Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren, Interlagos, 2013

F1 will “crash and burn”, warns Whitmarsh

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Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren, Interlagos, 2013In the round-up: Former McLaren team principal and FOTA president Martin Whitmarsh says he is saddened by the state of Formula One and warns it may “crash and burn” before it improves.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Whitmarsh fears F1 could 'crash and burn' (Reuters)

"I think it (the sport) will crash and burn before it gets turned around, in my view. It will do eventually but I'm sad to see it go through the process it's going through."

Raikkonen’s Ferrari future to be decided by Marchionne (Crash)

"I will suggest my point of view and then we need to talk to the President to make the final decision."

Ferrari-Angebot fur Bottas (Bild - German, subscription required)

Ferrari is claimed to have made an offer to Williams for the services of Valtteri Bottas.

Verstappen amused by Maldonado quote (Autosport)

"It's quite funny that Pastor said that. It's the only thing I say about it, it's quite funny."

Formula 1 takeover 'won't change' Bernie Ecclestone role (BBC)

"Former FIA president Max Mosley says Formula 1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone's role 'won't change' if a takeover of the sport is completed."

Stephen Ross has the drive to lead Formula One out of wilderness (The Guardian)

"As one team principal said day: 'History would suggest that Bernie is going nowhere.'"

Mark Gallagher says F1 'got it wrong' in forecasting hybrid engine reliability (Sky)

"Having run Cosworth for a couple of years and sat in a lot of the meetings at which the FIA, along with the engine manufacturers, were discussing these new regulations, everyone in that room got it wrong."

Ricciardo targets Williams with Silverstone updates (F1i)

"I think we’ll be closer to Williams. I’m not sure we’ll get ahead of them there but we’ll be closer."

Analysis: Why 2017 F1 cars will be better for racing (Motorsport)

"As Symonds explained, much of (the Overtaking Working Group's) work was negated by the decision of F1 to introduce DRS in 2011, which has made overtaking artificially much easier."

How Exclusivity Has Fuelled An 83% Increase In The Value Of F1's TV Rights (Forbes)

"If F1 footage had been more widely available from the start, it would not have been so sought after by broadcasters and therefore would not have had as much exposure on TV as it does today. In turn this would have made it less accessible to fans so their demand for more access to footage is actually self-defeating. "



McLaren P1 Prost Front

McLaren has revealed a special edition of its P1 supercar named after Alain Prost. More pictures here:

Comment of the day

RogerA draws some conclusions from yesterday’s article on the 1990 Mexican Grand Prix.

A race that showed the benefits of no mandatory pit stops and free tyre choice.

Some pitted, Some didn’t and there was differences in tyre compounds through the field with some making the wrong choice and suffering some wear while others on harder compounds were able to push a bit harder to the end as the tyres held up better.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Kim Philby!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Five years ago Formula One was considering plans to introduce an adjustable rear wing which became known as DRS. Its effect on the sport continues to be a point of considerable debate, though in this revealing comment from then-Ferrari (now Mercedes) designer Aldo Costa, not much work had gone into the concept before it was approved, and is especially interesting in light of the Pat Symonds quote above:

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  • 66 comments on “F1 will “crash and burn”, warns Whitmarsh”

    1. In tests, either mid-season or pre-season, do the cars have to conform with all of the regulations or just the safety ones?

      1. just the safety ones. You can also run below weight for example. Otherwise those measuring rigs shown on Ricciardo’s car also would not be allowed @strontium

    2. I like Verstappen’s attitude here, and he is right about Maldonado. He doesn’t hold any ground to criticise other people for being dangerous, when actually Verstappen was only racing hard – which is clearly unheard of now in this time of excessive safety.

      1. i disagree, maldonado’s history is irelavent. Max forced him off the track, in my book thats hard not fair racing. If there was a wall on the exit he would have hit it. Dont you have to always leave a space when battling. it annoys me when drivers cant race hard and fair(see ham at bahrain 2014 forcing rosberg off the track many times)

        1. *hard but

        2. it’s interesting, a lot of people like to judge the character with out even understanding what is said. A lot of people look for ‘authority’ before ‘resaon’. If you pay close enough attention, you can really understand people, just by what they write. If Pastor got pushed (probably did, but didn’t really see it, I was bored to death by a race that was over by turn 1) off the circuit by Max, then I don’t see what the problem is, most likely a clear violation of the rules. Crowd psychology and the politics of F1 are far more interesting than the spectacle.

