Kimi said the two years he spent in rallying had been useful for him as a driver, but that he had an overwhelming hunger to return to Formula One. "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," added the Finn.
The team, no longer owned by Renault, will race under the name of their title sponsor Lotus in 2012. They did not say who Raikkonen's team mate would be, although
Russian Vitaly Petrov has a contract for 2012. Poland's Robert Kubica, the Pole who was supposed to be Renault's leading driver this year, will not be there after missing the entire season due to life-threatening injuries sustained in a rally accident in February. Out of contract with Renault at the end of this year, Kubica's chances of racing in 2012 now look more remote after Raikkonen's appointment, although he has been linked to Ferrari.
Raikkonen's presence means the Formula One grid for the first time in its history will have six champions — the others being Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel lining up to start the next season in Melbourne, March 2012.