Moss doubts women have “mental aptitude” for F1

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In the round-up: Stirling Moss says women lack the mental capacity to be F1 racers.


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Moss says women lack mentality for F1 (BBC)

“I think they have the strength, but I don’t know if they’ve got the mental aptitude to race hard, wheel-to-wheel.”

Can Women Compete in Formula 1? A Science Perspective (Badger GP)

“The world has moved on in its attitudes to women, and people in F1 circles, for example Sir Stirling, have not. I note that Bernie Ecclestone’s comments in the article were less sexist than those he’s made before, but they still leave a lot to be desired in fostering an environment where women are seen as equals.”

Bahrain blasts stoke fears before F1 race (FT, registration required)

A series of explosions in Bahrain has raised security fears ahead of the kingdom’s premier international sporting event, the F1 Grand Prix motor race, scheduled for this weekend.

Bahrain Grand Prix is on, insists Bernie Ecclestone (The Independent)

“What’s happened? They’re demonstrating now? I didn’t know that. There’s nobody demonstrating.”

Perez told to ‘toughen up’ (ESPN)

Martin Whitmarsh: “He’s been very polite so far this year. He needs to toughen up. He’s been generous in allowing people past him. I told him: ‘You have to be out there racing’. That means sometimes you have got to use elbows and you have got to be robust without being dirty.”

Lotus downplays Raikkonen Red Bull talk (Autosport)

Lotus owner Gerard Lopez: “Kimi’s position is going to be based on a bunch of things and not on what Red Bull say – I think they have their hands full right now.”

Tyres need to be tougher, say some team bosses (Reuters)

Martin Whitmarsh: “I would like more durable tyres that we can absolutely attack on flat out.”

Christian Horner: “A quick car abuses the tyres more…” (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“I think we’re seeing that qualifying is paying less of a premium than trying to preserve the tyres. Our car performs very, very well, it’s a quick car, but a quick car abuses the tyre more, and the tyres can’t cope with that.”

Fernando’s masterclass (Sky)

Martin Brundle: “The Red Bull team are reigning triple world champions, they are unsurprisingly a fiercely professional and dedicated bunch, they get sizeable end of season bonuses based on the constructors’ championship position, does anybody really think that Webber’s problems were somehow intentional? Come on.”

Will Bernie buy the Long Beach GP? (MotorSport)

“IndyCar’s agreement with Long Beach expires next year and there are rumors that Bernie Ecclestone, Zak Brown and Long Beach founder Chris Pook are attempting to buy the contract.”


Comment of the day

Great work by @Andae23 on more Chinese Grand Prix stats:

We have had five different winners in the last five races, which is the 55th time this has occurred in history.

More remarkable is that these five drivers (Hamilton, Button, Raikkonen, Vettel and Alonso) are all world champions. This is only the third time this has ever occurred: the other occasions were in 1977 (Jones, Lauda, Andretti, Hunt and Scheckter) and 1985-1986 (Mansell, Rosberg, Piquet, Senna and Prost).

Note that at the time, Scheckter, Andretti, Jones, Mansell and Senna were not world champions, meaning that the 2013 Chinese GP has a first!

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to AndrewTanner, SoLiD, BraddersF1 and RumFRESH!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

These four all share their birthday with Paul di Resta who is 27 today.

Image © Williams/LAT

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141 comments on “Moss doubts women have “mental aptitude” for F1”

  1. JPQuesado (@joao-pedro-cq)
    16th April 2013, 0:06

    With all due respect to him, I doubt Sir Stirling Moss has the “mental aptitude” to comment on anything right now.

    1. I think that’s a little harsh. I’m a big fan of Moss, so find his comments pretty disappointing myself.

      1. Even sadder, he’s not the only person in motorsport that thinks this. Just one of the most high-profile people.

        1. Unfortunately, I think that his comments are largely a product of his generation- not that that’s a good excuse.

          1. If you look into the history of motor racing I think you might find that there were actually more lady racers in the early days than there were 10 years ago. The situation has improved of late, but between the wars there were quite a few quick women in Europe. Moss would know this! Maybe he is referring to the women of today… but it doesn’t read like that.

            Between the wars women like Elizabeth Junek, Camile Du Gast, Odette Siko, Madame Mareuse, Susan Largeot, Anne Itier, Helle Nice, competed very well in some tough events like Le Mans for instance. Some of these women were known for being aggressive on track. It was after WW2 that a cultural shift occurred dissuading women from motor racing.

    2. Kate Walker has the definitive word over on espn:

      But at least I can identify whether or not an elevator is in place before I elect to step into an empty lift shaft.

      Sorry, too harsh? I know we have to make allowances for the elderly.

      1. Thanks for the link @hairs

        Time is a harsh mistress, and eventually she makes fools of us all. But as that oft-quoted proverb says, it is far better to keep your mouth shut and be presumed a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

    3. maybe…just maybe, he’s right. Sure you could say the fact that there hasnt been a decent women to to try F1 in history is not a reflection of a woman’s ability to succeed in F1 as it was always a bigger hurdle, mens sport etc but imo F1 is ready (and has been ready) for its first succesful woman driver…it would be a massive coup for the show, for the team…surely there would be no shortage of backing? but why isnt it happening though? why isnt there a Danica Patrick in F1 proving all the Stirling Moss’s of the world wrong? Is Susie Wolff the best that woman have to offer? I dont think she’s at Williams on her driving merits but more on Toto’s merits..

      1. Because not as many girls get into karting. There are less women in motorsport in the first place, which means the odds of one being good enough to race in F1 (on merit at least) is quite slim.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          16th April 2013, 9:57

          @matt90 That’s exactly the reason. I karted for over 10 years every other week and I must have only raced against a handful of women. Certainly no more than 10 and probably not even that.

          I wonder if part of the issue is motorsport being quite a physical sport? That’s not to say that women can’t cope – just that when you start, you’re usually quite young and perhaps most young girls lack the natural physical strength that boys have as a child? Obviously you can train and get in a position where you can compete, but 12 year old girls aren’t going to hit the gym in order to find extra 10ths around the kart track.

          Whatever the reasons, if you look through any karting results available on most karting club websites, you’ll be lucky across all classes to find more than 2 or 3 women competing amongst hundreds of men.

