Kimi Raikkonen has ruled out making a return to Formula One with the Renault team next season.
The Finnish driver, who won the 2007 world championship with Ferrari, quit F1 at the end of last year and has since raced in the World Rally Championship.
Renault team principal Eric Boullier recently revealed that Raikkonen’s management team had been in contact with a view to him making a return to the sport.
The 30-year-old has flatly rejected that prospect, however, and hit out at Renault for encouraging the speculation.
“I am very disappointed with how they have used my name for their own marketing,” Raikkonen told Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat.
“I have never even seriously considered driving for Renault, and I can assure you that I am 100% sure that I will not drive for Renault next season.”
Raikkonen’s stance is good news for current Renault driver Vitaly Petrov, who is still to convince his superiors that he is worthy of another campaign as team-mate to Robert Kubica.
Boullier recently claimed retaining Petrov remains the team’s “priority”, but added that the Russian would need to convince them of his worth over the final races of his rookie season.
Meanwhile, Boullier has been named Renault’s new managing director following the departure of Bob Bell, and will combine the role with that of team principal.
Bell joined Renault in 2001 as deputy technical director before quickly rising to become technical director.
He played a key role in the team’s world championship wins in 2005 and 2006 and went on to briefly act as team principal following the exit of Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds after the ’Crashgate’ scandal.
Bell was appointed managing director in January following Boullier’s arrival as team principal.
“We would like to thank Bob Bell for his contribution to the performance of the team and for helping see us through a period of transition since Genii Capital became a shareholder in the Renault F1 Team,” said Renault F1 team chairman Gerard Lopez.
“We are entrusting the post of managing director to Eric Boullier and we have every confidence that, under his leadership, we will achieve our racing objectives.”