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'We convinced Kimi to come back' - Boullier

ESPNF1 Staff
November 30, 2011 « Barrichello and Sutil unmoved by Raikkonen news | FIA publishes 2012 entry list »
Eric Boullier: "He is committed to racing for us" © Sutton Images
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Renault team principal Eric Boullier believes his team's potential convinced Kimi Raikkonen to return to Formula One.

The 2007 world champion has signed a two-year deal with the team that will see him return to the sport after a two-year absence. Boullier said the news was positive for the team and proof that it was on the right track for the future.

"It is good news for the sport and of course it is good news for the team," Boullier said. "Strategically, it is good to have a big name, a high class driver and Formula One world champion to join us. He is committed to racing for us and he is definitely a very good character with the experience he has from driving for McLaren and Ferrari. Also, to have someone like Kimi signing with us shows that the package we have offered was good enough - we convinced Kimi to come back to Formula One!"

Raikkonen is adamant he has the motivation to make a successful comeback, but said his two biggest challenges for 2012 would be learning to use the Pirelli tyres and building up his neck muscles. There will be just three four-day tests ahead of the start of the season, but Boullier said Raikkonen will be able to hone his skills and fitness using the team's new simulator and a some runs in a 2009-spec car.

"First of all, in not so long we will have our simulator ready - this is good news for him and for us," he added. "I think that we will also be able to plan a couple of days with the demo car."

Boullier said Renault has plenty to be optimistic about heading into the winter break and that it would be bolstering its team ahead of next season.

"There are many things that the team will announce soon, in the coming weeks and the coming months," he said. "Let's not forget that the team's current identity is only a couple of years old and it is clear that we have made some strategic investments like the wind tunnel, like the CFD pole and like the building of the simulator- it will be a state of the art simulator.

"We are also in the process to reinforce our team with the recruitment of some key people, some of them have already joined us and some are to be announced soon but we can't say too much at this stage as some of them are currently on gardening leave.

"Next year, we will also have an upgrade of our facilities trackside, in fact it is going to be a complete change with a new engineers truck, a new infrastructure for the team garage, which of course will also have an impact on our image and obviously Kimi joining us is a big step in reinforcing the investment Genii Capital is putting in the team at every level."

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