          1. Girls are pretty much equal in strength to boys until boys start to mature at around 11 or 12. Strength difference is less of an issue for the youngest competitors than it is for the older ones.

            Socialisation on the other hand is strongest at young ages. Sure, when girls get older we tell them they can be whatever they want to be, but that’s only after we’ve dressed boys and girls differently in different colours, given them different haircuts, given them different toys, and introduced them to different sports! Society does it’s best to try and compensate for the fact the sexes are most similar physically when they are younger.

      2. The same reasons many men don’t, only worse. Anthony Hamilton ‘famously’ had three jobs to support Lewis’s career, how many parents would be so supportive and dedicated for their daughter, especially if they thought they didn’t think they had a cat in hell’s chance of getting anywhere. They wouldn’t.

        Red Bull have recently signed a woman into their Junior Program, so let’s see.

        The idea that women don’t have the mental aptitude is not just stupid and old-fashioned, it’s downright offensive.

        1. The idea that women don’t have the mental aptitude is not just stupid and old-fashioned, it’s downright offensive.

          offensive? why? how has his belief offended you? in stating ‘women generally tend to have a reduced sense of spatial perception when compared with men’ are researchers becoming offensive and sexist with such an observation?…or are we being a tad touchy-feely with any research in view that differentiates the sexes? should a statement such as ‘more females are going on to further education in univeristies’ be equally sexist and offensive to males ?

          1. Tell me which tasks you think men don’t have the mental aptitude for, and then maybe we’ll talk. (Feel free to cite sources from scientific literature.)

          2. The @me262 was never made for a dogfight but Jono seems game for 1. I agree, women in F1 should not be sacred cows, I have no doubt that many women could be excellent racing drivers if they wanted to be, but the fact is Danica is the most successful of very few current female drivers, maybe part of the reason is that girls aren’t attracted to F1 because they understand how anti-social the job is. Stirling is in a position to comment as his sister was a successful rally driver, I imagine they discussed racing occassionally.

          3. petebaldwin (@)
            16th April 2013, 12:04

            @me262 – There’s a big difference between what you’re saying and what Stirling Moss is saying. You are stating that based on scientific information “women generally tend to have a reduced sense of spatial perception when compared with men.” Fair enough.

            Stirling Moss is saying that he doesn’t think that women have the “the mental aptitude to race hard, wheel-to-wheel.”

            It may (or may not) be true that in general, men have more of the attributes needed to comete in F1 than women but it’s not the case across the board. All people are different and some women will be as good at racing as the very best male drivers.

            Danica Patrick has shown that females can win races in top series as has Sabine Schmitz – I challenge anyone to try and beat her around the Nurburgring!

          4. Because it’s completely and utterly wrong, that’s why, not to mention completely insulting.

            A couple of years ago someone named Captain Lisa Head died in service in Afghanistan. She’d been through Sandhurst and was a bomb disposal expert. She was sadly killed in the line of duty. She had the mental aptitude to go through Sandhurst, become a bomb disposal expert, and then go on active duty, risking life and limb, and sadly losing it.

            I feel I have to point this stuff out as people seem to forget that women like her, whether they be bomb disposal experts, fighter pilots etc., risk their lives day in day out in extremely hostile environments. I’m sure F1 is child’s play in comparison.

          5. @aka_robyn they say females have improved peripheral vision…I can vouch for that, my girlfriend and mum always seem to have eyes in the back of their head

        2. Michèle Mouton would like to have words with you regarding excellent female drivers. She’s famous for group B rallying when it was so much harder than F1. Never needed to play on her looks in a much more sexist time just got in and drove the wheels off.

          1. A female will come along in F1. She’ll need to be fast, rich and have contacts; but it will happen

      3. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        16th April 2013, 1:12

        Probably this is more about job preferences. There are sports more usually liked to be practiced by a gender (and this is not sexism, it’s just a fact). Take into account I’m saying “to be practiced” (there must be equal or similar amount of male or female fans in F1)
        But probably having a picture of Susie Wolff doesn’t help the idea of “success” for girls in F1. It’s like pasting a photo of Gary Paffett to mention success in F1. Its not the case for them.
        I know there are no women racing in F1 but there are some good examples of success or at least good results in other categories. Danica Patrick, Sarah Fisher, Milka the venezuelan racer, among others.

      4. Just read the article below that from BadgerGP, and you will see Moss’ opinion shown up as false proven by science @me262

    4. The assumption that men and women are equal is preposterous. By looking at a man and a woman, you can see many external differences, and we all know that there are many internal differences as well. That the brain functions in a different way would not be a big surprise, taking into account the ‘original purposes’ of men and women (hunting/gathering and raising children). If men and women are equal, why don’t we have mixed fighting on UFC, tennis competitions, football matches, etc etc etc. It seems quite obvious to me that each gender has advantages and disadvantages for each purpose. I don’t know how big the difference is in spatial perception, reflexes and endurance for motor-racing, but I am sure ‘equal’ is the wrong adjective when comparing men and women. I see nothing wrong with Sir Stirling Moss wondering if there are many women that have the very specific mindset it takes to be a successful F1 champion.

      1. What @flig said:

        I see nothing wrong with Sir Stirling Moss wondering if there are many women that have the very specific mindset it takes to be a successful F1 champion.

        What Stirling Moss said:

        I just don’t think they have aptitude to win a Formula 1 race.

        A bit of a difference between what was said. It is probably difficult for some men in the age group of Stirling Moss to accept women doing a lot of the things they do in the modern world. I agree with you that men and women are not equal in all ways, and that’s just fine. Equality in opportunity is a different matter. It could be said that not all male race car drivers are equal either. Many males lack the proper skills to pilot an F1 race car.

        If a driver comes along with the right skills, experience and desire, it won’t matter if she is a woman.

      2. agree but may not be in this centenary but I still believe all it would take is the right woman with the right conditioning to be a world champion (much the same as a man). all the doubts, theories and conjecture will continue to offend many people until it happens. Controversial beliefs from Sir Stirling Moss that certainly gets people talking… but not offensive at least for me

        1. I still believe all it would take is the right woman with the right conditioning to be a world champion (much the same as a man)

          That is right @me262

          1. @bascb

            well I would be inclined to think it more a belief or an opinion rather than a right or a wrong at this stage

      3. The only other well known sport where men and women compete on equal terms is horse riding, it’s also about riding/piloting something, and if you look at the Olympics you’ll see that performances are pretty equal.

