove for Ferrari,they asked Kimi where he was during the presentation.He said the famous words “I was have a ****”

    Let us hope the Renualt Kimi inherits is better than Merc GP’s offering to the legend.
    Schumi will drive for one year with Ferrari in “2014”,his last F1 driving year..

    1. That was one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard from the mouth of an F1 driver! It was brilliant live television, how can you criticise it?

  78. This will be great if Kimi and Renault can give 100% and certainly will spice up the interest in at least the first few races . Its a pity that the other Seb.(Ogier) that may be free next year couldn’t transfer his skills to F1 that would really give the french something to cheer about.

  79. The key statement here I think is:

    first step of several announcements which should turn us into an even more serious contender in the future

    which means the enstone outfit clearly has many more plans to improve the car and the infrastructure around it than just adding Kimi. Now I doubt they will go to the length that MercGP has, but I want to know what he means by that. Namely, who he is bringing in besides Kimi to lift the design and development of the R32 or whatever it’ll be called to a new level.

    1. Good catch. With Team Lotus/Caterham poaching top minds in the field, I imagine LRGP is keen to do the same!

      I don’t know if 2012 will be as good as 2011 has been, but the run up to the season is going to be fascinating. There are a lot of major players making some big claims.

      And I don’t just mean the usual, “we will work harder, be more competitive”, blah blah blah stuff…..

      1. All I can say is that MercGP is going to be my constructor for my and teams, coming in cheap at 4th in the championship but will probably fight for many more podiums next year.

  80. All I can say is YEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAA!

    Best news ever (I’m a major Kimi fan in case you can’t guess) Now we just need Renault (Lotus) to be really competitive next year.

  81. Now we need Renault(or Lotus) to develop a car competitive enough to Challenge the big guns(McLaren,Red Bull & Ferrari) at least occassionally so that he can be REGULARLY mixing it with them due to the good starts he would be potentially making during the race.

    Not the biggest of Kimi fans,although i am a fan of his natural talent & personality & its great to see him back.I love change for the good reasons

    29th November 2011, 17:01

    AMAZING news! Welcome back Iceman!

    Formula 1 needs drivers with personality like Schumacher, Raikkonen, Vettel, Webber! All of them are so different and Kimi is cool with his laid back attitude!

    29th November 2011, 17:01

    And of course, BUTTON too!

    1. Lol… that was awesome :) !

    2. @jugnu That’s comedy gold :D
      Do you know where the Yas Marina quote is from?

      On the Yas Marina Circuit
      “Well, the first few turns are quite good, but the rest of it is ****”

  84. My first prediction for next season: Raikkonen and Lotus in general will be a massive flop and he will leave before the season has ended. He’s going to struggle massively after two years out, and I never particularly rated him anyway. A waste of a seat in my opinion.

  85. Where is the person that called another fanatic a troll for announcing this on Sunday’s live text during the race?
    Cofty said this on Friday, well, well, its true, must listen to more of his one liners.

    Lets hope they build a better car or he’ll be fighting just to get into the points. Although I think they will make a much better for 2012

  86. Haha kimi, absolutely delighted to see him back, 6WDC in 2012.

  87. Reference: ESPN-F1

    Renault have until 10th December to decide if Petrov will remain at the team next season, having publically critisized the team they have all the reasons to sack him, with Raikonnen confirmed and pressure from Senna and Grosjean with a possible return for Kubica next season, Petrov’s future looks bleak.

    1. haven’t they 15 million reasons NOT to sack him?

  88. I Love The Pope
    29th November 2011, 18:15

    Raikkonen has got no shot to win next year in a Meh-nault.

    1. @i-love-the-pope it won’t be Meh-nault as they are becoming Lotus so shouldn’t it be Slow-tus

    2. clearly not , but he has signed for 2 years
      mercedes aren’t going to win in 2012 either ….don’t see them not keepin schu

      1. It’s a joke, play on names.

  89. Massa has been useless since ever his accident, and more likely the same to kubica who ever signs him, he will not be mentally motiveted so always he will be on a backfoot.

  90. This news surprised me at first but on reflection I can see why Renault have opted for Raikkonen.

    A week ago it seemed that Renault would pick two from Kubica, Petrov, Senna and Grosjean. But after the announcement that Kubica would miss the start of the season and that he didn’t have a contract with Renault for 2012 in any case it seems that Renault didn’t think any of the other three drivers were up to leading the team which is where Raikkonen fits in.

    Although I am glad that Raikkonen is returning to F1 I hope people don’t expect too much from him. We just need to look at Schumacher’s return to see what could happen.

    Yes Schumacher was gone for three years and Raikkonen only two but there have still been some big changes in those two seasons, mainly the ban on refuelling last year and the change to Pirelli tyres the season.

