Damon Hill believes Kimi Raikkonen has "a couple more World Championships" in him, and reckons returning to the sport at the age of 32 should not be a problem for the Finn.
Raikkonen left Formula 1 at the end of the 2009 season to compete in the World Rally Championship, but he will make his comeback next year after signing a two-year deal with the Lotus Renault team. The Finn, regarded as one of the quickest drivers of his era, won the title in 2007 with Ferrari and has 18 grand prix victories to his name.
Former World Champion Hill thinks Raikkonen's return is good for Formula 1
"It is great, and good luck to him," Hill said. "He is going to have to show that he has still got it, which he has got a good team to show that in, and he is still young.
"He has won a World Championship already, and I had only just got into F1 at his age, so he has definitely got a couple more World Championships in him."
Hill, who retired from the sport at the end of the 1999 season, said he would also like to see a better fight for the titles next year, adding that he hopes Red Bull's rivals can push the team harder in 2012 after a dominant 2011.
"We want to see someone upset the applecart, although I think Adrian [Newey] is fantastic, and [Sebastian] Vettel, [Mark] Webber and Red Bull Racing is a great team at the front – and they seem to be fun loving," he said. "It is good to have that - but I know that they want to fight for it. They don't want it too easy. So a good, titanic battle between three top teams would be fantastic to see."
Hill, however, said that despite Vettel's dominance, the past season was thrilling. He feels 2011 showed Formula 1 is in good shape, although he admitted to concerns that the sport's traditional European predominance appears to be diminishing.
"Yes, I thought it was very exciting. It was a brilliant season. The sport is good, but there is still a lot that needs discussing," Hill said. "It is fantastic entertainment, but I just know that Europe and Great Britain are important to the sport. I think that is worth emphasizing – it is not all about the bottom line. It is about going to place where people understand and appreciate the sport and they should not be denied access to it."