        Yes there are differences, but difference doesn’t mean inequality. Sometimes the performance differential isn’t what you expect. For instance, which sports would you expect women to come out on top in? Turns out it’s endurance swimming and free diving (for depth).

    5. Someday the right racer who happens to be a woman will come along and put this notion to rest. What about all the male racers who try and never make to F1? At least they never had the additional hurdle to jump over of being female with so many people telling them it would be impossible just because you are the wrong sex.

      Skill, determination, experience, confidence, starting young in karting and being in the right place at the right time are much more important than gender.

      Sadly, not so long ago *some* people had similar attitudes toward black drivers in F1. Thankfully, clearer minds prevailed.

      Skills, talent and winning trumps all else in racing. When the right racer comes along, it won’t matter that she is a woman.

      1. @bullmello On that note, I find it curious that NASCAR already has a competitive female driver, but is struggling to find a competitive driver of color (unless you count Montoya here). On the other hand, F1 already has a world champion who happens to be of color (and will probably end up as one of the greats), but is struggling to find a competitive female driver.

        Not criticizing one or the other here, just finding it curious.

        1. some say its a hurdle and im sure at first it can be. But once you are established i dont think it is. A female race is a huge marketing tool. Susie has had an hour long programme about her season DTM and test for williams. Thats great for the her sponsors. Not bad for someone that only had 4 points in 6 years.

          If you were one of the higher up drivers in that series you might feel a little put out by that.

        2. @journeyer – Good observations. It is kind of curious and will probably change over time. I think Danica Patrick could drive as well as some of the current drivers in F1. Just my opinion, I don’t think she would be at the front of the grid. I don’t blame her for her career choices now though. I would rather see her, or Montoya for that matter, in open wheel racing, but NASCAR is likely better for their long term careers.

      2. Actually it will matter, but in a good way, it will create excitement to see a woman that fits the racer description, it will happen someday. But everything you said is right, I agree not take positions on this irrelevant point and consider options openly, if it happens, let it. I will be there to watch.

    6. To be fair, Moss does not say that women don’t have the mental aptitude – only that he doesn’t know if they have it. And the only way to know for sure is to put women in Formula 1 cars to find out. So I don’t think Moss is being sexist; that one is on the journalist who dumbed his comments down for the sake of a headline.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys If Moss believed they did he would have said “I think they have the strength, and I know they’ve got the mental aptitude to race hard, wheel-to-wheel.”

        But he said “I don’t know if they’ve got the mental aptitude” which shows he doesn’t think they do. You can’t blame this one on sensationalising media.

        1. To be fair though @keithcollantine saying you dont know one fact to be true does not mean its false.

          e.g. “I dont know if god exists” is not the same as “god does not exist”.

          I feel a bit for Moss here. His statement may be ill advised granted but I think people are reading it how they want to read (emotionally) it rarther than in a literal (logical) sense.

        2. @keithcollantine – I’d prefer to take Moss’s comments at face value for now, because I don’t think you can reasonably assess a driver’s mental aptitude in Formula 1 until they are actually in Formula 1. There are plenty of drivers in Formula 1 even as we speak who lack that aptitude themselves; just because they’re in Formula 1, that doesn’t mean they have it. Case in point, Esteban Gutierrez. His mistake in Shanghai was hardly representative of a driver who has a strong mental aptitude for racing wheel to wheel.

          1. @nickthegeek @prisoner-monkeys Moss is suggesting – quite literally – that women may be too mentally deficient to be racing drivers. To entertain that as a serious proposition is insulting towards women. This is why the comments have drawn the criticism they have, not because they have been taken out of context, which they haven’t.

          2. Its a topic that we could have an in depth and scientific musing about however I can’t help but feel the PC flags are being waved a bit here. I just feel if I said something like “We need to understand and accept that men and women use completely different parts of the brains for processing geospatial data (i.e. Driving)” it would be considered sexist. In reality this is a cold hard scientific fact. When navigating through space womens brains use known event ques to trigger action due to the part of the brain that is used to solve navigation. Mens brains however work in a completely different way that uses something that could be described as a geospatial model. One could argue that an event driven navigation system in the a female brain is less apt to racing due to the unknown evens (i.e. car positions) than a male that has said geospatial representation of the world. If in reality this means womens brains cannot, in general, compete with means we dont know until we see significant evedence to the contary.

          3. A few things:
            1. “in general” are THE 2 words that Moss should have used. He would have been simply correct.
            2. Since when is it an insult to say that someone lacks the mental capacity to be a F1 winner? :-)
            3. So far, not 1 woman has ever proven Moss wrong. So statistically, he is correct.

            Being 83 doesn’t give you a free pass to state whatever you want, but calling this “insulting” is exaggerated as well. I think all he said about this topic in the interview, made it very clear that he never had any intention to insult anyone. He likes women in F1, he always has, he just doesn’t think (from what he saw himself) that they are entirely capable to it. As are not all current male drivers in my opinion, but that’s another disussion.
            I think everyone is reading into this too much. 83-year old

          4. @prisoner-monkeys, I have to support you here, sorry Keith, but Stirling was speculating, no doubt in response to a question, he was not attacking women per se.

          5. @nickthegeek

            I doubt any suggestion that woman can not physically drive an F1 car at competitive levels is utter bull. Not only that, but that you even entertain the notion is disturbing. (I say physically because that’s what you are talking about, the physical structure of a females brain).

            Circumstance and culture are to blame for a woman in F1, nothing else.

          6. I think what women really lack in the case of racing F1 is desire. I don’t know the real numbers, but for every 1000 boys getting into karting or racing of any kind, there is probably 1 girl doing the same. That 1 girl probably has the desire and the aptitude to achieve anything a man can in F1, but the odds of her getting there are already a 1000 to 1.

          7. Well I guess that Moss has never heard of Michele Mouton. She had more guts than many of the current F1 drivers during an era when racing was 10x more dangerous than today

    7. Personally, I think there are 2 points in play here.

      Firstly, Sir Moss is from a different generation. My grandparents have trouble understanding many “new” concepts. One of these is why a woman would not want to get married and stay at home raising children. Although not a complete excuse, it does help to explain his comments.