          1. I remember that moment @pcxmerc, I’d say Max should have given him room – they went into the corner pretty much side by side, with Max being just lightly ahead and Pastor on the outside, then Max straightened his line out of the corner, pretty much driving Pastor off the track. Not very nice, in my view.

      2. What Verstappen did was absolutely stupid. He risked taking both drivers out with his daft move. He is getting away with ridiculous moves on track and it will soon become a safety issue if he is not made to realise this isn’t a video game.

        1. What in particular are people referring to re Verstappen? I just watched the whole battle from Maldonados onboard and saw nothing wrong with anything Ves did, right up untill his tires ran out and he went wide. Meanwhile Mal nearly took himself out of the race by running over the sausage kerb on the outside of T1 and that huge moment on the s/f straight. All I saw was Ves defending hard, taking his racing line as he is perfectly entitled to do.

          Did I miss something? Show me where Ves was deliberately dangerous and I’ll gladly be proven wrong.

          1. You did not miss a thing. I saw the footage too, nothing wrong.
            Before he almost went off he was chasing Max, but although he was much faster with vigor and style Max was defending hard knowing he would ruin his tyres in the end.
            A processional driver would have given up after 3 or 4 corners, but Max is already showing an old school racing attitude of hard defending and great overtaking. That’s what the sport missed for a while, why sponsors are lining up for him and why Ecclestone is so fond of him.
            Max fought with all his power till he had to surrender. For me that’s what racing should be all about.
            Just before Maldonado almost went off, Maldonado was chasing hard, and with DRS open he approached Max very fast.
            Max suddenly went to the right when Maldonado was planning his overtake move to the left and Maldonado was just surprised by the immense space in front of him and almost crashed.
            I admit Maldonado showed great skills to correct the tank slapper, so after a couple of years of learning and crashtor experience he is getting a grip on his driving. Good for him.

        2. Finally a driver taking risks again, instead of all those boring drivers calculating the points while driving and managing tires, engines and their sponsors. Love it.

          It’s also the reason I like Maldonado, with him on track something always happening! And Raikkonen is doing his best also, lately ;-)

        3. You comment could be copy and pasted from 2007 when Hamilton started throwing moves everywhere. Try not to kill off pretty much the only positive thing about F1 at the moment will you. Its aggressive driving sure, but its within the rules.

      3. I agree. That’s a proper non PR-ish attitude from Max.
        Toto Wolff said so in F1today “For me, Max Verstappen a real character. He can drive fast and will not be silenced and says what how he is thinking in the media”

      4. Gotta love this guy indeed :p

      5. disrespect from him (and his father)! What happened on track is irelavent and “real character” is irelavent as well.

    3. Interesting article about the 2017 cars. Funny how the writer left out the bit about teams intentionally making the cars hard to follow.

      1. Robert McKay
        25th June 2015, 20:14

        Can you elaborate?

    4. COTD is right but nowadays, with all the simulations, the teams would realize that the fastest way is to take care of the tyres and run to the end without stopping.

      And then we’ll be all over the place commenting about how going much slower to take care of the rubber isn’t F1, and it isn’t racing, so I’ll stop watching because this is ridiculous…

      1. @fer-no65 Not necessarily. It was never so much about what was faster, It was always more down to what each car/driver could do.
        Different cars use tyres differently & different cars work differently on different compounds & the same is true for different drivers/driving styles.

        The past few years we often saw Saubers & Force India’s doing less stops than the rest & this year the Ferrari has been easier on its tyres than others. At Austria we saw a difference between the 2 Mercedes drivers with Nico wearing his fronts more than Lewis.
        These differences with a completely open tyre formula as we had in the past would give teams far more options to best maximize there specific package with the drivers also having more options to get the best out of there driving styles.

        This opens up the prospect that a mid-field team could really do something different. Maybe they no-stop while others make stops or perhaps they gamble on the faster softer compounds running them hard planning 1-2 stops while others run harder compounds that are slower but may need some management to get a no-stop or 1-stop to work.

