The much anticipated announcement has been released by Lotus F1 team today that Kimi Raikkonen will stay put with the Enstone-based squad for the forthcoming season with an youtube video. Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion’s return, has become one of the biggest stories this season. Having opted for Rallying in 2010, he drove a Citroen C4 for Citroen Junior Team and never really had a successful campaign. Even he raced in NASCAR twice after setting up his own rally team, Ice 1 Racing.
Raikkonen’s departure from F1 was a bit of a shock as Ferrari opted to buy Massa’s contract instead of his to pave way for incoming Alonso much to the dismay of fans and ever since thought he’d never return back to the sport he belonged to after a miserable run in 2009 with just a win in a sluggish Ferrari. It has been exactly 11 month now since Lotus announced Kimi would race for them for 2012 season. It was in a railway station that I jumped with joy after a friend rang me up to confirm Iceman’s return last November.
He was often compared to Schumi’s second coming to the sport but it was never the same as Kimi hadn’t got tired of turning wheel. Of course, Michael took a long while to get his form back as he kept himself away from an F1 cockpit for three years which Kimi luckily didn’t endure with. The revitalised Lotus team gave him a competitive car from the forefront hence he managed to pick a seventh place with some brilliant on track maneuvers and seemed never far away in terms of pace in Australia.
He settled in pretty well in the remaining races and surged to a podium finish at Bahrain where he nearly had won the race from Vettel. He showed a fabulous consistency rate as he finished every single lap of the season so far with a highlight of six podiums despite not securing a victory. Lotus seems to have down a bit in the development race now as Kimi couldn’t find a way through to fight for the championship head-to-head on race pace. Nevertheless, his second life at F1 has just been amazing with some sublime drives.
He looked as a title contender but only until his last podium in Belgium, since then, Lotus started falling back in terms of pace with Raikkonen trying his utmost level to keep third in the drivers’ championship from the two Mclarens. If Kimi gets a car that can challenge for the title next year, trust me, Vettel and Alonso have a serious threat breathing down their neck.
Raikkonen seems pretty satisfied with his and team’s performance this year and he was quoted as saying,
“I think my return to Formula One has gone pretty well and the team has done a very good job all year so far,” said Raikkonen in a statement. “To be honest, I didn’t expect to be fighting for the drivers’ championship this season when you look at where the team was in 2011, so it has been great to be on the podium so many times and to score points on a regular basis.
“I feel very comfortable with Lotus F1 Team and we share the same philosophy of racing. Continuing with the team was an obvious choice for me and I’m looking forward to making another step forward together next year.”
“Kimi has made an exceptional comeback to Formula One,” commented Lotus team principal Eric Boullier. “From the first time he sat in the car this year it was clear he had lost none of his pace or technical feedback and we have been rewarded by a focused and motivated driver all season.
“For Lotus F1 Team to be fighting for such strong championship positions this year is in no small part attributed to Kimi’s talent and experience of racing. It was a natural conclusion for us to confirm that we will be harnessing his abilities for next season.”
Here is the link to the video titled ‘One team, one commitment; Lotus F1 Team and Kimi Räikkönen reveal all’ that is hotting up in the F1 circle containing shots taken from his first test at the wheel of Lotus R29 back in January.