      Secondly, I doubt he meant to say that women are “mentally deficient”. It is pretty well known that in general women are less competitive (that’s the wrong word, but I can’t think of a better one) than men. Men in general try to be the alpha, the dominant person, the top dog. This is a necessary quality for a racing driver. I say in general because there are always exceptions, nobody fits a stereotype. I, for example, am not normally competitive, whereas my girlfriend is. The point is that, because this means there are probably less competitive women, there is a smaller chance of one making it to F1.

      Personally, I can’t wait to see a successful female F1 driver. I could see it bringing a whole new side to the sport, as well as more spectators. I could also see one successful female F1 driver bringing more women into motorsport (as girls see that it is something they can aspire to).

      But Sir Moss’ comments should be taken with a more understanding view. Yes, he is probably a dinosaur in his views on this, but so are many people his age. Chuckle at him, don’t call for a lynch mob!

      1. @Mike – this is what I mean about people arguing from an emotional mindset on this. I never said at any point that women COULDNT drive an f1 car at competitve levels. What I said was their brains and the way that they interpret space is different and possibly meaning they are less adapted to the task in question. This doesnt mean they cant. One could argue that a man with a certain frame is at a disadvatage when running a marathon compared to another with a smaller frame but that doesnt mean in anyway that the bigger guy cannot win.

        Would you be upset by a statement like “a top male tennis player will most likely beat a top female one” or “A top male cyclist would beat a top female one” no you wouldnt. Its the same thing physical differences between the sexes. One is acceptable as a theory the other is not.

        I dont get all offended that women in general have brains that are far better with linguistic skills. Thats a medical fact – fine, done, ok… move on.

        1. @nickthegeek

          This is what I mean about people making ridiculous assertions and using strawman arguments.

          The human brain, is far to complicated for us to be able to say, “Woman aren’t built for racing because brains.” You just can’t make that assertion, unless, you can demonstrate it. The woman interpret space thing is rubbish, not because it doesn’t exist but because it’s irrelevant to what we are talking about. It’s related to being able to interpret objects from different perspectives. That’s not required in a racing car.

          I’m not going to be upset by your assertion that some male athletes will out perform female ones, because, what you have said there isn’t about brain structure. It’s muscle and bone structure that causes that. And that’s a reality brought about by evolution. And that’s a strawman argument.

          If getting emotional is thinking that you are making things up as you go, then yes. I feel very much that way. Because I don’t think a female is any less capable than a male in terms of driving a car based on inbuilt obstacles. Or at least, if there are any, they are so miniscule in terms of what prevents woman from getting into F1 compared to all the other issues that it doesn’t matter in the slightest.

          1. This is what I mean about people making ridiculous assertions and using strawman arguments.

            In case that is directed at me, I am not.

            It is a know fact that, just as average male and female bodies are different, so are their brains. For example, men tend to be better at focusing on a single activity, whereas women tend to be better at multitasking. As I also stated, men tend to be more competitive than women.

            This does not mean that these are hard and fast rules. Not all women are less competitive, and not all women are better at multitasking, than all men. These are just generalizations which work well for an average member of each sex. As with all generalizations, they should not be treated as rules. They are not much better than stereotypes.

            I am definitely not saying that women cannot be F1 drivers. However, even putting aside social constraints, I think men have a slight advantage, purely down to statistics. If there are more ultra-competitive men than women, there is more chance of a man being successful in F1 than a woman (or in any sport). When you bring in social parameters (little girls get dolls to play with, little boys get toy cars), things are even more stacked against them. A young boy is much more likely to want to be a racing driver than a young girl. I also don’t doubt that racing is a boys club, and a female will have to work harder than a male to prove themselves and be accepted.

            Even pointing out successful female drivers doesn’t go against this logic. There are so few of them that we all know them.

            As I have stated many times, these are generalizations. Eventually the right woman will enter F1 and be successful. I just think the odds are stacked against them.

    8. Wether Susie Wolff is a woman or not, she has done absolutely nothing in lower formula and/or other racing categories to suggest she deserves a shot in F1.
      F1 one doesn’t need a female driver, a black driver, a disabled driver, a working-class driver or whatever. It needs the BEST drivers, simple as that. Whoever they are.

    9. I don’t get all the fuss.
      First of all, I really doubt that woman are in fact capable of competing with men on the same level, as far as F1 goes. Doing so would require the same level of physical endurance, strenght, and so on. But I would be glad to be proven wrong.
      Second, if woman ARE indeed as capable as man in racing, let’s just let them race, no handicap, no patronising. Let the best win, afterall, that’s what racing means!
      Third, by patronising them, an issue similar to pay-drivers robbing places of talented drivers would be created. Take Susie Wolff, for instance, what, in her career as a racing driver, justifies her place as Williams’ test driver? A personal best 13th place in DTM? Is that it?
      In short, let them come to F1, but only if they represent a talent income, and not just for the sake of the brain washing sexual equality agenda and the publicity it brings.

  2. Regarding tyres: Doesn’t see to have been picked up by much media but Pirelli have changed the compounds for Bahrain from soft/hard to medium/hard. Guessing it’s a reaction to what has been happening in rounds 1-3

      1. Marca Spain is reporting the same

    1. They have repeatedly denied it.

    2. Yes, Pirelli finally acknowledges that they’re 2013 softs are too fragile for racing. Many fans don’t like it, drivers don’t like it, teams don’t like it…

      Those softs should be gone for good.

  3. its-not-the-fifties
    16th April 2013, 0:10

    “I think they have the strength, but I don’t know if they’ve got the mental aptitude to race hard, wheel-to-wheel.”

    Considering that racing today in cerebral tyre saving and not going full pelt I think that the ladies would leave the lads for dust.

  4. There’s a great racing facility not far from Sakhir in a country that isn’t trampling over its people and is investing money and sponsorship into sport (WRC, 2022 World Cup, etc.), and MotoGP just had a very good race there. I’d switch Bahrain for Qatar (or Dubai) if I was Bernie and I still wanted a lucrative race in the Middle East. Just get the hell out of there until things change.

    1. I’ve never followed MotoGP that much, but looking at the Losail circuit the idea of having a F1 Grand Prix there quite appeals to me. It seems like a flowing circuit, different from the new so called “Tilkedromes”, and could probably promote better racing than the Sahkir one.

