Confirmed: Raikkonen returns to F1 with Lotus Renault

By on Tuesday, November 29, 2011

© Lotus Renault GP

It was announced by Lotus Renault GP today that 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen will be making a return to Formula One with the team in 2012. He has now signed a two-year agreement with Lotus Renault GP.

Raikkonen, 32, left F1 at the end of 2009 and had been competing for the past two years in the World Rally Championship. Raikkonen finished tenth in the driver's standings in 2010 and 2011.

In an official statement released by 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.”

Chairman of Genii Capital, Gérard Lopez also 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.”

In the past few months, there have been ongoing rumours about the former World Champion as a possible candidate to replace Rubens Barrichello at Williams. Raikkonen has confirmed that negotiations took place with Williams and his management was spotted at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. However, negotiations between Raikkonen and Williams came to an end during the past weekend reportedly due to Williams being unable to agree to Raikkonen's wage demands and them being unwilling to give up a 20% stake in the team that Raikkonen was asking for as part of his contract.

After negotiations between the Finn and Williams failed, Raikkonen's management reportedly contacted the Renault team regarding a potential drive with the team for next season. During the Brazilian Grand Prix, Renault's team principal confirmed that he had been in contact with Raikkonen's management but would not elaborate further on the talks.

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