Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Valencia, Spain, 2012

Kimi Raikkonen makes his F1 return with Lotus


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Kimi Raikkonen returned to an F1 cockpit for the first time since 2009 today.

The 2007 world champion drove a Renault R30 in Lotus colours at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia.

Raikkonen, who sported a new helmet design on his return, had to drive a two-year-old car due to testing restrictions. Lotus will launch their 2012 F1 car on February 5th ahead of the first test session in Jerez.

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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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61 comments on “Kimi Raikkonen makes his F1 return with Lotus”

  1. The white helmet goes very well with the black and gold car!

  2. I suppose he wasn’t using the F-Duct? It wouldn’t really help him in any way if he was…

    1. I can’t see the duct, so surely they don’t have it fitted to the car.

      Remember the R30 F-duct was very noticeable:

      1. You’re right, it seems it isn’t there. As I said, it wouldn’t help his preparations in any way anyway.

      2. Oh man, I actually miss the bumble-bee red and black paintjob. The JPS black/gold is nostalgic, but not as striking.

        1. I know! I loved that 2010 liverey!! Shame they changed really :'(

    2. Tom Haxley (@)
      23rd January 2012, 15:00

      It has the more recent “skinny” rear wings on it, not the low flat rear wing of the R30.

      This car seems a mash of old and new regs to me..

      1. @welshtom it’s just a late-season R30, without the F-duct.

  3. I like Lotus’s current John Player Special-style livery (apart from the red Total bits) but miss the brilliant yellow the R30 originally had:

    Renault R30 launched (Pictures)

    1. Agreed, that was fantastic. I say amongst the best liveries of all time.

      1. However, unless it’s a new nose, the gold outline on the R30’s nosecone does a better job of making the nose appear nice and flat, rather than a bit blunt.

        I’d love to have seen the yellow on the R31, which I thought was a really nice looking car underneath the livery.

    2. It was really sexy, I agree. And it stood out. There are loads of dark liveries, but there are not many bright ones. Shame.

    3. Reminded me of the Jordans in their best years. Such an awesome color scheme!

    4. R30 livery is an all-time favorite. It shouts “Racing!”.

  4. Thanks a lot for posting these!

  5. I hope their 2012 car is race winning material.

  6. By the way, what stops a team from testing new car parts on a two year old car?

    1. Only being found out :taps nose:

    2. @the-last-pope What @hey said, as well as the data being of no real use. The car has to work as a complete aerodynamic unit and even a fraction of a change in the most inconspicuous of areas can result in a tremendous loss of downforce.

      1. @AndrewTanner Well yes that is true, but I was thinking more like internal parts of the car. Does the fia have overseers at each of these 2 year old car runs that make sure the the R30 does in fact have say the same design of gearbox or suspension that was present on that car in its final race?

  7. Well, I quite like his helmet…erm…that’s really the only thing I was bothered about with Kimi’s return!

    Thanks for the pictures Keith.

    1. Hahaha @steph, you’re very honest! His helmet was one of the main things I was looking for in his comeback… and he hasn’t let me down! I love white helmets, plus the red and black fit perfectly. It just seems a bit empty, and it’s missing the fundamental “Iceman” logo. Also, I don’t see the need for the car number on the helmet.

      1. @Fixy7 I don’t really like the whole Iceman hype about him as it is because it’s just something fans seem to trot out to put him on mount Everest but it would be a cool name if he made more use of it and had it on his helmet or made some fun little cartoon depiction every so often so I kind of agree.

        I don’t see the need for the car number either, if it was MotoGP and numbers were more personal then yes but in F1 they mean nothing but overall it’s a nice, clean and simple design.

        1. Oops, sorry @Fixy I used your Twitter username instead!

        2. The strange thing, @Steph, is that he’s had the Iceman logo on every helmet he’s had in F1! Plus, there’s an empty space on the side, where it can easily fit.

          1. @fixy Who ever said that this would be the actual design in use this year?

          2. @pielighter that’s what I thought (and hoped – it seems to empty). But even as it is I like it. And, @Steph, it turns out the Iceman logo is behind:

        3. Well, he does have the “Iceman ” tattoo, so that should probably count for something!

  8. Does anyone know if there will be any timing available from Kimis test?

    1. Can’t find any timing available, but I guess it’d be pointless. It’s impossible to compare the laptimes, firstly because he’s using Pirellis rather than the Bridgestones of that year…

      1. And demonstration spec tyres at that. They are never going to allow representative times to prevent teams from using “demonstration”-runs to yield useful aerodynamic numbers.

    2. They said he will drive with a lot of fuel on board, to get used to the ban of refuelling so taking laptimes won’t show anything….

  9. It’s great to have Kimi back in F1! Really looking forward to how he performs at Melbourne.

  10. Is it just me who isn’t looking foward to Kimi’s return? I was glad to see the back of ‘Mr Charisma’
    although i used the oportuinity well while they interviewed him and his droll monotone voice to go an make a cup of tea. I give him 9 races before he’s bored with an uncompetitive car and wants out.

    1. @scribbler He’s a world champion and still a competitive driver. If he still wants to race in F1 then there definitely should be a place for him.

      I think a lot of the stuff about his personality is hype and nonsense and I don’t pay much attention to it. I don’t think he’s as boring as his detractors make him out to be nor as interesting as his supporters do.