    2. Zantkiller (@)
      16th April 2013, 3:30

      What, you mean lovely Qatar?
      The same Qatar which is using slave labor camps to build the stadiums for a World Cup they shouldn’t have won?

      Why don’t we just get the hell out of that whole area and just have a race in Europe instead?

      1. more races in south america IMO

  5. He’s afraid that Red Bull young driver Beitske Visser will win a championship in F1 and he’ll be left with none.

    1. He would still be the best gentleMAN not to win … :-) @wsrgo

      1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        16th April 2013, 16:37

        Gentlemen don’t insult ladies he’s lost that epitaph in my opinion.

        He’s effectivly said women are the same as him after he had brain damage.

  6. Well there you have it… if Bernie isn’t aware of a protest happening, then it didn’t happen.

    1. He asked this man he recently spoke to who said everything was ok, eh. Everything fine, nothing to see here. I wouldn’t even be surprised to see him mention how Bahrain is safer than sports events in the US currently.
      Interestingly when you look at what he actually says, its pretty clear to me that he is all too aware of the situation (“i did not know that”, “I believe” – nothing you could pin him down on) @us_peter

  7. its-not-the-fifties
    16th April 2013, 0:24

    Watch this an tell me that Women cant push the envelope behind the wheel.

  8. Isn’t that a U turn from Martin Whitmarsh? I thought he liked suprprises, wanted challenge.

    1. It isn’t that much of a U turn as he is still living it! And what a challenge!

    2. At least we know who to blame next time Pérez crashes :)

    3. Do you remember the podium interview, Coulthard to FA and KR, “what were you 2 talking about just then” FA guiltily “nothing” KR trying to escape ” Er, no, nothing, just about the tyres” Coulthard “Oh” changes subject.
      Yes no doubt everyone has been warned not to say nasty things about Pirelli’s tyres but it’s past a joke and rebellion is in the air, suddenly even those people who would welcome any means of shuffling the winners around are beginning to realise that it is ruining the racing and even the novelty of having a Caterham on the podium would just be silly and not real racing and even more boring than seeing 1 driver winning most races in a hard fought series.

      1. Maybe he just wanted to avoid a subject we have all grown “tyred” of @hohum!

        For me the tyres were pretty ok this race. They did give us a mixed grid. And used at the right time, we got to see a pushing Button and Vettel taking everything out of them. DRS did more to hurt the racing this weekend IMO, although it was nice to see some outsmarting it (Alonso of note)

        Seriously, I am pretty sure the media did get instructions to keep Pirelli out of the firing line. And I even think its good, because with the FIA not even having started to tender tyres for next year, and them the only one even showing real interest in taking it, we could well have Bernie looking at branded AVON tyres again for next year soon!

      2. @hohum I personally thought Alonso was pointing out Coulthard’s gaffe(that Lewis was Mercedes’s first polesitter since Stirling Moss) to Raikkonen…

        1. @wrsgo didn’t he say first British pole-sitter? Which is true.

          1. No, that’s what he meant to say, and did say on the Saturday. On Sunday he left out ‘British’ at least twice, one in commentary and once on the podium.

    4. @crr917, I agree, I remember Whitmarsh asking for tyres that would give our engineers a headache, or something. A more problematic point is this:

      I prefer it when Formula One is a sprint from stop to stop. I’d much rather, from a personal perspective, where you have tyres and you pull out and go for it flat out. Then, when they are worn out, you jump on another set and go flat out.

      I think we would all like to see that, but I think it will be very hard to design tyres like that. Drivers wouldn’t push the tyres and jump in for another set, but rather they would manage them to ensure that they wouldn’t need to come in for a fresh set of tyres. Even last year we saw drivers manage half race distances on the medium tyres. The only way in which I see drivers really pushing the tyres is if refuelling is re-introduced (but that had its own problems) or if tyres are so hard that no matter what you do to them, their performance doesn’t change.

  9. It’s a shame about Moss’ comments, as with everyone who doubts women can succeed.

    We are slowly seeing more and more females come into the sport, and a few over the last decade have not been too bad. Danica Patrick was solid if unspectacular, but she was still able to beat a lot of people on her day. She also won a race before heading to NASCAR, where she already has a pole position there. Simona De Silvestro is also incredibly good, and she’s one that has been tipped to do well this season in IndyCar. There were two drivers in GP3 last season also. There are women drivers about, though none of them have had success at the highest level. There’s nothing that I can see which says they cannot succeed however. I think it would be great to see a women on the F1 grid, on merit, as oppose to having a larger amount of money than someone more talented. I very highly doubt Wolff will find a race seat (her CV isn’t exactly great). I do hope the increasing number of women in important roles in the sport will spark more interest too.

    I don’t think any stereotypical things should have any impact on whether a certain type of person should or should not succeed in anything. You may sometimes find that people may follow the stereotype, especially nationality (Scandinavians can be ice cool and Latin Americans can be hot headed for example) but every now and then someone comes along who bucks the trend, and I feel this is bound to occur sooner or later for a woman who just so happens to be incredibly talented at motor racing.

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      16th April 2013, 1:29

      Scandinavians can be ice cool and Latin Americans can be hot headed for example)

      And we are not talking about Kimi or Maldonado of course!!! :P

    2. There were two drivers in GP3 last season also

      Three, although if you were missing out Carmen Jorda, it is a good thing.

    3. The Scandinavians-are-ice-cool “stereotype” is a bit funny, considering the early Scandinavians (Peterson, Rosberg) weren’t ice-cool at all! :)

  10. Oh dear Sir Stirling…why attract unnecessary criticism.

    To be honest, this whole women in F1 thing is getting rather stale now. If a woman is good enough to get into F1, then she will. This cant be far away. Its a matter of percentage here. Every boy that starts karting at age 6 doesnt end up in F1 now do they? Its probably a minute percentage of the overall total that actually make it. How many girls go racing? Im sure its a fraction of the number of boys.

    As the number of girls in the motorsport pipleline increases, the chances of one of them getting to F1 will improve. I have no doubt that women can race in F1..its set of skills that can be learned, just like anything else. Physical fitness can be attained as well.

    If I was a team owner, if there was a woman racer who could compete at midfield level in F1, I would be all over to try and sign her…as she would be a sponsorship gold mine…and it posses a win win situation for everybody. At a time when F1 is bereft of sponsorship, nobody has tried this, is because there isnt a woman driver out there who’s good enough?