        It woudl also put the driver more in control. Look at how Michael Schumacher won his 2nd race in 1993 at Estoril. The plan going in was to make 2 stops, However they found that tyre wear on his car was better than expected so Michael made the decision to switch strategy & go to a 1 stop & that gave him the win & setup for a great finish as Alain Prost on better tyres caught & tried to pass him for the final laps.

        I say lets try it, Whats to lose?

        1. Congratulations @rogera, keep fighting the good fight, I’m losing interest in trying to convince people that making the cars more similar is a wrong direction no matter how many gimmicks are added to artificially mix up the running order, seems you can still lead a horse to water and it will still refuse to drink.

        2. Yep and of course there was Leyton House no stopping at Paul Ricard in 90 and nearly shocking the world. I could see Perez maybe trying something similar at Monza or something if just given a chance. But we’ll never know

        3. Sorry, but I am with @fer-no65 here @hohum, @rogera with the expectation that more choice in tyres and making them more durable would not magically make everything better.

          Sure it would be nice if we could have that, but the reality is that a. the tyres are stable enough that after a couple of races teams more or less know what they can expect of them (a huge difference from the past) and b. they have the simulation tools to know to a relatively large extent how to run them “optimal” during the races.

          This together takes away a large part of the unpredictability in the past when there were far larger differences between single sets of tyres, giving a larger degree of uncertainty. Nowadays the only surprises are when we get weather that is very different from what was expected, or when the surface is new and behaves differently from previous years.

          Yes, cars behave differently on the tyres, like you mention. But most of that was down to a good guess of what to expect of tyres before the season even started when there was even less testing allowed then we have now and the tyres behaved quite different then they behaved in years previously – it will be hard to get that every year without overhauling the construction on a year by year basis, otherwise others just copy what worked the year before.

          1. @bascb, I am under no illusion that F1 can be fixed by fiddling with the tyres, I would like the tyres to be one place where there was no real influence on the outcome of the race as they are not made in house by the teams. But look at the variety of the cars competing for a place on the grid, even a dull race, which this one patently was not, would provide fascinating drama and insights, imagine the bravado that produced a flat 12 cobbled up from the Subaru parts bin, ok it failed but I don’t suppose it’s failure led to the bankruptcy and failure of dozens of small businesses as happens now with a “one size fits all” set of regulations. I really think all these so-called money saving policies actually have an effect totally opposite to what they are supposed to achieve.

            1. Yes, I see what you mean there @hohum, and I am not at all sure that we “need” tyres that do not last to make the racing better either, and would like to see a team being able to pick what tyres they run that fit their car best.

              On the other hand, I am pretty sure that we are unlikely to ever see the huge differences in engines and cars that we have had in the past again, because knowledge of what works and what doesn’t is more widely available, the tools to simulate cut off dead ends earlier and reliability offers less chances for a small team suddenly being up there for a race.

            2. There is only 1 way to fix F1 and it starts with removing Bernie from any involvement with the sport. Until this is done, F1 will remain broken.

              There are very few problems in f1 where the root cause isn’t Bernie.

            3. @hohum, what happened to Motori Moderni afterwards, given that they were the ones who prepared the engines (Subaru really only paid for the engine covers)?

              I would say that, on the contrary, earlier bankruptcies did have a negative impact on the wider motorsport industry and did have wider repercussions than you think – just look at what happened when Arrows failed in the early 2000’s and took down Hart with it.
              I would wager that the reason why it is perhaps not so well known is the fact that, being such a niche industry, most observers would not notice if the suppliers go bankrupt – the bankruptcy of Lola Cars, for example, only received passing mention in the wider press.

      2. Ya, for me the biggest problem with F1 right now is the lack of close racing between top teams. Any change that doesn’t guarantee an improvement in that area is waste of time/money IMO. The regulations must allow for a fair way for slow cars to catch up to faster cars.

      3. My thoughts exactly, @fer-no65.

    5. Nathan (@il-ferrarista)
      25th June 2015, 1:24

      May God bless Whitmarsh. Such a great and wise man. Loved the period whe he and Domenicali competed (in good manners) with each other. F1 needs guys like Domenicali and Whitmarsh, not just “brutal” egocentric competitors like Horner, Dennis, and even Arrivabene (although I really like him and him predecessor Marco Mattiacci).

