Magnussen linked to Maldonado’s Renault seat

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In the round-up: Kevin Magnussen has been linked to Renault as doubts grow around Pastor Maldonado’s financial backing.

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Can you engineer unpredictability into F1?

Button hit the nail on the head when he said they need to rip most of the sensors off the cars so that skill and technological understanding of the engineers and drivers once again play a bigger part than money and computers.

I think the ‘Mickey Mouse’ tyres Pirelli have been producing was an attempt to artificially re-create the effect of components being unpredictable with the sudden drop off in performance but even then, the teams only took a few races to gather data and everything was worked out for them by their computers.


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Red Bull prepare for Max Verstappen’s show run at Kitzbuehel in Austria.

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87 comments on “Magnussen linked to Maldonado’s Renault seat”

  1. If Kevin replaces Maldonado I will be very, very happy.

    1. Me too. Fingers crossed.

    2. I do wish Maldonado’s record would have less retirements than it does.

      1. There is just one more retirement I’d like to see from Maldonado… his retirement from F1 racing.

        1. I think he would be a better fit in IndyCar.

          1. I disagree, I think he is best suited in front of a screen playing iracing. He can crash as much as he wants there.

          2. I think he belongs in destruction derby

          3. OMG no… don’t send him over here! @ferrox-glideh

        2. Yes Please, Let this be true get rid of malando

    3. I also! My only concern is the loss of money from PDVSA.

    4. I won’t. It’s a side step. They are not fielding a burning talent at Renault. Renault to replace one of their signed drivers for 2016 ought to at least make some headlines with it, hire someone exciting.

  2. I’d love for Magnussen to replace Maldonado but that Telegraph article has no evidence at all. The entire basis for the rumour is “sources said” with no further detail, and the author cites low oil prices as a factor despite PDVSA paying the money last July/August (see Am I missing something?

    1. I think your assessment is pretty spot on.

    2. 2016 reserve, 2017 race?

      1. its possible, yes @verstappen. And certainly more realistic than replacing Maldonado for this year

        1. It seems the most likely scenario, but if that is the case, he surely has to try negotiate a deal that allows him to race in another category. He is too good to be sitting on the sidelines for another season.

    3. Exactly, PDVSA have already paid them! Absolutely no chance Maldonado won’t be driving for Renault this year.

      1. This article from BBC today is not backing that up:

        1. I stand corrected. I thought it was all paid months ago, after they confirmed him.

    4. Maldonado’s seat for 2016 is already paid for. So this specualtion is a bit silly. However I find it realistic that Magnussen become reserve driver for Reanult or maybe Williams.

      1. It happens. Just ask Giedo VDG

    5. I thought it was Jolyon Palmer’s seat, if either of them, that was at risk. More likely, this will be for simulator work or some sort of reserve driver role, alongside a racing role in some other series.

  3. I think that Pastor Maldonado is the most exciting driver to watch because he makes the races unexpected so I do hope that he will continue racing for the next couple of seasons.

    1. Who needs sprinklers on track when Maldonado is around?

  4. I think the reduction in the USGP race can be chalked up to many things. First, there was record flooding in the southern US last fall and caused a reduction in overall travel and tourism, everybody suffered. Then there was the return of the Mexican GP, which I remember being touted during early announcements as a competitor and colleague to the USGP since so many people were coming across the border for the US race. It was supposed to encourage people to attend both, but why would average fans want to go to an expensive city and pay significantly more for tickets instead of waiting a couple of weeks and getting far more bang for their buck (or peso). Then there is the lack of publicity over here. There just isn’t much push for F1 like I wish. The only exposure is the horrid, anemic NBC Sports coverage so most people don’t get to understand the appeal, the culture, the history or the technology.

    Texas alone has almost 28 million citizens (approx 1/12 of the US population), they have more than enough people to pack the track every day of the year. Whether local or from out of state, if people do not want what F1 is selling or do not understand the value of the F1 experience, they will not spend the money. For almost all of the US Formula 1 is not a part of our history or an integral part of our culture like NASCAR, NFL or baseball, so they’re likely not going to invest the time or money to go to Austin.