    1. My sister started loosing interest when we moved into a higher category on soft tyres, where fitness become an essential part. I think on average in [b]our culture[/b] you will have way more boys giving it a chance and for girls it will take more passion and dedication to reach level where they can recognise that they actually very good at this.

    2. @jaymenon10 Pretty much close to my thoughts on the issue.

      There is no reason why females can’t do anything that males do, maybe with the exception of writing their name in the snow… although I have been told that some women can do that too…

      I saw 2 women at Ikea the other day buying flat pack furniture, loading the equipment onto the trolleys themselves and they had no issue with it, maybe Sir Stirling Moss should step into the real world and open his eyes to the changes that have taken place.

  11. It’s only a matter of time before a member of the fairer sex comes along and can dice with the best, when that happens she will be come the highest paid F1 driver ever.
    Sorry Stirling, you may want to research some of the pioneering American aviatrices.; )

    1. It’s only a matter of time before a member of the fairer sex comes along and can dice with the best, when that happens she will be come the highest paid F1 driver ever.

      @budchekov – if that was true, she’d already be in F1. There isn’t even a plausible candidate in development somewhere.

      1. There isn’t even a plausible candidate in development somewhere.

        Wrong @joepa – just look at Beitske Visser signed on to the RB young driver program 2 weeks back, then we have Alice Powell who could well have what it takes, as well as a couple of others who are certainly as likely to make it as some of the boys in feeder series.

  12. Moss’ mistake was to generalise, I do believe that what he’s saying is true for the majority, but as always there are exceptions.

  13. Hmmm, I’ll stay away from this argument, thank you very much.

  14. So I take it Stirling is sleeping on the couch tonight haha (is he even married?). Anyway I wonder what his late sister, an accomplished racer herself, would think of his comments.

    1. To be fair, he was talking purely about wheel-to-wheel racing, whereas his sister competed in rally. One alternative is that he didn’t convey his meaning properly. It sounds to me like he could easily have meant that he doubts women could be so resilient and cut-throat during hard racing, rather than that he doesn’t think their little brains could cope.

  15. Moss was a great driver and still seems to be a nice man but he is also a dinosaur.

    In order for a remarkable talent to emerge there must first be a large enough talent pool. Clearly we have enough male drivers for chance to bless us with the greats of the sport. A comparable female talent will not arise until female drivers becomes the norm.

    As things are now, F1 is still a boys club and this serves as a deterrent and a hindrance to talented ambitious women. To facilitate the emergence of great female talent in the modern era it may be necessary to force certain drivers through to blaze a trail for others to follow. You don’t have to like it but if you’re serious about having female drivers then it needs to happen.

    Now please zip it Stirling.

    1. it may be necessary to force certain drivers through to blaze a trail for others to follow. You don’t have to like it but if you’re serious about having female drivers then it needs to happen.

      @spawinte – this is exactly what shouldn’t happen! the notion of reverse gender-discrimination against sufficiently talented male drivers, who would be prevented from entering F1 in order to “force” an otherwise unqualified female driver into a seat, is repugnant. If there is to be a woman in F1 she should be there on talent and merit alone. I can’t imagine what unqualified girl driver would want to be the affirmative action baby in your case anyway, knowing that she didn’t deserve the seat she had and wasn’t qualified to be on the grid but for her vagina.


      1. Haven’t you seen all the undeserving male drivers paying for F1 seats in the last few years basically forcing themselves into the sport? What difference would it make if it’s an undeserving female driver? Your logic doesn’t stand up. At least with undeserving female drivers we would be making some sort of forward progress.

      2. “she should be there on talent and merit alone”

        How unfair is that? Does the term “paydrivers” ring any bells? Not all male drivers made the F1 grid on talent and merit alone, so don’t expect the next woman to do that.

        Of course we hope for a Louise Hamilton or Michaela Schumacher. But being a little more realistic, the next woman in F1 will most likely be a “paydriver”. Or at least, may need to present decent financial backing to persuade a team to hire her.

        But once that ice is broken…

  16. High five to @Andae23 for the excellent COTD ;)

    1. Haha, thanks Matt!
      Thanks for COTD Keith :)

  17. EVEN IF the generalization was okay, then it also works on men. Mentallity is very specific to each person.

    Give them the same oportunities and see how many fail in their way. Women have suffered a lot over years and years, and they still do, trying to be treated as equals, just for a dinasaur say such thing. It’s forcing them 20 years into the past…

    It’s hard to be “mentally strong” if women have a lot harder than men… chances are not the same, and there’s always the constant, and tedious, sexism towards them. They got to be pretty, they got to be fast, they have to be femenine, but also manly… they have to be everything, together, and they don’t even let them try.

    BTW, I think Moss’ comments are not as harsh as, say, Bernie’s. Maybe people are reacting like this because he’s (or was, depends) a likeable character… but Bernie’s words, right now, are a lot more painful, and are not criticized enough (or at all) by the mainstream media. It’s just the “good old Bernie saying all that smelly stuff again”… it shouldn’t be like that.

  18. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    16th April 2013, 3:52

    Looks like Horner wants to change the way Pirelli is making the tyres, as well as Martin, but the problem is that red Bull, struggling or not, have already won a race with the “bad tyres” and that leaves them without a solid argument to fight with.

    1. Where does Horner say that? In the article he just states this as a fact and that they have to work around the problem.

    2. Maybe they should look at Buttons experience there, finding he could push the tyres far more than he actually thought he could have before changing them @omarr-pepper

    3. This is such a stupid point, sorry to say that.
      Red Bull won a race in which Alonso got himself out of the race by a stupid mistake, Mercedes struggled with themselves and Kimi ran into setup problems and was stuck in traffic most of the time.
      It’s not like they were actually challenged by anyone in Sepang.

      At no point during the australian and chinese GP were they able to win the race on their own.
      It’s like saying that Panis won the ’96 Monaco GP, so there’s no room for complaining about the car.

  19. I would like more durable tyres that we can absolutely attack on flat out.

    This is what Michael said last year following the Bahrain GP and there were no one to back him up.

  20. I really liked this piece by Gary Anderson. I’m disappointed that Martin Brundle isn’t aware that Red Bull probably isn’t concerned with profits but status and exposure, I’m not saying that what happened in China was more than bad luck but Red Bull is in F1 for exposure and a young talented German bodes well with the team so why not maximize their product?

