Kimi RÃƒÂ¤ikkÃƒÂ¶nen ‘contacts Renault over Formula 1 return’
Kimi RÃƒÂ¤ikkÃƒÂ¶nen has reportedly contacted Renault about a return to Formula 1 for 2011 despite earlier indications he would remain in rallying.
The former world champion left the sport at the end of 2009 as Ferrari signed Fernando Alonso and he was unable to secure a drive with McLaren, instead opting to join the CitroÃƒÂ«n Junior Team in the World Rally Championship.
Renault have already confirmed Robert Kubica for 2011, but have yet to make a decision on the second seat currently occupied by Russian rookie Vitaly Petrov, with speculation rife over who will secure the spot.
RÃƒÂ¤ikkÃƒÂ¶nen had been linked with a move early in the season but the speculation was later rubbished by both the Finn and the team. Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi and Force India’s Adrian Sutil have also been mentioned after impressing with their smaller teams, while Petrov could still be in contention for a race seat in 2011.
“You never know but I will probably never return to Formula One,” RÃƒÂ¤ikkÃƒÂ¶nen said just last month. However, at Monza, Renault team principal Eric Bouiller revealed: “He is on the radar because he contacted us.
“We need to think about it. But the priority is Vitaly, and to see how he will develop. If we are convinced then we will keep him definitely. This is the first option. There are several other options, and one of them is Kimi.”
Renault’s fortunes have improved considerably both on and off the track with potential sponsors lined up to aid their financial situation. Kubica, meanwhile, has ensured that the season has not been a complete disaster for the French team, standing on the podium in Australia, Monaco, and Belgium, finishing in the points in 11 of the 12 races he completed.