      1. I agree; F1 needs guys like Domenicali and Whitmarsh. I think it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t get a chance to see what Domenicali could do without the shadow of Luca looming over him.

      2. @il-ferrarista

        You cant win in F1 by being the nice guy. You have to be a d$%k. Apart from 09 (I am not counting Domeniciali in 2008 because Ferrari won the WCC by default), when Ross Brawn and Jenson Button won the WCC and WDC, when is the last time a team who had a “nice” team principle-driver combo win a World Championship?

        F1 is about winning, always has been and always will be. Of course, back in the early days, there was a degree of nobility and camaraderie in racing, but by the time the 80s came along, all of that was long gone, because that when the money came in. Since then, it has been brutal and egocentric, because you pretty much need to be like that in order to succeed in an environment where a tenth of second makes a difference.

        You know the saying “nice guys finish last”? Well, its evident in F1 more so than any other sport.

        1. “when is the last time a team who had a “nice” team principle-driver combo win a World Championship?”

          2014, 2015

          1. Yeah, Right!! Rosberg was the only nice guy there! 😃

        2. @jaymenon10 COTD vote from me

      3. @jaymenon10

        You cant win in F1 by being the nice guy. You have to be a d$%k. Apart from 09, when Ross Brawn and Jenson Button won the WCC and WDC, when is the last time a team who had a “nice” team principle-driver combo win a World Championship?

        I am not sure in what parallel universe Ross Brawn is considered a “nice guy”, that man made Horner and Wolff look like saints in comparison.

      4. There’s value in F1, people willing to BURN $7,3 billion to run the show… let’s hope Mosley is wrong and new owners fire Berine and hire Martin Whitmarsh.

        1. Nathan (@il-ferrarista)
          26th June 2015, 0:10

          ^^ let’s hope :)

        2. I don’t see a method to remove an owner of any institution. Especialy if the owner is making rules that run the institution and the owner has a huge financial interest in running it.
          It’s sad to see that ‘little people’ and by ‘little’ I regard myself as well, don’t understand the ways of this world. Neo liberal capitalism is flourishing today. It’s a perfect environment for individuals like mr. Ecclestone. Wealthy individuals today shape the politics of super powers not only sport in particular. If anyone here thinks that Bernie will budge a finger because of you moaning worried about the state of F1 then you should think twice. However, the colapsse of F1 is inevitable because it is not sustainable. When it happens and it will happen soon Bernie and Co. will realise that the greed is only a proper fuel for self destruction.

      5. It “may” crash and burn? Martin, it’s already in the process of doing so. It’s about two years into that process, if not more, now.

        Also, I always had a soft spot for Whitmarsh, Domenicali and Horner. The three of them were true gentlemen, unlike basically every other boss of a front-running team for the last few decades. The only team boss I can honestly say was more of a gentleman was Eddie Jordan.

        Sadly, with the sole exception of Horner, gentlemen don’t do well in this sport. They get discarded by the wayside, and usually pretty quickly as well. Hell, those in the majority here who consistently attack Horner — despite the fact that he’s always tactful and polite when interviewed, even when he has a very, very good reason to have a beef about something — are a nice example of that.

        He’s from that upstart energy drink team who dared beat the car companies, after all. Attack, attack! It’s a bit pathetic, really.

        1. Well, and Jackie Stewart I guess, but AFAICT Paul Stewart was really the boss there. His dad seemed to be around mostly as the public face and an intermediary between Paul and the powers that be, rather than as team boss himself.

        2. I guess Bob Fernley is turning out to be quite a rebellious character.

        3. I used to be a fan of Whitmarsh, Domenicali and Horner as well. I sometimes ask myself, “if I was a Formula 1 driver, who would I want to be my team principal?”, and the answer used to be Horner, but he, along with the rest of Red Bull’s senior management, really hasn’t reacted gracefully to his team’s declining fortunes. Nowadays I think I’d rather race for Claire Williams.

