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Raikkonen to return with Renault in 2012 29 Nov 2011

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Kyle Busch Motorsports. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Rd7, Charlotte Motor Speedway, USA, 20 May 2011. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4/21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, 9 September 2006 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari celebrates on the podium
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, 21 October 2007 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Citroen D3 WRC. FIA World Rally Championship, Rd3, Jordan Rally Shakedown, Dead Sea, Amman, Jordan, 14 April 2011. Kimi Raikkonen

After weeks of speculation Renault confirmed on Tuesday that Kimi Raikkonen will make a comeback to race for the team in 2012. Raikkonen, who left the sport at the end of 2009 to pursue a rallying career, has signed a two-year agreement with the team.

“I’m delighted to be coming back to Formula One after a two-year break, and I’m grateful to Lotus Renault GP for offering me this opportunity,” said the 32 year-old. “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.”

The Finn made his Formula One debut back in 2001 with Sauber. He then spent five seasons with McLaren, from 2002 to 2006, winning nine Grands Prix and twice finishing runner-up in the drivers’ championship. He moved to Ferrari for 2007, taking the title that year, but was overshadowed by team mate Felipe Massa the following season.

He agreed to leave Ferrari at the end of the 2009 season despite having a year of his contract still to run, in order to make way for Fernando Alonso. Over the last two seasons he has competed in the World Rally Championship.

Gerard Lopez, chairman of Genii Capital, commented: “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 One 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 One.”

Renault ended the 2011 season fifth in the constructors' standings, four points ahead of sixth-placed squad Force India. The team will be renamed Lotus from next season.

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