Soapbox: Why Fernando Alonso should be champion

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Continuing our three part series on why each of the top drivers deserves to be champion, today Oliver White will state the case for Fernando Alonso.

Yesterday we heard the argument for Lewis Hamilton – don’t miss the final instalment tomorrow on Kimi Raikkonen.

For now, here’s what Ollie has to say…

Before I begin the journey of convincing everyone why Alonso deserves to win the 2007 title, I must use up some of my 600 word limit and thank Keith for inviting me to contribute to his wonderfully informative and well-written site. I’ve always held F1Fanatic in high regard and although the challenge set was quite demanding, the fact it will be published on such a respected area of the internet makes it all the more satisfying.

So, why do I think the lying cheating scoundrel that is Fernando Alonso should take the title this upcoming weekend?

The answer is actually quite simple, but how I got to that answer when planning this post was interesting. Let’s take a quick look at Alonso’s 2007 campaign and consider what a racing driver is, and what it means to value each and every point one might earn on their way to the final race of a season.

Alonso moved from Renault to McLaren for this year, seemingly following a script that wouldn’t look too out of place in a soap opera. The dramatic switch of allegiances brought the world champion as many new fans as it lost him.

But quickly it became clear that Alonso meant business and wasn’t about to relieve himself of his champion status.

From day one the Spanish sensation set about racing in his now traditional style, claiming points at every available opportunity, racing hard with his competitors and never giving up.

The mark of a true racer, I’ve always believed, is the mantra of the race not being over until the chequered flag is waved. Alonso fulfils this perfectly having pushed until the last corner of the last lap during this season.

Alonso’s pass on Massa during the European Grand Prix was simply breathtaking. It outlined to every Formula One follower that the difficulties McLaren have faced do not detract from mesmerising race craft.

One thing will always remain true: motorsport is about winning on the racetrack. To further add to this, Alonso won in magnificent style in Malaysia, Monaco and Italy, and showed his tenacity at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix, refusing to let Hamilton through. His passionate celebratory jumps show one and all the effort the young man puts into the races, and passion – I believe – deserves reward.

Alonso has had to deal with a fair amount of pressure this year, not only from Hamilton, but also from the team.

However, the experience gained from two titles has shone through, and although Alonso can come across as being a sore loser at times, I believe people tend to ignore the similar comments made from other side of the team when they lose out. Swings and roundabouts? Most definitely.

The damaging claims and penalties made against McLaren this year, along with those made against the Spaniard’s very own reputation will not necessarily tarnish what Alonso is all about. At his heart, Fernando is a racing driver, a driver who will do whatever it takes to ensure he is leading the pack across the start-finish line on the final lap.

What has transpired this season may well indeed damage the personal reputation of the double champion, but his ability and pedigree behind the wheel of a racing car remain.

Alonso’s calm and calculated nature has earned him at least one title already and certainly contributed to the second. But what we all started to see in 2006 was not just a points scorer, but also a hard and fast driver with dedication to the cause and ultimate aim.

More so, this dedication, albeit occasionally floundering in the understandable face of adversity, has come to the fore in 2007, Alonso’s position in the tables proving this.

The 2007 season has shown Alonso’s rivals to be incredible fast and talented, but very few show the release of energy after a race win that Alonso does.

The victorious screams and clenched fists show the richly deserved and rewarding feeling Alonso gets when he wins. This alone – this colossal amount of passion – sets Alonso apart from the others. It sets him as triple world champion.

Oliver White writes for BlogF1.

Photo: Daimler Chrysler

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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35 comments on “Soapbox: Why Fernando Alonso should be champion”

  1. Alonso should be Champion, first of all, because he made possible McLaren came back to the first row. But we can´t forget he´s been punished for breaking no rule. Hamilton has been helped several times by the FIA.

  2. I’m an Alonso fan, and it was a bit difficult for me to read this.

    It’s hard to say objectively why one driver deserves to win over others… even decide what objectively means in this context! How does one driver drive BETTER than another? Is consistency or aggressiveness best? Etc.

    And so it’s painful to try to hear ‘objective’ or ‘quantifiable’ justifications.