    I have several friends and coworkers that I have gotten hooked on F1 due to bit torrent copies of Sky coverage. They have all tried to watch NBC and hate it. There’s no emotional connection or extras like Sky’s coverage, nor do they have the depth of personality in presenters, just a couple guys sitting in a studio commenting on a feed. If we could get the equivalent of Sky’s coverage, extras, personalities and talent who are actually at the race, we might get more people interested. Then they will want to go to a race and hopefully want more races here.

    1. Lee’s comment deserves COTD. Aptly addresses the USGP issue but more importantly it gets at a key issue for the larger American audience. I used to enjoy the Speed coverage because I didn’t know any better (Varsha, Matchett, and Hobbes), and though the NBCSN team is largely the same, it doesn’t hold a candle to SkyF1’s coverage or the BBC before it. While neither British coverage is perfect it is LEAGUES ahead of what we get here in the States.

      It should tell you something that I would rather watch a sketchy-quality stream or wait hours (sometimes a day) to get a quality torrent rather than watch those few races that are broadcast free-to-air on NBC (Monaco, USGP). Forget the rest of them on NBCSN, the fees to get that channel are exorbitant and not worth it.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      13th January 2016, 6:23

      And don’t forget that Austin is in the middle of Texas; the next major non-Texan city (probably Oklahoma City or New Orleans) is likely some 600-700km away. That distance in Europe typically covers some 4 neighbouring countries!

    3. Interesting and perceptive comment, @lee. It’s not the first time I have seen the awful weather blamed for the low attendance at Austin last year. But what I don’t understand is the financial impact.Surely fans would have aid in advance for their tickets, wouldn’t they? If they were prevented by flooding from attending, the tickets would have already been paid for and the organisers have the money – no?
      Or have I got it wrong; was the Austin race dependent on pay-at-the-gate fans, or were non-attending ticket holders able to reclaim their money?

      1. @nickwyatt To me it indicates that perhaps there was around 25,000 Mexicans that previously went to the race, but instead went to the returning Mexican GP in 2015.

        1. Certainly could be, @fastiesty. If that’s the case though, the Austin race was in serious trouble even without the weather problems.

          1. @nickwyatt Indeed. That’s why it’s a shame that COTA wasn’t nearer to LA, as Mexico City was always likely to make a come back. The central US location means Americans will have to fly in to Texas from East and West to support the race.

  5. I see why, for many reasons losing Pastor would be attractive, but Magnussen? Really?

    I don’t get why his name keeps coming back. 55 points to Buttons 126. How is that anything but a disaster? if they are looking for a future great, there are so many other talented drivers just waiting to break into F1. Why not offer Vandorne a drive, you have a works drive with a committed Renault, At least as good a prospect as Mclaren are at the moment. And this guy has got 1st and a 2nd in the last two years of GP2 and a 2nd in Renault 3.5 before that. Now that’s a driver you want to snatch for the future. And if you’re ever going to get a driver like that, now you’ve got a golden opportunity.

    And if on the other hand you want a safe pair of hands. Well, Keep Pastor. Compared to Magnussen’s results he’s been on about the same level. And he hasn’t been out of the car. And he knows the team. And he’s bringing money.

    Of course, the it’s likely a rubbish “sources said it” article. So, in that case, ignore me.

    1. @mike

      I don’t get why his name keeps coming back. 55 points to Buttons 126. How is that anything but a disaster?

      You have to understand that Maldonado had his rear handed to him at the hands of Grosjean last year. It was the biggest thrashing any team mate had to endure in quali and races despite having the edge on more FP sessions. It was even more embarrassing that Maldonado topped the penalty points championship for another year. Over the past few seasons, no driver has been consistently poor in all areas of racing, and yet has managed to secure himself a midfield drive. After spending 5 seasons in the sport, he has only moved backwards in every avenue of racing performance and mental maturity.

      Magnussen on the other hand has only 1 season in the sport, in which he was paired against a WDC. He managed a podium on debut, but struggled for most of the season. He still put in some strong quali performances and kept Jenson on his toes on many a occassion. As mclaren moved backwards during the season, so did Magnussen unfortunately.

      How many drivers have we seen with not so strong performances in their 1st season, but yet have matured in to good f1 drivers? Hulkenberg and Ricciardo weren’t particularly impressive in their debut seasons either, but look at both of them now.