    1. Schumacher’s comeback hasn’t been as bad as everyone keeps saying. Slightly slower than Rosberg, yes, but he has still done pretty much what can be done with that car. Whether you think that his influence should somehow make the car into a winner is a different topic.

      1. Agreed.

        Put Schumacher and Rosberg in an RB7 and one of them would have been world champion this year. I don’t think either would have been as perfect as Vettel all season, but they would have atleast gotten wins.

        People are so quick to dismiss Shumi’s comeback and now they are reacting the same way to Kimi’s. Give it some time and I am sure we will all be impressed.

        Furthermore, neither Schumacher or Raikkonen give a hoot what we think. They are back because they enjoy it and want to race. Who is to deny them that, after all they have accomplished? I hope they both have a great season in 2012.

  91. Great news for those of us who remember Kimi Raikkonen at his best. A lot of people question his motivation due to his the last couple of years at Ferrari.
    Well, when Raikkonen was at McLaren his motivation was second to none, some of the drives he produced and his ability to stay in contention despite mechanical failures and last years car were truly inspired. He made his team mates look very average. His bravery was also second to none.

    I don`t know what happened at Ferrari, but I suspect Raikkonen and Ferrari fell out early in 2008. From then on the Ferrari was developed to suit Massa and was not at all to Raikkonens liking. He hates understeer, and that was where Ferrari was going. Hey, they`re still battling this phenomenon today (they don`t seem to be able to generate heat into the front tires but still manage to wear out the back tires prematurely on several tracks). Then I suspect Raikkonen got fed up with the car as well as the demands put on him by Ferrari. And being the character he is he probably didn`t bother anymore and looked for a way out, it`s not his style to take part in internal politics inside a team.

    I think Renault made a good choice. Keep Raikkonen happy, give him a car that suits his style and many might be very surprised by the results he can produce.

    1. A lot of people question his motivation due to his the last couple of years at Ferrari.

      I question his motivation based on his behaviour in the WRC – where he simply gave up the moment things got a little difficult.

  92. Thinking about this, this might actually be a bad move by Lotus. And not just if Kimi doesn’t perform.

    Let’s say he does well (I certainly expect him to do better over 2 years than Senna or Grosjean would). Lotus are competing for podiums every now and then, like Kubica in 2010. Kimi has done well, but what of their other proteges? 3 into 1 won’t go. So say Petrov stays, he’s keeping out Senna and grosjean. Say Senna gets the seat, what about Romain? He could be shipped off to a Renault customer team like Williams, but if they’re uncompetitive he might get lost in the wilderness like Button almost did and as has happened to promising drivers like Brundle and Warwick.

    And if Kimi has made a name for himself and a big team comes knocking, Lotus are back to Square 1, potentially with no top driver to take over. Alonso won’t be coming back as a stop-gap again. They’ll have a at best a Senna who’s learned a few things and maybe a Grosjean itching to step up, that is if he isn’t dropped by Williams for money reasons. Of course, Kubica might come back, but will he be the same again? And what happens if Robert says he’s able to come back for 2013?

    Lotus have got themselves a good deal at the moment but I fear they are creating problems for themselves down the line.

  93. Welcome Back, Kimi! The next WC on the grid ;-)

  94. This is great news. Welcome back Kimi.

  95. – Surprise with DeLaRosa….What a waste of F1 seat.
    – Who is this new PIC/Chic guy ?
    – Raikonnen a surprise. Time will tell if it works.
    – After this type of accident and long recovery forget Kubica for medium term future or may be forget forever.
    – Probably Lotus needs a charismatic leader…..kick this Boullier out. Talks more and actually produces little.
    – Hopefully the wings of Red Bull are cut then the championship will be more interesting, else same as 2011.

    1. Who is this new PIC/Chic guy ?

      His name is Charles Pic, and he’s a GP2 driver. He placed fourth with Barwa Addax this season after an end-of-season collapse (though to be fair, I’m pretty sure only some of it was down to driver error). He’s fast, but he’s inconsistent.

  96. So…everyone who has won the WDC for the last 12 seasons will be on the grid together?


  97. Wow didn’t see that coming, it’ll certainly be interesting to see how he performs after been out for so long.

  98. i find lotus interesting.. they have petrov who seems to be pretty consistent and brings money, senna has the name and brought more money (like 4 new sponsors?), grosjean looks like he can be trained, and poor kubica isnt ready yet. TOTAL surprise for me, i actually thought kimi would go to williams then as some of you have mentioned i remember him saying he only wanted to race for top teams so i didnt think williams would happen…and they must be paying kimi buku bucks.. so my thoughts are that lotus have a lot on their plate as to who’s gonna be kimi’s partner. my vote: Petrov.

