Kimi Raikkonen makes F1 return with Renault
Kimi Raikkonen will return to Formula 1 next year after securing a two year deal to race with the Lotus-Renault squad.
The Finn, who secured his first and to date only world championship in the final round of 2007, left F1 when he was dropped by Ferrari at the end of his 2009 campaign.
He had also been in the frame for a drive at Williams, but when the deal fell through rumours of a Renault tie-up increased and it was confirmed on Tuesday that he will drive for the squad on a two-year deal.
The announcement brings to a close Raikkonen’s two year spell competing for Citroen in the WRC. His best finish came in the Rally of Turkey in 2010 when he came home fifth.Speaking about his return, 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."
Raikkonen’s F1 return could also have a significant impact in the Castrol EDGE Rankings – or at least to his own position in the classification.
In 2009 he was ranked fourth for much of the season, with only Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Sebastien Loeb ahead of him when the year began.
Ferrari’s struggles that season meant he slipped onto the fringes of the top ten as the season progressed, and by the time of his last grand prix lay 15th – this time Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel topping the Rankings.
His WRC move, or specifically his struggles in the championship, brought about huge slides however, and towards the end of the 2010 season he had slipped out of the top 100.
He has continued to fall this year and currently sits 206th – a Ranking he can expect to rapidly improve upon come his first F1 race in more than two years, next year’s Australian Grand Prix.