      Compared to Magnussen’s results he’s been on about the same level.

      Now you’re making me laugh

      1. @todfod

        It was even more embarrassing that Maldonado topped the penalty points championship for another year.

        Didn’t Max Verstappen overtake him for that dubious honour in the final race?

        1. @optimaximal, yes, Verstappen currently has a total of 8 penalty points on his licence, two more than Maldonado. Verstappen also carried out as many driving related infractions as Maldonado did (going off track to gain an advantage, speeding under safety cars and so forth).

          I believe that the penalty points that each driver racked up in 2015 are as follows:
          Verstappen – 8
          Maldonado – 6
          Ericsson – 4
          Hulkenberg – 4
          Grosjean – 4
          Vettel – 3
          Raikkonen – 3
          Alonso – 2
          Bottas – 2
          Button – 2
          Hamilton – 2
          Kvyat – 2
          Nasr – 2

      2. @todfod But not nearly as honest as Perez….

        1. @mike

          Perez did give Button a more solid fight, but did finish quite a bit behind him in the points again. It also was Perez’s 3rd season in the sport. I’m just saying that a lot of drivers have turned it around in their 2nd season, and he deserves a shot at it.

          I don’t think he’s the best thing in F1 since Lewis Hamilton, but when compared to the worst driver on the grid (crashtor), I think he makes a solid candidate for that seat

    2. Neil (@neilosjames)
      13th January 2016, 8:36

      I don’t get why his name keeps coming back. 55 points to Buttons 126. How is that anything but a disaster?

      It looks pretty bad. And I personally agree that Vandoorne is better (I’d go so far as to say he looked a better prospect even at the start of 2014, when Magnussen was promoted to the race seat). But regarding the points, it’s comparing a rookie with no experience of shreddy Pirellis against one of the most experienced drivers on the grid… in a car that was by no means simple. And if we look at Button’s own rookie year, he was beaten 24-12 by Ralf Schumacher.

      So I’d like to see Magnussen given another shot, because I don’t think it’s fair to judge any driver on what they achieve in a single season.

      1. matthew coyneq
        13th January 2016, 12:42

        I feel it’s worth mentioning here what Hamilton did in his rookie season where he was also paired with a world champion (and not just any world champion, the one people still to this day consider to be the best on the grid)

        Magnusson isn’t good enough for F1, Anyone who thinks he is will probably be Danish.

        Maldonado also isn’t good enough for F1 but if he is paying 34 million there are not many teams that would turn that sort of money down.

        1. Hamilton was a unique talent, and Magnussen isn’t one of those… and Hamilton had a massive amount of experience from testing the car and the tyres were… well, proper tyres. Magnussen had barely been

          I’m not Danish, but I do think he is probably good enough. Not elite level, but definitely worth a second season before final judgement is passed.

        2. And the most important thing of all that you just simply forget, Hamilton did thousands of testing miles and knew the car inside out.

    3. I agree. Fair enough he had the podium in Australia and some strong qualifying sessions, but I thought he had quite a poor rookie year. Especially towards the end of the season, he couldn’t touch Button.

      Renault should definitely look at other options for 2017 if they are looking to replace a driver. It’s got the be a worthwhile change. Better prospects out there including Vandoorne as you say, and I’m sure he’s backed by Total and Richard Mille.

      Is it worth ditching Maldonado for Magnussen? In my opinion, no it isn’t.

      1. Button beat highly rated Alonso. Which kinda means you’d only consider Magnussen worthy if he was better than 2 WDC’s in his rookie season.
        Kvyat and Verstappen have been praised for their rookie performances. But what was their competition? You seriously think they would have beaten Button and Alonso?
        If a rookie season like that is required to be in F1, Hamilton would be the only driver on the grid.

        1. Spot on!!

        2. 2014 was a fair contest because McLaren actually had a reliable engine. Button did beat Alonso last year but the Honda engine hardly made it that straightforward with its poor reliability.

          I never expected Magnussen to beat Button, but I also didn’t expect him to end up so far behind, especially after such a great start. I don’t think he met expectations.

    4. I’m of the opinion that rookies with a strong background should be given a 2nd chance. 1 year of experience can make a big difference. Button himself didn’t excel against Schumacher in his first season, and even his 2nd season was weak.