    1. Nice article indeed. I pretty much agree with what he mentions about things amassing to put pressure on Red Bull, and its important to not what he mentions about the tyres and running full-out:

      I ran three teams during the tyre-war era of the late 1990s and early 2000s, which some are saying was a time when drivers could push right to the limit all the time. But that’s a fallacy. They could never go 100% all the time.

      and even more clearly

      The fastest way was a multi-stop race abusing the tyres. But if there was a one-stop race – such as was often case at Monza – you could not abuse the tyres, they would blister and fall off the rims.

      And I would say that more than China showing the tyres are not up to it, DRS is the really upsetting thing and should be done away with or at least toned down as he mentions:

      Whether F1 needs the DRS overtaking aid as well as the current tyres is a different issue – I would like to get rid of it and make the drivers fight more to overtake.

  21. Happy birthday to Paul di Resta. Another man on the grid is turning 27 soon, the closest we have to unrelated twins..
    Yes I’m talking about Romain Grosjean..

  22. I admire Moss because he dares to fight against political correctness, against the dictatorship of feminism.

    1. @alonsomclaren – agreed. his comments might not be graceful, but at least they’re also not politically-correct.

      A woman will have a seat in F1 when she’s earned it. Until then, there’s no reason to start advancing otherwise unqualified women towards the F1 grid just because of their sex, at the expense of qualified male talent. The best drivers with the right support should be on the grid!

  23. Christian Horner: “A quick car abuses the tyres more…”

    “I think we’re seeing that qualifying is paying less of a premium than trying to preserve the tyres. Our car performs very, very well, it’s a quick car, but a quick car abuses the tyre more, and the tyres can’t cope with that.”

    Alonso and Kimi might not totally agree with that statement.

    1. I think they might agree though @bullmello, but would add that the last 3 years overall Red Bull had the best car (optimized to make the most of qualifying, then run in clean air at the front and win more often than not), now they seem to be a wrongly optimized package where Ferrari and Lotus have the better car overall. Only means RBR have to change their approach a bit and get back up there, that said, they are still in the lead.
      I mean, most fans get bored of always seeing the fastest car on pole and then in front for the whole race to win it, changing that was exactly what was asked of Pirelli to achieve.

      I think it was remarkable to hear Horner mention his drivers are pushing only 70% while Withmarsh mentions 90% for his drivers. On that note, given that

      “We then said step the pace up. Within three laps he was going two seconds a lap quicker and the tyres actually held in there. Upon reflection…he could have leant on them a lot heavier than his instinct (told him),” said the boss.

      part, I see this not as the teams being carefull because they HAVE to, but being overly carefull.
      We saw with Bahrain 2010 everyone sparing their tyres far too much too, only to find out it was not needed. Maybe this year we also still need to see drivers push their tyres and see what they get out of them, instead of having a team of people watching computer data calculate an optimum lap based on evidently insufficient information.

      1. Good points @bascb. After all, China was one race and the teams are all still learning what they can and can’t do. Agree on the pushing limits rather than hitting optimums.

  24. “What’s happened? They’re demonstrating now? I didn’t know that. There’s nobody demonstrating.”

    Glad to see F1 is doing it’s annual “Ostrich sticking its head in the sand” impersonation again this year…

    1. Pretty much that @geemac

    2. It does seem that Bernie is turning towards seeing that at least for the public they should get a bit more involved, not sure that is going to help much, but I see that as a bit of acceptance its not perfectly fine.

  25. Are we really surprised that a man in his 80’s has out dated views on the ability of women to compete with women? Particularly when that man has previously said that all he had to do in his day “was turn up to drive the car and then go off and chase crumpet.” (

    1. No. We are not. This week it happens to be female racing drivers. Next week’s drivel could be about beans or bowel movements.

  26. Happy birthday @AndrewTanner, @SoLiD, @BraddersF1 and @RumFRESH, i hope you can all enjoy a nice spring day to celebrate!

  27. I liked Taki Inoue’s response to the Moss quote:

    Moss: female drivers lack aptitude to succeed in Formula 1… Even male driver like Taki Inoue lack aptitude as well.

  28. Why would Kate Moss say something like that about her own gender?

  29. I’m suprised this is Stirling’s view especially as his own sister was an extremely talented driver (even though not in F1) The way the driver market works these days women drivers in F1 are looking more and more unlikely.

  30. I think one of the things with women in F1 is that a woman should not join F1 with the mentality that they would be doing so being the first, but rather that they are just another person, another F1 driver, no different from anyone else, because that would/could be the wrong mentality.
    As for women not having the mental aptitude to join F1? It’s a tough one, but I think it’s unfair for Moss to come straight out and say that he thinks they don’t. There’s no way of knowing for sure until women are actually in F1. One of the biggest problems for women are the people who think they do lack mental aptitude, which I imagine for the most part would put seeds of doubt in their minds, making it very difficult to prove that they have the mental aptitude, but there would be strong ones who can pick themselves through and, as I said before, just have the mentality they are just another driver, not focussing on the woman driver part.
    Whilst I say this about women, some male drivers have a similar problem where people say things about them, telling them they aren’t good enough etc, which then gets into their heads causing problems on track. The difference here is that one is about the driver being a not so good driver, the other being about the driver being a woman and therefore not a good driver. It’s literally impossible to say until women have been in F1, and that’s probably only going to happen if they can prove themselves from the lower formula’s, and all the way up (just as men do), that they do have what it takes, but unfortunately, not enough women are joining motor-sport in the first place, which is a shame.

  31. Considering Stirling Moss still calls Women ‘Crumpet’ it’s hardly surprising his views on them are still stuck in the 50’s.

  32. I Love the Pope
    16th April 2013, 12:42

    I don’t think women should race F1 cars, wrestle, or enter into combat. I think they can, but they ought not. Just because we can do things does not mean we ought. So I agree with his premise but not his reasons.

    1. One thing we agree on then

      enter into combat

      Just because we can do things does not mean we ought.

      – because I think no one should!

  33. I think I’ve been through my thoughts on women F1 drivers at some length before, but I think it’s worth going through again.

