After a two year break, Kimi Raikkonen is returning to Formula 1 with Lotus-Renault.
After a two year absence and a mediocre success in his rally adventures, the Iceman is back. The Lotus-Renault F1 team has just announced that Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 F1 world champion, will join the team beginning next season. For the last few weeks, Raikkonen's management team was in talks with a few F1 teams, among them Williams. "I'm delighted to be coming back to Formula 1 and I'm grateful to Lotus Renault GP for offering me this opportunity," said Raikkonen, who became a cult figure among F1 fanatics.
"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." "All year long, we kept saying that our team was at the start of a brand new cycle," said Gerard Lopez, the Chairman of Genii Capital, which is the owner of the Lotus-Renault F1 team. "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."
Raikkonen will fill the void left in the team's drivers' lineup after the serious injury suffered by its star driver Robert Kubica. Last week the team announced that Kubica will not be fit for a return at the beginning of next season. During his absence, Lotus-Renault endured a troubled season and finished in 5th place in the Constructors Championship. With Kubica in the cockpit, the results could have been much better. Raikkonen has taken part in 156 F1 races, won 18 of them, started 16 times from pole position and finished 62 times on the podium.
For most of his F1 career he drove for McLaren, though he won the championship with Ferrari. However, he was released from that team at the end of the 2009 season when there was still a year left on his contract in order to vacate the seat for Fernando Alonso.