Kimi Raikkonen Announces Return to Formula 1 with Renault

Will ProtheroeContributor IIINovember 29, 2011

CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 20:  Kimi Raikkonen, driver of the #15 Perky Jerky Toyota, stands on the starting grid prior to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 20, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Iceman is back in Formula 1.

After a year of speculation that he would return to the series, Kimi Raikkonen has signed a two-year contract with the Renault team, who will race under the Lotus name next season.

The move comes after intense speculation for some time that the former world champion would sign with the Williams team, but a deal could not be struck between the two parties.

The move will be sure to put a smile on the face of Rubens Barrichello, whose seat at Williams was thought to be under threat from Raikkonen. The Brazilian has been desperate to stay in Formula 1 and, with Kimi out of the picture, now has a far greater chance of doing so.

Raikkonen began his Formula 1 career with Sauber having only 23 race starts under his belt. Many thought that he was too inexperienced for the drive and he had to be granted special dispensation to gain the FIA Super Licence needed to race in F1.

All fears were allayed after Raikkonen finished sixth in his first F1 race. He continued to impress in his debut season which led to McLaren signing him to replace fellow Finn Mika Hakkinen.

Five seasons at McLaren saw Raikkonen secure nine wins, but no titles, before moving to Ferrari in 2007. Raikkonen won the title by a single point after Lewis Hamilton struggled to seventh with a gearbox problem.

The next two seasons saw a dip in form which resulted in only two wins for Raikkonen. Ferrari decided to pay off the Finn to make room for the incoming Fernando Alonso.

In the years away from Formula 1, Raikkonen has spent two seasons racing Citroen's in the World Rally Championship. He has had moderate success, finishing 10th in both seasons. He has also dabbled in one-off races in the NASCAR Truck Series and Nationwide Series.

Renault have made the move to sign Raikkonen after they announced last week that former driver Robert Kubica would not be returning to the series in 2012. An experienced driver was required to take that spot and Raikkonen seems a great option.

How well can Renault do with Raikkonen at the helm? Can he make the podium in his first season back? Leave your comments below.


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