    Moss’s comments are disappointing, but hardly unexpected. He’s a relic of a bygone age, and in some respects I think he’s talking more about F1 in his generation than the high tech sport of today. He mentions the sport being dangerous – ultimately the point he makes is about women being unable to supress their natural instinct for self-preservation, and thus are unable to race as hard as men. I’m not sure this is true anyway (certainly, women seem to make excellent frontline soldiers and are equally capable on the field of battle as their male counterparts) but even if it were, motorsport has long since ceased to be the spectacle of death and devastation of yesteryear.

    What is far more disappointing is seeing people agreeing with him. It shows that these negative gender stereotypes are still very much with us. It’s ironic really, given that one of the most prominent news stories at the moment is the death of a woman who proved, thirty years ago, that women are just as capable of succeeding in a man’s world, through their own determination and self confidence. Thatcher certainly had plenty of the traits you might associate with a Schumacher or an Alonso.

    But the sad thing is that I think we’re living in an age where gender stereotypes, far from being broken down, are actually being strongly reinforced. Go to a toy store and have a look at the girls’ section compared with the boys’ section, and you realise that from the youngest age girls are being indoctrinated into the world of ‘pink’, with the focus being put on dressing up, having babies, and domestic chores. This trend is fairly recent, and is getting worse. One of the issues highlighted by the recent London Olympics, is decreasing participation in sports with girls once they reach their teenage years, with cultural pressures being put on them to look and act a certain way, quite in contrast to the ideas of getting sweaty, having muscle, or having any interest in physical accomplishment.

    I don’t know what the solution is. I think that right now, despite there being opportunity for girls to succeed in motorsport, and girls demonstrably having the potential to develop all of the requisite qualities for success at the top level, there is actually less will from girls themselves to participate. Which is sad, and something that people like Moss and his backwards-thinking supporters are doing nothing to help. Nor, indeed, are the likes of Danica Patrick, who, despite being a fairly decent racer in her own right, earns far too much praise for what on the face of it is a fairly unremarkable career, bolstered in the main by her good looks and her media savviness (and, if one were being uncharitable, a certain lack of sophistication on the part of the average American motorsports viewer!). Thatcher is remembered for many many things, almost all of them to do with policy and how she used the power she wielded. Patrick by contrast is remarkable only for the fact she’s a woman. Until female drivers are regarded as just another element of the paddock, rather than some sort of oddity or freakshow, then motorsport can’t really consider itself part of the solution either.

    1. +1 – Good comments.

      Some of your comments about good looks and being media savvy could equally be applied to certain male racers – indeed, Jenson Button used to be derided as a playboy. Maybe the only way to comprehensively shut up the doubters is to wait for a female version of Michael Schumacher to come along. That’s a very, very long shot. I think we’ll have to live with misogyny in racing for a long time.

    2. I love the Pope
      17th April 2013, 5:26

      Men and women are not the same. You are seeking he impossible.

      1. drivers are not the same, cars are as different as the rules allow and makes sens/money can buy. They still race each other

  34. In defense of Stirling Moss, none of us has direct evidence that women can be successful in Formula 1.
    However, I think that we have plenty of evidence that many fewer women get into motor racing at all. The interesting questions are: Why is that? and what can we do about it?

    I would like to point out that there are female fighter pilots. NASA studies have indicated that female astronauts tend to perform better and crucially tend to be smaller and lighter. Until one requires a penis to control a car, I see no reason (beyond culture) why women should not compete gainfully in F1 and other top-rated motorsports. And I won’t even mention Danica Patrick.

  35. The man is 83. Of course his views on women are going to be out-dated. No need to be nasty to him. He has always liked the sound of his own voice and sometimes he even says stuff that’s worth listening to. But this wasn’t one of those occasions.

    1. I love the Pope
      17th April 2013, 5:27

      I agree with him and am younger than you.

      1. That doesn’t mean you don’t also have outdated views.

  36. Its nice to see a woman today who could actually fit into a F1 car.

  37. Quite frankly, I quite do not understand all the flak Moss is catching. What did he say?
    1. They are strong enough,
    2. he doubts they have mental capacity for close fights,
    3. he doesn’t think they have aptitude to win,
    4. they had competetive drivers in F1 but not good enough to win.
    Ad 1: Obviously this cannot be sexist.
    Ad 2: Well we keep hearing from feminists that women are less combative, less aggressive etc. which might even be true, and Moss is just looking at the very same thing from the other side. It strikes me as hypocritical to protest one and not the other. For the record, I believe that some women are more than combatitive, I have known some that all men in 1 mile radius were scared off (my mother for one). But if other people are free to voice their opinion that women are less combatitive, it would be obviously wrong to hold it against Moss when he says the same, just in different words.
    Ad 3: This is debatable. He was not proved wrong and modern science does not prove him wrong either. It is an opinion, equally valid as some other opinions that we hear regarding men. Men are subject to similar generalizations all the time and I do not recall such an uproar, why now? European union is pushing seriously for having 40% of spots in boards of governors reserved for women based on the same kind of argument and I did not hear any women expressing outrage at being subjected to sexist attitudes.
    Ad 4: Moss obviously says here that women can be good enough to drive in F1, so why the title of the article reads “Sir Stirling Moss says women lack mental aptitude for Formula 1”? Why are so many people shooting him down for denying women place in F1 when he clearly does not do so?

    If current science tells us something, it is the fact that man and women are different. There is no hard data on how those differences play out in F1. All we have is opinions, and Moss voiced his personal opinion based on his experience. True enough, he did not use the words “in general”, but he also did not use the words “all”. Given that his opinion does not contradicts known facts, and that his opinion is objectively not insulting to women, I find that the labels he is getting here are much more insulting and offensive than things he says.

  38. women are much better at using lifts than stirling moss
    i.e. checking the lift is actually there before plummeting down the shaft

  39. Just a tad sexist Mossy ;)

  40. Well we are back to Bahrain buying international credibility for its regime. That is distasteful of course. It grates further that they are using our sport to do it.
    I’m perfectly aware that there are many that just prefer to ignore the issue, play down the issue, deflect from the issue or even attack a person who dares to raise it but my own personal choice is to continue to express my individual protest by boycotting the whole thing. The one thing the regime desires is an audience in order to showcase itself and that is the one thing I as an individual can deny them.

  41. 23kennyboy23
    16th April 2013, 23:30

    Mclaren really have the worst driver lineup they’ve had in maybe 15 or more years.

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