Kimi Raikkonen set for return to Formula One


Kimi Raikkonen will return to Formula One next season after signing a two-year deal with Lotus Renault GP.

Finn Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, quit F1 in 2009 to pursue a career in rallying but has decided to return with Lotus Renault after talks with Williams fell through.

He told the team's website, "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, 32, recorded 18 race wins with Ferrari in his first spell in Formula One and Lotus Renault owner Gerard Lopez is delighted to have snared a driver of his experience.

He 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."