    6. Mclaren should run that P1 car instead of their current car, its probably a bit faster and alot more reliable!

      1. Tyres don’t fit mate.

        1. lol – indeed, not in the pinnacle of motorsport it seems :)

    7. Less and less respect for VES and his father. He hasn’t showed enough respect for his rivals in public.
      But he is only 17, I will be quite open to forgive him one day

      1. Why? Because Maldonado almost committed race-suicide again, this time coming from behind Verstappen? Then MAL accuses VES of bad driving and VES refuses to comment, saying it’s a funny remark and leaving it at that. I think this actually shows progress on Max’s part, instead of landing himself in a media frenzy like earlier in the season. I don’t think any of the other drivers or teams took MAL’s comments too seriously either.

        1. If VES REALLY refused to comment, I would definitely praise him. But he didn’t!

          1. If someone should have kept their mouth shut it would be Pastor himself. He reacts on something that happened during the race that was not classified as dangerous or illegal by the stewards. You know, he stewards that have to enforce the rules that Pastor claims Max did not respect.

            Losing repect for max (and his dad?????) for laughing at that comment is just plain silly.

            1. 1.If there is no accident or a meeting with a run-off, stewards will not have a look.
              2.VES is not a guy who keeps their mouth shut if he disagree with stewards, which I have no problems with
              3.I do suspect his dad allows or encourages this kind of words from his son

            2. *VES is not a guy who keeps his mouth shut when he disagrees with stewards, which I have no problems with

    8. how do’s this sound????

      the steering wheel and all its gadgets is part of the problem would you not say?????

      ok lets say practice 1 2 and 3 the steering wheel as it is can be used for setting up the car to its optimum,

      anytime after this the steering wheel will be changed and have only 2 buttons and a rev counter,
      1 button for pit limiter, another for tell the Pit crew your bring in the car to change tires or change settings.

      ok the deal is no communications with driver unless its for safety reasons or to switch off motor because its about to blow sort of thing,
      the pit crew can only talk to the driver about the car and everything else like they do now when that driver enters the pit lane and exist it, if they want to make changes to the car then they have to plug a laptop into the car and upload the new configuration, then exit back out onto the track, bit like refueling but with a twist.

      so now you have the driver in control with no idea about tire wear, no idea about fuel usage, cant change the breaks settings, has to race because he has no idea about the guy in front of him is winning or being lapping,

      just think about how much better it would be without that steering wheel and very limited everything else,
      if they want to know anything else and they are desperate then they will have to enter the pit lane at a slower speed which will coarse them to loose time and track postion,

      the driver is to make all the calls on tires,
      the car is to be fulled to 100kgs of fuel,

      just a different angle to maybe make it more competitive plus take that control away from the pit wall and place it back on the driver.

    9. F1 needs to stop with the self destruction comments. One team is dominating yes, and money is unfairly distributed and the grid is too small, but I assure you that the racing was never that close pre-pirelli. The best thing that f1 can do for itself is keep the engines and relax development, keep the tyres how they are to keep the strategic element, remove DRS and bring back ground effect.

      1. Has there ever been a point this century in which F1 has not been in crisis? It seems that doom-and-gloom pronouncements are as integral a part of the F1 brand as drivers’ excuses.

        To be honest, though, part of me has to wonder whether a bit of crash and burn might not be good for the sport: Stripping out some of the money might get rid of the pack of sharks that currently circles it.

    10. The Forbes article was interesting. Everything is perfect in F1 when you look at revenue… That article is rubbish. Fans are leaving the sport and the math on that was wrong in the article. And if F1 is so healthy and such a model then why are’t the cars smattered in sponsor stickers?

      1. Fans are leaving the sport

        @fletch But are they?

        TV figures were up worldwide for the Austrian Gp, The North American TV figures have been increasing the past 2-3 years & the TV figures worldwide are still higher than they were 4-5 years ago.

        The only ‘fans’ that are leaving are the casuals who only started watching because of DRS & Pirelli tyres & who were only interesting in the mass gimmicky nonsense that 2011 & 2012 introduced. The Tv figures increased for those 2 years, Now there simply going back to what they were as the casuals are leaving & the real fans are staying.

        F1 is still the biggest motorsport category in the world, it still gets more fans into circuits & still has more viewers on TV than anything else.
        People constantly talk up WEC yet it could barely get 300,000 people to watch its biggest race of the year (Le mans) on UK TV even though the race was broadcast on a Freeview channel (Quest TV). The WEC’s viewing figures are pathetic & its circuit attendance is tiny compared to F1 yet people keep talking it up like its more popular when it simply is not.