    For me, 1. Alonso was a major player in getting McLaren up to speed this year. AT LEAST as a motivational factor for the team. That can’t be quantified, but think about the blow it must have meant to the Renault team. I bet engineers don’t stay up as late for Fisichella as they did for Alonso.

    2. Alonso has let himself down during races (stupid mistakes or risking too much in Catalunya, Montreal, Fuji?), but especially qualifying: how many times has he qualified behind Hamilton and yet had a faster pace on race-day?

    Who should be champion? The fast qualifier, solid race-day driver or the slow qualifier and faster race-day driver?

    The safer driver or the driver that takes more risks that sometimes don’t pay off?

    3. I think the inability to play differently (not better) than Lewis has been a detriment to Alonso. Fuel strategies have normally been too close to be able to do something different: create a gap at the beginning or stay in longer before pitting… anything. Alonso said at the beginning of the year that it is difficult to beat a clone, and I believe more than asking for preferential treatment I think Alonso wanted to be able to race differently to Hamilton. Remember how Renault played the strategies game very well compared to McLaren and Ferrari in the last two years.

    … And that’s as objective as I can get it.


    Cheers Keith, Ollie

  3. Good post Ollie :)

    I’m hoping for an Alonso victory – if he makes it then it will surely rank as his best yet, having had to overcome so much strife from within his own team.

    He has won it before with a Renault which perhaps wasn’t as good a car as the Ferraris and McLarens, but at least then he had 100% support from everyone around him but this time seems to be the exact opposite.

    I think Alonso would be on top of the world if he wins the title this weekend!

    Although I must admit that no matter which driver wins, a case can be made that they are rightfully the champion – but I just hope it’s Alonso ;)

  4. Alonso deserves the title because he has battled through severe criticism this year (some from his own team mate) and was seen to be the bad boy of the spy gate scandal. He was unfairly punished for the Hungary qualifying debacle while it was conveniently ignored that his Golden Boy rookie team mate was the instigator.

    He has had some amazing drives this year and KEPT IT ON THE TRACK to win at the Nurburgring and didnt need any help from marshals to do it either! He was criticised for going off at the first corner in Barcelona and Canada – but hey he’s a RACING driver!!!!

    He failed to score in a few races and despite this he is only a handful of points behind his rookie team mate who,lets face it, has had the upperhand on him for most of the season when his team mate has probably had the slight edge in favouritism in the ‘our drivers are treated equally’ team that is McLaren.

    If Alonso were say 30 points behind Hamilton to the final race I would say he’s been shown up for the mediocre driver some may say he is.But he IS only a handful of points away from the title and I reckon he’s favourite to win in Interlagos on Sunday and therefore my favourite to win the title. GO ALONSO!!

  5. I believe Alonso deserves to win because he has made the most entertainment. He made the only pass for the lead the whole year, and I bet some thought it was fun to see him being passed by Sato, making some mistakes, and that infamous blocking manouver.

    Lewis has also made some great passes, while Kimi has been utterly boring to watch without having made one serious passing attempt I can remember, even when he has had nothing to lose, except on a strugeling Ham in China, so I hope that one of McLaren drivers win. Most of all Alonso, but all but one time Lewis has come second when Alonso has won. So I would be surprised if Hamilton didn’t win the title.

  6. Regarding the fourth comment, I don’t understand how people can think Alonso’s penalty in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix unfair.

    Yes, Hamilton was the instigator. But did he break any rules? No.

    Alonso retaliated by holding up Hamilton in the pits. That is not in dispute. In doing so, he broke the rules against impeding other drivers during qualifying. So he got punished.

    At exactly the same event another driver (Fisichella) got exactly the same penalty for impeding another driver (Yamamoto). You can’t say fairer than that.

  7. I am not really an Alonso fan but if he wins the title he will definitelly have my respect as driver. But as a person, he needs to grow up …

    Even I wish the title to Kimi, I somehow think that Alonso is the one who will take it (unless some disaster strucks). I said after Japan, that the title is Hamilton’s to throw away. And after China he may be in a position to do exactly that. Alonso on the other hand has nothing to loose and that may be his advantage. For Kimi to win some very unusual race result would have to occur. Alonso however can win the title even after pretty “normal” result. All he needs is favourably mixed up McLarens and Ferraris at the top of the order.

