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Raikkonen gets a new race engineer

Ferrari Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland throws his hat to the crowd after getting the third place in the Italian F1 Grand Prix
Ferrari Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland throws his hat to the crowd after getting the third place in the Italian F1 Grand Prix

(Reuters) - Kimi Raikkonen will be hearing a new voice over the team radio next season after Ferrari said on Tuesday that Italian Antonio Spagnolo would be race engineer to the returning 2007 world champion.

How much assistance he will need remains to be seen.

The taciturn Finn is well known for doing things his own way, famously telling his race engineer at Lotus in 2012 to "leave me alone, I know what I'm doing" while on his way to victory in Abu Dhabi.

The quote has gone down in Formula One legend, emblazoned on thousands of T-shirts.

Raikkonen won his title with Ferrari, before making way for Fernando Alonso at the end of the 2009 season and moving to rallying for two years prior to a comeback with Lotus.

The Finn's race engineer from his last Ferrari period, Italian Andrea Stella, is still with the Italian team but has since forged a close working relationship with Alonso.

Ferrari's announcement means change for Britain's Rob Smedley, a familiar voice to television viewers worldwide as race engineer to Raikkonen's long-suffering Ferrari predecessor Felipe Massa.

Massa has moved to Williams and Smedley could join him there in a new technical role, although he has also been linked with McLaren.

Raikkonen missed the last two races of this year after having back surgery but Ferrari's website said he had visited the Maranello factory on Tuesday to catch up with old friends and discuss the 2014 car.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)

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