Press release by LRGP
Lotus Renault GP is
pleased to announce that Kimi RšikkŲnen will
race for the team next season. The 2007 World
Champion, who left Formula 1 at the end of 2009
to pursue a career in rallying, has decided to
make a comeback at the pinnacle of single-seater
racing. He has now signed a two-year agreement
with Lotus Renault GP.
Kimiís F1 roll of honour includes 18 wins, 62
podiums and 16 pole positions. This experience
and success is sure to help the team make a step
forward next year. The 32-year-old Finnís
commitment indeed makes for a vote of confidence
in Lotus Renault GP, demonstrating the teamís
determination and new philosophy for the seasons
Kimi RšikkŲnen: ďIím delighted to be
coming back to Formula 1 after a two-year break,
and Iím 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 canít 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 teamís ambition. Now Iím
looking forward to playing an important role in
pushing the team to the very front of the grid.Ē
Gťrard Lopez, Genii Capital, Chairman:
ďAll year long, we kept saying that our team was
at the start of a brand new cycle. Backstage
weíve 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. Kimiís 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, Iíd like
to welcome Kimi to Enstone, a setting that has
always been known for its human approach to
Interview with Kimi:
Kimi, good news today, you have decided to
come back to Formula 1. Why are you coming back?
The main reason was that I never really lost the
passion for racing in Formula 1, just maybe for
all the other things around it. But when I did
some NASCAR races this year I noticed that I was
increasingly missing the racing side Ė to race
against each other Ė because in rallying you
really race against the clock. And then I got
the call from certain people in Formula 1. All
sorts of things happened and we managed to have
a nice conversation with Lotus Renault GP and
make a deal Ė Iím really very happy with that!
Why did you choose Lotus Renault GP?
Really there were two options Ė it was this team
or Williams. And everything worked out with
Lotus Renault GP as we wanted, so thatís really
the reason. Have you been following the team and
the performance this year? I didnít follow
Formula 1 much at all last year. This year I
followed it a bit more but not really any
specific team. I watched the last 20 laps of the
last race, the Brazilian Grand Prix, and because
I knew this was going to happen I also watched
how the Lotus Renault GP team did. But before
that I didnít know anything about what was going
to happen or that there would be a deal in
Formula 1 for next year, so I just watched
Formula 1 as a whole. I saw a few races but
Do you think Formula 1 will be very different
for you from what you know from 2009, with the
DRS, Pirelli tyres, etc?
Comparing 2009 to next year the biggest
difference will probably be the tyres. I donít
think there is a lot of difference with the cars.
DRS is a new thing but this is basically similar
to before. The button that used to be for the
front wing has disappeared, so now itís for the
rear wing. I would guess the main difference is
really the tyres.
Personally, whatís the main difference from
the Kimi RšikkŲnen we saw in 2009 Ė in which way
are you a better driver?
I donít know Ė Iíve been away for two years. I
havenít driven and I havenít even sat in a
Formula 1 car since the last race in 2009. Iím
interested to get back into the car, Iím two
years older now and I donít think anything else
has really changed. It has been really nice to
try to learn rallying in the last few years. On
some days it was hard. Itís been easier this
year than last year but still itís a very
difficult sport. Iím really looking forward to
coming back. At least Formula 1 is something
where I know how everything works as Iíve been
there for many years Ė compared to rallying when
I didnít know what would really happen. Then I
went to NASCAR and I had no clue how it would be.
So in that way it should be much, much easier to
come back and it should be pretty normal.
Have you already changed your training
I kept training the whole time for the rallying
but of course itís not so physical Ė in the
rallies itís more that you have to sit in the
car for the whole week. In Formula 1, it is more
physical but over a shorter time. A month ago I
started to get back into proper training for
Formula 1. The neck is the most difficult thing
to get ready but we still have plenty of time.
When you think about your last race in 2009,
what is the feeling you have of driving in
I certainly remember all the braking and how
quickly everything happens. But compared to
rallying, say, you have slightly more time. In
rallying, it doesnít give you a second chance.
When you make a mistake you go off. There are no
run-off areas. In Formula 1 you have a lot of
run-off areas, you can run a bit wide and it is
not such a big deal. You lose a lap in the
practice or in qualifying but in the race you
maybe donít even lose a place. So this time, the
braking and the G-forces will certainly come
back very quickly. The biggest thing will
definitely be to get the neck used to it again.
All the rest will take a while but itís not
really a big thing.
Six world champions on the grid next year,
you are coming back to Formula 1 Ė how big of a
boost is it for your motivation?
I would not have come back if I wasnít motivated.
There is always a lot of talk about motivation
but nobody really knows what I do or what I
think apart from myself so I donít really care
about what people say. But Iím happy to be
coming back. I wouldnít put my name onto a
contract if I didnít think Iíd really
enjoy it Ė so it will be interesting and
exciting to get back!