Raikkonen puts rally hobby on hold for Lotus

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Citroen C4 WRC crashes out 19km into stage 4.
Kimi Raikkonen rolled out of the 2010 Rally Bulgaria

Jan.27 (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen has admitted he will sideline his rallying hobby now that he has returned to Formula 1 full-time.

F1’s 2007 world champion moved to world rallying two years ago after losing his Ferrari seat.

In the meantime, Lotus (formerly Renault) struggled last season in the wake of lead driver Robert Kubica’s horror injuries sustained in a minor Italian rally.

The Enstone based team, having now signed Raikkonen, has insisted its drivers will not be covered in cotton wool, even though the 32-year-old recently hurt his wrist in a snowmobile fall.

“Kimi is Kimi and it will be difficult to change the way he lives,” said Group Lotus’ Dany Bahar last month.

Around the same time, Raikkonen’s former world rally co-driver Kaj Lindstrom said he hopes the Finn keeps rallying in 2012 “as a hobby”.

“If I could continue with rallying at the same time as competing in formula one, I would,” Raikkonen is quoted by Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat in Zurich this week.

“But I will have to wait a little while before I do some rallies again,” he admitted.

“These days the teams are always a bit nervous about these things,” said Raikkonen.