  8. Alonso has only himself to blame for the friction within the team. When he signed that shock contract for McLaren last year, he would have known about Hamilton’s close ties with the team (I did, and i’m just an arm-chair enthusiast!) & his impending seat for this season… He also knew that they would be treated equally in the team. What he didn’t expect, was that Hamilton would be so quick straight out of the box!! With that realisation, he knew he needed to get an advantage by having the Number 1 status. When that wasn’t, quite rightly, forthcoming he decided to throw his toys (and helmet by all accounts) out of the pram. We all know he’s a good driver, but for his petulant behaviour, I hope either Lewis or Kimi wins the title.

  9. Ali AydoÄŸan
    16th October 2007, 12:44

    Any of the three deserves the title. But my personal wish is Alonso wins, but my guess is that it is more than difficult with a 4 point gap.

    I want FA to win it becaues he is a different racer than others and desires a win more than others. Yes he embrassed himself because he could not accept being beaten to Massa in Spain, he messed everything in Canada because he could not accept his rookie teammate winning a race(LH won 3 more later :)). But I have some memories of him in Germany, in France, or in Japan pushing hard with a right rear-damaged car in a left-hand corner. So he is a more exciting driver to me as a spectator.

    I want FA to win it because I believe he is trying to win it in more difficult conditions (esp. compared to LH). The team principle says they are racing FA, not KR. But many people claimed whole season that FA wanted better equipment, better strategy…It seems golden boy receives more from team?

    Another reason I like him win is it makes Bernie, Ron Dennis, British biassed-press upset.

    I also want FA to win because I dont like LH. Personally I dont believe LH has a straight character. You can see him in every possiblity saying “team,team,team”, but the same person sparks two investigations in Monaco and Hungary, one of which results in loss of possible 18 points for the team. (I was very surprised that LH, one of Ron’s equal McLaren drivers, did not respect FA’s turn to get the extra lap, and invented a story about KR being so close to them in Q3) He also claimed he knew nothing about spygate and accused FA about it in Spa-weekend, and he was another person telling Mclaren was not involved in it, but FA, DeLaRosa and Coughlan? which I dont believe. He is lifted by a crane if goes out and escapes penalties when FA would surely be penalized in the same situation.

  10. He also claimed he knew nothing about spygate and accused FA about it in Spa-weekend, and he was another person telling Mclaren was not involved in it, but FA, DeLaRosa and Coughlan?

    Alonso and de la Rosa both supplied proof that they knew about the Coughlan documents. None of that evidence and none of the other evidence gave any indication that Hamilton knew anything at all about what was going on.

    Hamilton, like Alonso and de la Rosa, was offered immunity from prosecution in return for turning over any evidence he might have. He gave nothing.

    Pause for a second and think through what that means.

    Alonso and de la Rosa knew there was material that implicated them, and yet they were being offered immunity for handing it over. So of course that’s exactly what they did.

    Now consider Hamilton. If he had evidence proving that he was involved, what would he have to gain by not turning it over? If any evidence existed, he could guarantee no punishment for himself by handing it over.

    Conversely, if he had evidence and didn’t hand it over, he would be risking everything for no benefit. He could not be sure other people wouldn’t bring forward evidence implicating him if there was any.

    There is not a shred of evidence that suggests Hamilton knew anything about the Coughlan documents. And Hamilton’s actions only support the belief that he indeed knew nothing about what was going on.

    I certainly don’t believe that Alonso would have wanted to share the potentially valuable information in the Coughlan documents with Hamilton.

  11. “……lying cheating scoundrel that is Fernando Alonso…..”
    WOW! I think Oliver and I have disputed a few other issues (in a friendly manner) but this is extreme. Well, you’ve got to write something to entertain the masses and flambouyant text IS entertaining even if WRONG !!!!
    Another friend (Keith in post #6) had to bring back the Hungary incident as if that’s the tie breaker between Alonso and Hamilton but my view on that and ALL qualifying…….. is simple, the idiot mentality of “one hot lap” is what cost Hamilton his chance. Had he been ‘blocked’, ‘delayed’, ‘obstructed’ or in some other manner prevented his ONE HOT LAP out on the circuit, it would have been no different. Hamilton had 15 minutes to produce a HOT LAP, just because he choose to do it last and some issue beyound his control came up ….that’s his fault. The FIA of course would still be there to make a mockery of the proceedings but to think Alonso alone could ruin the career of F1’s new star is ludicrious.
    Back to Alonso…….the word “deserve” has arrisen again, does he DESERVE the championship? Maybe not DESERVE, but he might EARN it !!!!