  99. There are clearly too many suitably qualified/talented drivers for the number of cars available in F1 at the moment. I don’t think many people outside of Ferrari want to see teams running three cars, so that begs the question: where is the 13th team? There isn’t going to be one in 2012, is there? By 2013, I expect quite a few spaces to open up through retirements (Schumacher, Barrichello, Trulli, de la Rosa), so the need won’t be so great, but for next year it would definitely benefit the sport.

    1. I think Lotus moving for Kimi demonstrates the opposite. There are plenty of young drivers itching to get their hands on a seat for 2012, lots of them already attached to teams; Vergne, Ricciardo, Grosjean for example. The fact that Lotus (who have 2 arguably sprea drivers) have gone to a driver who left years ago to fill one of the vacant seats doesn’t demonstrate a lot of belief to me.

      If I was Grosjean or Senna I think I would be very surprised, and not a little bit p****d off.

      Will be interesting to see how Red Bull solve their 4 into 2 problem; I don’t see them going outside of their current young driver programme like Lotus have.

  100. All world champions of the millenium are participating in 2011. When was the last time that happened?

    1. All world champions of the millennium are not participating in 2011. They probably will all be participating in 2012, however. Assuming that’s what you meant:

      All world champions of the millennium have never participated in 2012, because we haven’t got to 2012 yet. They have all participated in F1 seasons before 2012, however. Assuming that’s what you meant:

      That was the case from the moment Giuseppe Farina won the inaugural championship in 1950 to the moment Alberto Ascari was killed in 1955. So the answer is 1951-1955. That was only the other time, because Formula One has only existed in two millennia: this one and the last one!

      1. @estesark – It was 2006, when the 2005 champion and the 2000-2004 champion was on the grid.

        1. @david-a, yes, of course you’re right, how did I overlook that one?

  101. I have been a Kimi fan for years and am happy to see him back. However, I really hope we get a Kimi who is really interested in racing. I couldn’t care less about him appearing in some watch ad or something else. If he drives like he did in races such as Japan 2005 then great.

    For the most part I think this whole motivation issue has been blown out of proportion. For example, in the 2009 Malaysian GP he had a KERS failure which would have meant he could not restart even if the race did. I am not sure about 2008 necessarily but clearly there were issues with the car and him not getting heat into the tires compared to Massa.

  102. I’m sorry but as soon as one of us are in the position where we are running an F1 team, and Kimi Raikkonen wants to negotiate a deal to drive for us, we can’t be as negative as a lot of the comments on here.

    You all moan when pay drivers, or drivers of little experience are hired, but then an underdog signs a WDC and everyone jumps to how Lotus-Renault have made the wrong decision.

    Jesus, don’t moan at Kimi, think of people that really shouldnt be in the sport. He’s a WDC that just happens to have tested himself in other series. Sure, it failed, but full marks for having the guts to step outside such a comfort zone.

    1. This is exactly how I feel about it! Thank you…

    2. Well said. I wouldn’t even say his time in rallying was a complete failure; it just wasn’t as successful as many thought it might be.

  103. Who said things will be boring between Brazil 2010 & Australia 2011.

  104. Wow. The Malaysian NST paper had the headline running in the sports section as ‘Raikkonen returns to F1 with Lotus’.

    I actually thought Lotus as in team Lotus. But then after reading the first couple of sentences, it said “He will be joining the team formerly known as Renault”.


  105. Wow! What a buzz this comeback is creating! For the cool ice man who’s not showing that much emotion, he’s really stirring up some. Hope he’s a bit mad for getting sacked from Ferrari and that Lotus Renault is able to get him a decent car to at least fight with Ferrari. Then I can promise you we’re up for a treat! The Finns might be a bit quiet and not all that well spoken, but the fire will be there!

  106. Awesome, f1 hasn’t been the same since Raikkonen left, cant wait for him to return, will he b able to adapt and fit in better than Schumacher? what will he achieve at Renault? cant wait to find out, anyone else agree?

  107. Wow, 6 WDCs in 2012. All we need now is Mika, Jacques, Damon, Alain to come out of retirement to have 10 WDCs. Heck why not get Nige, Nelson, and Keke out of retirement too…

  108. It will be interesting to see how committed Raikkonen is to Renault/Lotus. Obviously, he is a very talented driver, but his committment has often been questioned in the past. I think Reanult will have to produce a competitive car from the start to keep him happy. Another thing that will be interesting will be who his partner will be. I have a feeling we may see Romain Grosjean back in F1 next year. 2012 looks like it will be an interesting season.

  109. Brilliant! I love to watch Kimi drive. Renault/Lotus/whatever, are a great team who can do well in 2012. I suppose that can be said for nearly every team at this point though :p

    Good to see him back though.

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