Raikkonen: I didn't expect to return
Last Updated: 24/01/12 6:47am
Kimi Raikkonen has admitted he never expected to return to F1 - on the day he drove a F1 car for the first time in three years.
Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports News as he prepared to shake off a few cobwebs by driving a Renault R30 in a private test session at Valencia, Raikkonen, who left the sport at the end of 2009 to compete in rallying, conceded that his return to F1 with the recently-rebranded Lotus team was not something he had planned for.
"I had no plans for the future, I have no plans now for the future," he told the broadcasters. "There was different choices for this year but I really wanted to do racing - I did some Nascar last year and I really enjoyed competing against people again. It was then that I decided to do some racing again and F1 is the highest level of racing and where people want to be."
Raikkonen's comeback has already generated huge interest and his outing at Valencia has effectively marked the start of the winter test season. Under a loophole that allows teams to test outside of official sessions so long as they use cars older than two years, the Lotus team will give the Finn as much track time as possible during their two days at the circuit in order for him to reacclimatise with the sport and acclimatise with some critical features which are new to him.
As such, of paramount priority will be the task of understanding the Pirelli tyres which were only introduced into F1 following his departure.
"Of course it takes a little bit of time to get used to it, but the main bits of driving - braking, turning, the normal things - don't take many laps. But learning about the car, the team and the tyres will take time."
Raikkonen's return in pictures