  12. Hamilton is not the only driver in Q3 who leaves the HOT lap for last attempt … Basic physics, the car is lighter on fuel … They do not have 15 minutes to produce the HOT lap… They have big part of the 15 minutes to burn the fuel. That is what the “race fuel” qualifying is unfortunatelly about …

  13. Once you leave behing the irrational, the unsubstantiated (or ustantiatable), and the downright wrong (on all sides) what are you actually left with?

    The problem with many of the points made over the season is that they are closer to religion then fact.

    A lot of people look at Hamilton’s driving behind the safety car and say he was driving badly and should have been punished, based on a you tube video. When their, largely uninformed view, is discredited by people in a position to make that kind of decision then it becomes a conspiracy against Alonso.

    I use this not to make a point against Alonso fans, all sides are guilty of this kind of thinking, but to address a point, in particular that without knowledge that few fans are every able to get, most of the arguements for any drivers are simply unprovable opinion.

    Apparently Alonso has more passion, feels it more strongly when he wins, and so deserves to win? Really? Says who?

    We are told that Kimi loves to party and never stops talking when he isn’t in public; surely proof that what you see of a driver on screen isn’t necessarily who that driver is.

    Who are any of us to say who feels it more? Even if that were a reason to judge who deserves to win a sporting competition.

    Who should win? The person that gets the most points. The person who is most consistently good, the person who gets to the finish line first.

    On that basis then Hamilton is currently ahead, but Alonso isn’t far behind, and that, honestly, seems like as fair an assessment as any I have seen so far.

  14. Cheers Ollie! Nice to read you without having to shield my eyes from the pink

  15. @Number 38: I hope you see my jest in the post. I had to use a decent opening line to attract readers. ;-)

  16. @Number 38: Forgot to mention, I like the last line in your comment. Alonso my not deserve it but he could earn it. Nice line.

    @Kris: Only a couple more weeks then I’ll revert to the normal. :-)

  17. Ali AydoÄŸan
    16th October 2007, 15:02

    To Keith;
    Yes there is no evidence that LH is involved in spy-gate, and that is why I said
    “Personally I dont BELIEVE LH has a straight character”. It is my possibly biassed opinion that he lies. It may be true or not.

    I am looking forward to gear FA-DeLaRosa version of the story when they are free of McLaren contracts.

    And I still do not believe that two drivers and Coughlan were the only people who knew about Ferrari docs. Yes, no evidence again but, do you believe personally?

  18. Who should win asks Andrew and says the person who gets the most points is the answer.

    I agree with Keith, it should be wins that count and in that case Kimi should be in the lead.

  19. i dont think you can really say one driver deserves it each of them deserve it for different reasons and we can argue all day about it. the championship is 17 races long and i think that the 1 with the most points at the end of the season is deserving of the tittle. i think the only time you can really say a driver is behind on points is when one driver has far superior car and seems to not use that to its full potential.

    ferrari and mclaren are very evenly matched this year, 8 wins each, 8 poles each and basically in a season so close between four drivers it was always going to come down to the 1 who was most consistent, and that has been hamilton, he may not win it, but i dont think he’ll throw it away this time.

    i hope hamilton will win but if alonso does win it then you have to hand it to him hes done remarkably well to come back and do it. if kimi winds its a great comeback after the 1st half of the season.

    this season fans seem to be concentrating more on the drivers personalities than whats happening out on the track.

    whatever happens it should be a great race on sunday i cant wait

  20. i think the only time you can really say a driver is behind on points is when one driver has far superior car and seems to not use that to its full potential.

    i meant there that a driver has raced well all season in an inferior car against a driver who hasnt raced well in the superior car

  21. Ali AydoÄŸan said:

    I am looking forward to gear FA-DeLaRosa version of the story when they are free of McLaren contracts.

