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Kimi's back - and testing in Spain

2012-01-24 06:40

BACK IN A HOT SEAT: 2007 F1 World champion Kimi Raikkonen does a trial run in a two-year-old Lotus-Renault F1 car on January 23, 2012 in Valencia - his first test since his return from two years in World Rallying. Image: AFP, Lotus

Alan Baldwin

VALENCIA, Spain - Kimi Raikkonen's Formula 1 comeback picked up speed on Monday when the Finn got back behind the wheel of a two-year-old Renault GP car at the Valencia circuit in eastern Spain

The 'Iceman', 2007 World champion with Ferrari and winner of 18 races in his time with the Italian team and McLaren, is returning to F1 for the 2012 season after two years in the World Rally championship.


Lotus, formerly Renault, said the 32-year-old intended to drive as many laps as possible in the two days in Valencia to become acquainted with his new team and to re-acclimatise himself with an F1 car.

The team issued a picture of Raikkonen, who last drove an F1 car in 2009, on his first lap in the R30 - painted in Lotus's black-and-gold livery - at the Ricardo Tormo track.

"It was nice to get back in the car," Raikkonen, who will be one of six champions on the grid this season, told Sky Sports TV at the circuit. "It's been quite a few years so it takes a little while to get used to it but the main driving, braking, turning and normal things don't take many laps.

"Learning about the car, the team, and tyres and everything, that will take time."

Raikkonen's new Lotus will be launched on the team's website (www.lotusf1team.com) on February 5 before the first official test of the season at the Jerez track in southern Spain starts on February 7.

Teams are not allowed to test up-to-date cars outside of official sessions which meant Raikkonen could drive only an older machine using demonstration tyres. The season will start in Australia on March 18.

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