      1. I completely agree with his racing credentials he is incredibly gifted, and i don’t listen to the media regarding his private life. I’m merely judging him by his one on one interviews which while hes talking seem very contractual and like he wants to slash his own rists rather than give any emotion. He comes across as boring and selfish Thats just my opinion. At least the other drivers make an effort to pretend to answer the questions honestly and gesticulate some emotion like fist pumps over the winning line etc. I just get the impression that he could drive the car blind folded and is planning the rest of his week during the race. I mean even his national anthem doesn’t get a smile on his face. Possibly the happy part of his brain is difunct and i should’t give him a hard time. But i just feel like a youngster would benefit from his seat if all it is is a paycheck to him.

        1. I doubt that any driver would be truly competitive in F1 if all it was was a paycheck for them. I’m sure KR is an out and out racer or he wouldn’t have gotten to the level he has, let alone been able to leave F1 and then be desireable enough to a team to take him back into the F1 world. So whatever some might think of his personality, he has obviously been able to sell himself back into F1.

          I think, imho, KR’s mannerism is simply something that is unique to him, just as we are all unique or wouldn’t life be boring. Some people have very excellent but very dry senses of humour, and hardly ever crack a smile such that when they are breaking you up with laughter you don’t know if they were joking or were serious. I think of KR that way.

          Bottom line for me…he’s a WDC level driver…he’s good enough for his sponsors and for Lotus so he should be good enough for us in spite of what many assume to be a ‘bored’ attitude…he probably has little use for the more silly media stuff and for the backstabby politics of F1 and would rather just be able to go out there and race without any **.

          1. Kimi does have a pretty dry sense of humour. With Kimi, you should listen to what he says not too how he is saying it.

            Kimi is very straight forward and honest. I could see that not working with everyone. So while other people may prefer drivers that “atleast pretend”, I personally prefer Kimi’s straight forward honest approach. Different strokes for different folks and all.

            Although ironically, for all of the complains about Kimi being charisma devoid and a PR disaster, he certainly has a penchant for drumming up a lot of publicity.

    2. I couldn’t really care less about Kimi. I like him but it means squat to me that he’s back because I don’t expect much. The Lotus has struggled in recent years, Kimi’s been out for a while, the tyres have changed as have strategy and fuel loads, the cars are very different and he got sick of F1 once before. I don’t think he’ll add much except people get to say there’s an extra world champion on the grid but if he’s not competitive then I don’t care- look at how much Schumacher has struggled. It’s easy to forget he’s there.

      1. Oh boo, more Kimi ain’t got it no more comments…. Is this because MSC’s return has been such a let down or because Ferrari let Kimi down?? Take the drivers seat on this one for once. Kimi is a champ, he has racing in his blood, that’s what he has been doing since he left F1, just in a different format. The paycheck might be enticing, but I’m sure he has more passion than say “Lewis Hamilton” did last year and more skill than all of last years Renault drivers put together. If the car is c
        ompetitive Kimi will not disappoint. Start the betting.. I bet he does better than say Adrian Sutil, who has done nothing in a similar car for 5 yrs…. Who would you choose?

  11. Will there be any data to come out of this test to benchmark his performance or was it not many consecutive laps etc.

    1. this. : )

    2. Simply put, there is no way to even begin to judge his performance even if we had the times.

      It’s just a run for him to readjust.

      On the plus side testing starts in a couple of weeks. And two months from now we’ll be talking about the Aus GP results.

      I can’t wait!

  12. All these pics have confirmed are that I hate those red endplates and that massive Lotus badge on the nose of the car!

    1. I don’t mind the red end plates so much but I think the huge Lotus logo looks hideous!

  13. Don’t forget the F-Duct was “legalised” as DRS, in that both system stall the rear wing, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see them run a version of it for Kimi so he can start getting to ‘grips’ with an on-off aero device through corners etc

    1. DRS doesn’t stall the rear wing but yes the effect is the same, so you could be right about him trying the F-duct

      1. Pedant :P

  14. Have any of you considered that KR is just as passionate as any other driver? What can he do when he falls out of favor or finds himself struggling to meet expectations? He’s just channeling his emotions a different way behind an icy poker face. When he fails he must be very angry with himself. That is what we see me think.

  15. Kimi looks so old and tired. Helmet looks cool.

  16. In non of the pictures is anybody smiling yet this is a great day for Formula 1 and the Lotus team. It’s all too serious, if i was one of those mechanics in that garage i wouldn’t be able to hide my happiness, i would have a big smile on my face as Kimi drove out.

    1. Well said. It’s probably about 8am though! But I’m certainly smiling that Kimi is back. Such a fast and fair racer. I hope he does well.

  17. Nice to have him back. I’m one of those fans…

  18. The R30 was (and still is) a great-looking car.

    I like it better in yellow and black, though.

  19. He looks a bit tubby in the pictures. It’s kind of hard to judge and I’m probably being unfair. I mention it though because when he left F1 there was the accusation in the air that he had stopped trying and was bored of the sport. If he had trimmed down over the winter I would have taken that as a sign that he was working hard for the come back and was raring to go.

    This is possibly an unfair thing to pick up on. It’s just that everybody including the drivers spends so much time talking about how important fitness is to drive the cars.

    …Anyway I wish him luck for the season. I hope he is competitive because it will make the season better to watch.

    1. Kimi has been keeping fit in WRC. But evenso there has already been many articles with Kimi’s trainer, that he has been busy with F1 training for months, he just drove 80 laps after being out of F1 for 2.5 years, that would be difficult for someone who is unfit.
      I dont know why people particularly questions Kimi’s fitness in any case, he is very athletic person and he always out and about doing something like ice hockey, motocross, snowboarding ext.
      No team has ever said anything about his fitness, just because Kimi isn’t constantly telling people how hard he is training, doesn’t mean he isn’t training at all.

  20. Weren’t he was scheduled to run for 23rd as well?

    1. You mean 24th? He’s doing both days, yes.

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