    And I still do not believe that two drivers and Coughlan were the only people who knew about Ferrari docs. Yes, no evidence again but, do you believe personally?

    I am the same opinion, I am looking forward to see who is the champion this year, but I am even more interested in hearing both Alonso and De la Rosa, because thay have talked nothing about it and everyone in Mc Laren has put **** on them as if they were guilty for everything that happened after.
    Im sure Everybody in Mc Laren’s direction staff knew it.

  22. It would seem to me that the main reason you feel he deserves it is because he shows the most emotion and passion when he wins. If that were the case, I think I should be awarded the championship, because I can guarantee you that if I won one of these bleeding races I’d show a helluva lot more emotion than all three of those pillocks put together.

    Plus I think that the one thing that this season has really cemented is the fact that if you want to win in Formula 1 you have to show some pretty unpleasant characteristics. When was the last time it could really have been called gentlemanly racing – or is that now completely beside the point? Win at all costs??? then frankly I hope Massa does the only decent thing and take out one of the maclarens and Tonio Liuzzi can take out the other one – what’s stopping it from becoming a destruction derby, just like the old days?

  23. @ Kieth(comment 6)
    About the unfairness of Alonso’s punishment… I acutally think it was unfair only because Lewis got away with it. Personally it was a team issue that Mc Laren needed to take care of. I understand the team penalty for the race(for not controlling their drivers) but Alonso should have been delt with by Mc Laren like Lewis! And FIA should worry about these things only if the team/driver complain to them about it. I am sure they have better business than to worry about who is doing what to his teammate.

    (comment 11)
    What has constantly been overlooked is the fact that there is huge probability that neither Pedro nor Alonso knew that they were breaking any laws. The info they recieved was from an engineer from thier very own team and not to mention a very senior member. It happens all the time in competition… that team is doing that lets try it out!

    Alonso had to produce the documents as it was the only legal thing to do. If you realize he did sit on them for a very long time and despite what people say about his talk with Dennis in Hungary, I feel it was an attempt by Alonso to split away from sharing his testing info before the race from his competitor (who was the first to put a nice little knife in his back a few hours back!)

    Chosing not to give the info might have led him to lose all his points as FIA might have got the info from Pedro or Colugan.

    About Lewis not being befitted! Well I am sure they planned to use tyres with the special gas in it only on Alonso’s car!

    Any development made by Alonso before qualification would directly be given gift wrapped to Lewis. There is no way you can make an argument that Alonso only benefited from the leaked info.

  24. There are only so many ways I can put it Haas – Hamilton didn’t ‘get away with’ anything because he didn’t break any rules.

    On the second point, the matter being discussed was whether Hamilton’s claim that he knew nothing about spygate was true. I still haven’t seen anything to suggest he knew anything about it.

  25. i am not a ferrari fan but i do respect kimi as adriver so if hamilton does not win its the first time ever in my 20yrs of watching f1 that i would not care if they won. I feel Alonso has let himself down this season its so sad what has been happening Get him back to renault and he will be the guy we all know and respect

  26. For commenter 6.

    What rule broke Alonso on hungaroring, as far as i Know, the box is the place where a driver has to be if he wants to stop his car and talk with his team in case he needed another tyres, even if he needs to blow his nose that´s THE place, Hamilton could run his lap with the tyres he got on, it´s not impossible, Alonso got used tyres and managed to pole. it was absolutely needed to change them? alonso showed a different thing if he preferred to stay behind alonso than go for a run with what he got at that moment is his fault.

  27. No, Alonso broke article 31.7 of the sporting regulations which reads:

    Any driver taking part in any practice session who, in the opinion of the stewards, stops unnecessarily on the circuit or unnecessarily impedes another driver shall be subject to the penalties referred to in article 31.6 [i.e. dropping the driver a certain number of grid positions].

    Whether Hamilton could have done his lap on used tyres is irrelevant because he was perfectly within his rights to expect to be able to pit and take on fresh tyres without being impeded by Alonso.