    5. Wasnt vandoorne part of the field Magnussen beat in F3.5 ?

      1. Yes,
        But he was a rookie and Magnussen had a year of fr3.5 under his belt.
        This makes a big difference.

        He was an impressive rookie in FR 3.5 and GP2.

        The only problem is that Vandoorne is now mega hyped, so let’s hope gets a proper crack.
        Magnussen had a tough debut in F1, as the car wasn’t a really good one. And that makes it a bit harder to show what you got. The Torro rosso boys had a great year.. But that was for a big part talent, but they were helped by a pretty good car obviously!

  6. I suspect things are too complex to enable the stripping of data sensors completely, but I’ve thought for a long time that for the race at least it should go into a sort of data escrow account, for review after the event. Programme in some data red lines that come up with a retire the car now, but otherwise let them get on with it fairly basic driver displays only

  7. I cannot see any scenario where Renault tries to replace Maldonado with Magnussen in the leadup to the 2016 season that doesn’t end in a repeat of the Sauber court drama.

    1. I’m pretty sure that they have clauses in Pastor’s contract saying that if the money isn’t around, nor is he. I guess it all depends on whether PDVSA has the funds to churn out right now.

  8. Nice little piece on asking Grosjean for feedback on Guttierez. I think its a good approach for a new incoming team to have a line up that can really work together.

    1. Although pretty much everyone in here hates him, Gutierrez actually is a very easy-going down-to-earth guy, with a solid technical understanding of the engineering behind an F1 car (he does has a reputation in the paddock of being an excellent test-developer driver because of the feedback he provides…Ferrari did not sign him up for the money!). I believe Grosejan-Guti will form a quiet but solid pair for Team Haas.

      1. I can’t imagine why anyone could feasibly ‘hate’ Gutierrez. It’s not like he usurped anyone worthwhile from their drives, nor was he anything more than anonymous. I saw more of *him* in his Ferrari reserve role than his entire time at Sauber – and to be honest, that basically covers the amusing Ferrari promo video ahead of Mexico and that moment when he joined Arrivabene in the stands earlier in the ’15 season.

        Just another guy rushed into F1 way to fast in order to access his sponsorship money…

        1. Just another guy rushed into F1 way to fast in order to access his sponsorship money…

          It makes you think were the sport would be without Telmex (who should be sponsoring of 3 teams in 2016: Ferrari…though they don’t need the cash, Force India and presumably Haas) and Red Bull (STR and RBR).

    2. The cynic in me says that he might be all for having Gutierrez as a team mate because he knows he can beat him consistently.

        1. @keithcollantine Sutil isn’t particularly regarded as a good driver though is he? He was very average throughout his first stint at Force India, produced a few solid results at the start of his second, then just fell backwards and was relatively poor when competing with Gutierrez.

        2. @keithcollantine

          The C33 was an overweight chassis so the usual compensation of ballast between a whippet like Gutierrez and normal size guy like Sutil won’t have been achieved.

          Sutil is about 10kg heavier than Gutierrez which is a third of a second in F1 metrics. So his average of +0.223s qualifying gap puts him more like half a second off a fairly average driver.

          Sutil was also starving himself before races and driving without a water bottle so I don’t imagine he was even on peak form.

          1. @philipgb, that explanation only goes so far though, because I recall that sauber did introduce an update to the C33 in the latter half of the season which enabled them to get back to the weight limit. Even when that was the case, Gutierrez still had a slight edge on Sutil more often than not.

        3. True, but can we agree that Romain is at least better than Still ever was, particularly in these past two seasons? I wish Gutierrez all the best, he’s a charismatic young man and seems to fit into the paddock quite well. I’m just playing devil’s advocate really ;)

          1. * Sutil sorry, autocorrected.

  9. Honda and Mclaren seem to have very different ambitions from the coming season. Alonso and the Mclaren team seem very bullish in finding 2 seconds and fighting at the front. They believe most of the gains will come on the PU side.

    Honda on the other hand, are asking to keep things realistic. Saying that is hard to close the gap with the current token system and limited testing. Their target is to simply fix the ERS issues and reliability. As Arai mentioned the target is to reach Q3.

