SUZUKA, October 7- Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen has ruled out a return to Formula One in 2011 after speculation linked him with Renault for next season.
The Finn, who won the championship for Ferrari in 2007 and recorded 18 wins in 156 starts with Sauber, McLaren and Ferrari, quit the sport at the end of the 2009 season to participate in the World Rally Championship with Citroen.
Raikkonen and Renault began talks about a race seat for next season after the Belgian Grand Prix in August, but he played down those discussions in an interview with Finnish newspaper Tarun Sanomat earlier this week.
"I have never even seriously considered driving for Renault, and I can assure you that I am 100 percent sure that I will not drive for Renault next season," the 30-year-old said.
"My managers have weeks ago been in contact, once, with Renault’s team leader (team principal Eric Boullier). That is all."
Renault have Robert Kubica under contract for next season, but his teammate for 2011 remains undecided. Russian rookie Vitaly Petrov has driven alongside the Pole this season, but has managed just 19 of Renault’s 133 points.
Petrov, whose manager Oksana Kossatschenko confirmed was paying 15 million euros (21 million dollars) for his seat at the Anglo-French team earlier this year, has just four points finishes in 15 races so far this season.
Despite his struggles, Renault is in a comfortable fifth place in the constructors’ championship, an improvement from its sixth-place finish last year.
Meanwhile, Renault announced on Wednesday that Boullier, in his first year as team principal after taking the full-time role from Flavio Briatore, will add the job of managing director to his duties after Bob Bell stepped down from the position.
Bell, who was interim team principal in 2009 and has been in the sport since 1982, was technical director at Renault from 2002.