Former Formula 1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen will return to the sport in 2012 having signed a two-year contract with Lotus Renault.
Raikkonen won the title as a Ferrari driver in 2007 but left the sport in 2009 as he wanted to take on a new challenge. He raced in the World Rally Championship but has always been linked with a return to Formula 1.
“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,” said Raikkonen.
“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.”
Renault had been in the market for a new driver after Robert Kubica recently admitted that he would not be returning for the early part of 2012.
“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,” team owner Gerard Lopez said.
“Kimi’s decision to come back to Formula 1 with us is the first step of several announcements which should turn us into an even more serious contender in the future. Of course, we are all looking forward to working with a world champion. On behalf of our staff, I’d like to welcome Kimi to Enstone, a setting that has always been known for its human approach to Formula 1.”