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McLaren to Change Raikkonen's Engine

Kimi Raikkonen's hopes of winning the French Grand Prix receded significantly on Friday after the McLaren title contender suffered a blown engine in practice

The Finn, second in the Formula One Championship to Renault's Fernando Alonso, pulled over after just four minutes of the afternoon session as smoke billowed out from the Mercedes engine.

The failure will cost Raikkonen 10 places on the starting grid and left him with a tough task in Sunday's race.

"We were going through our planned programme in the morning session, but unfortunately during my first run early in the second practice I had an engine failure," said the Finn.

"That is obviously going to affect my weekend quite a bit as I will have to move ten places down the starting grid which will make things more challenging. However we will do the best we can and continue working as hard as possible."

Mercedes motorsport chief Norbert Haug said the German company would send the engine to their factory to make sure the failure was just a one off.

"This engine specification ran various times reliably between 1200 and 1500 kms of testing on and off track," said Haug.

"We will fly the engine back and investigate the reason for the failure immediately. It should not be a general problem with this engine specification after all our thorough testing programmes, but we will know more tomorrow."

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