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Kimi Räikkönen’s Formula 1 comeback has thrilled former Grand Prix winner Jean Alesi, who is now an ambassador for Group Lotus. The 2007 Champion returns to the sport after two years off, having been replaced at Ferrari by Fernando Alonso.
As Sauber and Jordan battled for fourth place in the 2001 season, Räikkönen and Alesi were often on-track rivals in the second half of the year. The climax came when the two infamously collided in a large accident at Suzuka, caused by a suspension failure on the Finn’s car.
“It’s fantastic news,” Alesi says of the Räikkönen return. “Kimi has more natural speed than just about anyone who has ever raced a Grand Prix car and if he’s coming back it’s because he wants to do it, he misses F1 and he believes he can do well…the great thing with Kimi is he extracts the maximum from a quick car.
“When the car was good at McLaren and Ferrari, he was always winning. LRGP will expect him to extract the maximum from the Lotus as well. I expect Kimi will be a very valuable tool indeed, but I don’t expect a lot of talking outside the car! I’m sure he hasn’t changed a bit.”
LRGP, then known as Renault F1, last ran a World Champion when Fernando Alonso drove for the team in 2006.
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