        F1 has its troubles don’t get me wrong, But its nowhere near in as bad shape as people are suggesting, I’ve certainly seen times when it was worse than it is now.

        1. Yes, they are.
          TV figures peaked at 600 million in 2008, they’ve fallen to 475 million this year. The USA figures may have increased by a couple of million but that hasn’t been enough to stop the continued global decline.

        2. I only have the UK figures to hand so there all I can post. Here are the yearly averages going back to 1992.

          1992-96 (BBC) – 5.1m/3.9m/4.1m/4.5m/5.3m.
          1997-2008 (ITV) – 4.6m/4.8m/4.5m/4.1m/4.0m/3.7m/3.6m/3.1m/3.1m/2.9m/3.8m/3.9m.
          2009-2011 (BBC) – 4.4m/4.3m/4.6m.
          2012-2014 (BBC/Sky) – 3.92m/4.06/4.01m.

          And here is a chart showing the German TV figures from 1992-2009-

          In terms of the US from 2013>2014 they saw an 85% increase, So far this year there seeing a further 10% increase.

          1. @gt-racer Interestingly, the UK figures rise with Mansell, Hill and Hamilton WDC success. Button’s 2004-6 period didn’t excite, viewers tired of ‘Ferrari domination’? Or simply too long since British success?

            German figures basically follow Schumi, while US figures rise when shown on the main channel (by 4x+). Maybe Rossi getting in a Haas will continue that?

      2. That article ignores all the data from other sports which have seen increase in broadcast rights while at the same time broadly sharing video content. NFL, NBA, MLB, Football, basically every other sport has also seen increase in broadcast revenue because when you make it easy for people to access content you get more fans overall.

        Also, the data quoted is years old. How has it changed the past three years? How does the broadcast rights growth of F1 compare to that of other sports? How about comparisons of other revenue streams?

        Oh, and Wolff is incorrect about not being able to make money from YouTube. Ask top music artists. If F1 had an official YouTube channel they could monetize it themselves instead of having to battle other people posting (they post because it makes them money!).

        1. If F1 had an official YouTube channel

          They do-

      3. Funny enough, I just had to read the title for a good guess at the author of that piece (and I was right about it being him), and expected an article singing Bernies praise.

    11. “F1 will crash and burn”- Quite ironic given how it was Whitmarsh who crashed McLaren. McLaren had the fastest car at the end of 2012, Whitmarsh thought he could compensate for Hamilton’s pace with Sergio Perez ( Perez only 10-9 against Button in quali), and worse of all he changed the 2012 car radically instead of making an evolution of it. I for one am glad he’s not in the F1 paddock. I thought freakishly quick drivers was rare but having freakishly capable team principals is even more rare. While talents like Ross Brawn, Domenicalli, Rory Byrne and even Flavio Briatore (pains me to admit) are out there somewhere fishing, we’re stuck with whiners like Horner, the Mercedes clown duo of Wolff and Lowe, and Arrivabene who claims to be the reason for Ferrari’s improvement given the car was designed before Mattiaci was sacked. These clowns are business men, they are out there to add more zeros to their swiss bank account, they couldn’t care less for F1. If Whitmarsh was still in F1; he wouldn’t care less about the state if McLaren keep dumping zeros into his bank account

      1. I disagree about Whitmarsh ethics. The guy showed he cared about F1 as a whole. Indeed you can blame him for some of Mclaren troubles but not for his ethics since he really tried to help F1 as a whole even by sacrificing time from Mclaren.
        What did Wolff did that makes him a Clown? His managing the team quite well actually and his keeping it quite fair between his drivers unlike what Ross Brawn did when he was at Ferrari.
        And Briatore, seriously?
        I’ll agree about Horner and the Mattiaci guy.

    12. Because he has the experience, you could probably ask Whitmarsh what’s better? Crashing and burning or disappearing altogether?

    13. Ferrari is claimed to have made an offer to Williams for the services of Valtteri Bottas.

      Is Bottas really better option then Hulkenberg? I would pick Hulk instead

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