Kimi Raikkonen… 18 wins, 62 podiums, 579 points and 1 world champiosnhip.
But that was before.
Now he’s back! Lotus have ditched the 2011 duo, Petrov and Senna in favour of 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen and GP2 champion, Romain Grosjean. It’s big news. The Ice Man Cometh! I remember seeing on the front of F1 Magazine. But can he succeed? Will it be the amazing return that everyone is anticipating?
Lets have a look back at the beginning of 2011. The Australian Grand Prix. Vitaly Petrov has an amazing start to get up to 4th place at the 1st corner. By the end of the race he was up to 3rd and had scored his first podium. Next race, Malaysia. Nick Heidfeld makes it to 2nd place at the first corner and fights for the win. He finishes in 3rd place. 2 podiums, 2 races. But then? Where did Renault go? After this Renault scored ONE fifth place and ONE seventh place for the rest of the season. Renault were no where to be seen, Left to the mercy of Force India, Sauber and Toro Rosso. Why? Because even though Renault built a good car for the start, they failed to keep up with the upgrades happening all around them.
If this happens in 2012, I cant see Kimi Raikkonen being able to pull a win out of the hat, unless something spectacular happens (For Example, America 2005). Even Sebastian Vettel would be hard pressed to do something like that!
But will this be the only obstacle that Kimi could face? I fear not.
In 2009, Kimi grew ‘Bored’ of F1 and left to try his hand at Rallying. Unfortunatley, He was not to succeed. Infact the best result from his two year’s was 5th place. Kimi must have missed winning.
Is this what drove Kimi back to F1 or was it really a re-born passion for the sport?
Only time will tell. But if we do have an un-commited, un-happy driver, who is back for the money, on the grid, we could be in for a long season.
However, This is not the only problem. Remember the comeback of Michael Schumacher, the most successful driver to ever race in F1? Well unfortunately, Some of his magic must have worn off and to my own disappointment, He is still to score his first win in his return.
Will this be the case for Kimi? Is it a thing that once you leave, you never quite get that buzz back?
We’ll have to wait until March 18th to see.