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Byrne lending a hand with Ferrari's 2014 car

LONDON (Reuters) - Ferrari are tapping the talents of Rory Byrne, the South African designer whose cars took Michael Schumacher to seven Formula One drivers' titles with Benetton and Ferrari, to help with development of their 2014 car.

Byrne was spotted at the launch of the team's 2013 car, the F138, at the Maranello factory this month, and Ferrari confirmed on Sunday that he was also involved - at a distance - in next year's challenger.

A spokesman said the 69-year-old was working on the new Enzo road car project but also providing "operational support" on the 2014 F1 project.

An earlier report in German publication Auto, Motor und Sport had quoted Byrne as saying he was "working full steam" on the car with the F138 looking like "child's play" in comparison to it.

With major rules changes and a new engine coming in next season, Ferrari have set up two separate design teams to work on this and next year's cars.

Fabio Montecchi is the lead man for the 2014 design with Simone Resta working on the F138. Both report to Nicolas Tombazis.

Schumacher won 91 races in cars designed by Byrne.

The South African moved to Ferrari in 1997 and became part of a 'dream team' with Ross Brawn and Schumacher.

He retired from full time design at the end of 2006, when Schumacher began a three-year break from the sport, but has since been involved as a consultant in various Ferrari projects.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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