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Renault has announced that Kimi Raikkonen will return to Formula 1 racing next year, after securing a two-year deal to compete with the squad.

Raikkonen, who had left Formula 1 at the end of the 2009 season after being dropped by Ferrari, had been in talks with the Williams team about a possible return next year, but the deal fell through.

That promted speculation of a Renault tie-up, with team principal Eric Boullier confirming in Brazil last weekend that the Finn was on the shortlist of candidates for 2012 - when his outfit will be renamed Lotus.

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."

Team owner Gerard Lopez added: "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."

Raikkonen, 32, moved from Formula 1 to the World Rally Championship in 2010, where he spent the last two seasons while also competing in one race of the NASCAR Truck series and one Nationwide event.

The Finn won the Formula 1 world championship in 2007 with Ferrari, having scored a total of 18 wins since he made his grand prix debut in 2001.

Renault was forced to search for another driver after Robert Kubica confirmed last week that he would not be ready to start the 2012 season following his dramatic accident in February.

Good to have Kimi back. Let's just hope that Lotus can be competitive throughout 2012 and not make the design mistakes they did this past season.
Interesting choice. Honestly I see Renault/Lotus as a team that's floundering, not just because their 2011 car petered out, but because their internal structure seems to be full of young guys that lack that last little edge of togetherness and experience that is needed to really be a top team. Maybe that puts them in a good position to build on in the future but I'm not expecting much from them in 2012.

Also, does this mean Petrov or Senna is the second driver next year? Pace would seem to indicate it should be Petrov, but I think Senna is a better fit with the team's management and personnel. It's a tough choice. In either case they're fucked out of a seat when Kubica comes back.
Contractual obligations would tell me that Petrov would stay, but even that's in the air.. I'd love Senna to stick around because he's got a lot of potential and ability to keep a car in the points scoring positions. Lack of experience can break his career with Lotus though, especially with his incident with Schumacher in the Brazilian GP.
I don't know how I feel about Senna.

He has talent, but I don't see him becoming an Alonso or a Button. Maybe a Rosberg . . . Raikkonen at the outside?

So happy that the Kimster is back! very surprised that its with Renault.. But should it be? Weren't there talks for him to fill in for Kubica at the very begging of the saga?
clarkma5 says that the team is kind of floundering since they have lots of youngins, I was thinking maybe due to their instability of having a solid driver lineup, which are also young and inexperienced. I hope they turn it around and are competitive. I personally think Kubica is done in F1. This injury will probably hamper him for the rest of his life, and he's missed so much time. I hope im wrong...
Best. news. ever.
I'm pleased to see Raikkonen back and although they haven't been up to much this year, they've been in a better position than Williams, which were the rumours I was hearing.

Lotus have given Petrov a deadline to confirm if he wants to stay apparently.

This means there will be 6, a record number of Champions on the grid next year.
FYI Petrov's out, and Grosjean is back in.
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