  28. Well if alanso wins or not we shall see on sunday – but whether he deserves it that is a different matter – I have never-ever heard of a fia offical being appointed to check what happens in a teams garage during a race – would he be guilty of having sensitive info??? – max mosley is a dictator – just like daddy wanted to be – we dont need this interference in a sport? – and alonso causd it when he threw his tantrum with ron dennis – he should leave F1 and think for a good long time on his return to F1 – if any team could trust him again that is – yes I am biased but then aren’t we all

  29. I don’t think FA deserves the title, but if he pulls it off in the final race my admiration will go out to him because it will be from a reasonably difficult situation. Even Alonso has made that clear, although he’s taking the Michael Schumacher attitude of last year, that it was over, after Fuji. All Alonso needs to happen is to win, and have Hamilton finish third, which in my opinion is quite a likely set of events, because the Ferraris should be fast and around the pace of the McLarens.

    Despite Alonso’s character flaws he has driven some excellent races this year, and been fundamentally fast at times, faster than Hamilton. Some people have claimed that he is an exciting driver to watch, but he’s too conservative in my opinion and has lost out in the first corner many times this season. I’m British so i’m naturally supporting Hamilton but in terms of skill I think Alonso is on par if not slightly ahead of Hamilton given his development and coming to grips with the car since the start of the season.

    The event of Kimi winning the world championship is quite likely too, all it takes is a Ferrari 1-2 with Hamilton retiring. So anything could happen. Essentially, Alonso is four points away from winning the title, and Raikkonen is three points away from Alonso. It’s not much.

  30. Alonso wil do anything to win(legal or illegal). As shown by his antics this year. UNSPORTING, and his behaviour this has let himself down tremendously – Did very well against Schummie but is a sore Champ on the rocks…lost all cred’ might get a fluke though – such is life!!

    Kimi is simply brilliant, with a bit of bad luck in his direction sadly, although the red team are doing a good job lately – Needs a lot to go his way – but would be a good Champion

    Hamilton is exceptional – since the beinining of F1 only Senna, Clarke , Moss, Fangio is in the same wow-league with Schummie close behind – For him to win will do our sport the world of good, as well as a deserved winner

  31. keith, i still find it very, very difficult to buy into only de la rosa and alonso knowing of the existence of the coughlin data. i agree there’s no e-trail going back to hamilton but, i find it hard to believe he didn’t know of the existence of the data. i don’t think he withheld anything, or i think he was smarter that the other two but,i don’t believe he was completely ignorant of what dennis almost certainly had to have been well aware of.

    anyway, this was the weaker of the arguments, probably because it delved way too much into the political issue. but, nice job, ollie. i read your blog, too.

  32. Respect comments (26 & 27). The article 31.7 says that. The Article 40.10 regulates driving when safety car is running.

    Alonso was punished with an unknown rule, Hamilton was not punished with a well known rule. All the drivers should to be punished with equal severity or equal flexibility. Maybe this season there is a new rule, “everybody will be punished except lewis hamilton”.

    There is too much discretionality in the way FIA determines the application of the rules. It should be improved.

  33. Alonso was also punished for impeding a driver last year during qualifying (at Monza, although I happen to think that particular punishment was unfair). Many other drivers have been punished for the same, including Fisichella in the same event as I mentioned earlier. It is not an ‘unknown rule’.

    Besides which we are talking about professional racing drivers. Alonso and Hamilton could probably recite the FIA Sporting Regulations chapter and verse before they got anywhere near an F1 car. It’s their job.

    Rather than keep addressing the doubts raised over Alonso and the rules in these comments I’m going to write a piece on it for tomorrow.

  34. Alonso Follower
    19th October 2007, 13:11

    I’ve a doubt regarding #27 quote of the regulations:

    Any driver taking part in any practice session who, in the opinion of the stewards, stops unnecessarily on the circuit or unnecessarily impedes another driver shall be subject to the penalties referred to in article 31.6 [i.e. dropping the driver a certain number of grid positions].

    Does the pit stop counts as “circuit”? Also, while the penalty was given to Alonso, he was just merely following the lollipop man indications, who, unless proven to be bribed by Alonso or something like that, just got it wrong.

    I’ve not seen any of this discussed, just a point.

  35. Yes I thought the same thing when I read that. As far as I can tell the regulations do not say the pit lane is not part of the track. When a car passes through the pit lane in a race the lap is counted, so it must be part of the track.

    Plus I think if there were an obvious way like this to get out of the penalty McLaren would have appealed!

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