PARIS, Oct 29, 2012 (AFP) - Former Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen will stay at Lotus next season after agreement was reached to extend his contract, the team said on Monday.
The 33-year-old took time out from Formula One in 2010 and 2011 to participate in the World Rally Championship before returning this season to secure six podium finishes. He was seventh in the Indian Grand Prix on Sunday.
"I think my return to Formula One has gone pretty well and the team has done a very good job all year so far," Raikkonen said. "To be honest, I didn't expect to be fighting for the drivers' championship this season when you look at where the team was in 2011, so it has been great to be on the podium so many times and to score points on a regular basis.
"I feel very comfortable with Lotus F1 Team and we share the same philosophy of racing. Continuing with the team was an obvious choice for me and I'm looking forward to making another step forward together next year."
Team principal Eric Boullier added: "Kimi has made an exceptional comeback to Formula One. From the first time he sat in the car this year it was clear he had lost none of his pace or technical feedback and we have been rewarded by a focused and motivated driver all season.
For Lotus F1 Team to be fighting for such strong championship positions this year is in no small part attributed to Kimi's talent and experience of racing. It was a natural conclusion for us to confirm that we will be harnessing his abilities for next season."
Raikkonen, the 2007 champion, is currently third in the overall drivers' standings behind Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.
The Finnish teammate for next season has not been confirmed. Before Romain Grosjean got involved in so many mishaps -starting with the awful Spa crash- he looked like a sure deal, but nowadays not so much.