    Honestly, I think Mclaren will improve from last year. They should start the season as the 8th fastest team (with only Haas and Manor behind them). They should end the season as the 6th fastest team (overtaking Sauber and maybe a Force India/Toro Rosso/Renault by the end of the season.)

    In 2017, they should hopefully start the season in the top 5 teams. And maybe a decade from now they will fight for the WDC and WCC .. pffft

    1. @todfod

      Saying that is hard to close the gap with the current token system and limited testing.

      The FIA have relaxed the token system (32 tokens for all teams) and removed the component freeze. If Honda still aren’t confident that the problems can be fixed (given they can feasibly completely redesign the PU), then there are *real* issues.

      1. @optimaximal

        It’s not just about fixing problems anymore. It’s about decreasing the performance gap to Mercedes, and showing that their risky approach was actually an advantage. If Arai’s target is to just improve reliability and ERS issues, then their target is already not good enough to make them a front runner again.

        1. @todfod
          Right now the Honda is where they want it to be performancewise… it just blows up when they run it 100%. If they can “fix” that small reliability issue we will finally see if theres any advantage in their risky approach.

          1. Right now the Honda is where they want it to be performancewise

            I really really hope that isn’t the case. Even with 100% deployment, they are at least 1.5 seconds a lap down on Mercedes.

    2. @todfod Look at it as a worse version of Mercedes’ rise, with 2011 as season one, and 2010 as season two. Five years to title contention ;). Honda should fix the engine next year, and that’s two-thirds of the deficit to the front at least.

  10. If Renault is any clever they either try to lure Magnussen in for 2017, or Vandoorne for 2017. If they have any tact they could easily have both for 2017.

    1. Yep @xtwl if Renault are clever they’ve committed enough budget that Maldonado’s money isn’t a necessity any more. I feel he must have a really undermining effect on the team, who are preparing a car for the race with only a 50% chance of it seeing the flag, and even then further down than it deserves.

      Whether Magnussen is the best alternative I’m not quite sure, but he’s certainly an improvement.

      1. Vandoorne surely had a clause this year blocking him from joining another team and probably that no-one was ready to pay the fee to McLaren to have him. But next year and depending on his superforumla results, it might be a totally different situation. If he is in the top 3 by the end of the championship, they should be more teams than the sole Renault which will be interested. And I’m not sure Renault will have the argument to attract him.

        Writing this, it left me thinking what are the options :
        – Mercedes : could have a seat by the end of the year, if so it will probably goes Wherlein’s way (if he qualifies Under point system)
        – Ferrari : could have a seat, but they will not go for a rookie (Hulkenberg ? Bottas ?)
        – RedBull : will surely promote one of their own
        – McLaren : all will depend on this year’s performance, if Vandoorne join them it means the car is nowhere
        – I rate any other team as a worse option than Renault (Williams and Force India being almost leveled with but with less opportunities at a shot to the top).

        Finally Renault could/should be an option for Vandoorne for 2017.

  11. Already “TAG Heuer” branding on the Red Bull car in place of the Renault! But Total is still there for the moment…

    1. Total will probably remain. It’s still a Renault engine I suppose and they are Renault’s fuel suppliers.

      1. @deej92 I remember some reports talking about Total reducing a lot its sponsorship or even leaving altogether but as you. say it makes sense they remain as they are partners with Renault. However as we have currently the teams can have different fuel supplier if they have a partnership, as it is the case with Williams not using Petronas even though they have a Mercedes engine. Of course Red Bull would have to find a new partner to replace Total and that for sure cannot be done in a short amount of time.

        1. Yeah true. Thing is Renault have some sort of agreement with Total (Elf) and I’d go as far to say no other fuel has gone into a Renault F1 engine since the late 90s. The only way Red Bull could switch fuel partner is if they switched engines I’d say.

  12. If Manor just put pay drivers in the car because it makes more sense on paper then they’re turning their back on what set them apart from the other new teams. Bianchi’s result in Monaco is the only reason the team survived. They need a promising future driver in that car even if they do bring less financial support because without aspiring to do more than limp along the back of the grid letting rich boys rent the seats like some kind of fair ground ride what is the point in the team?

    1. That could be the very reason Booth and Lowdon left. Manor this season obviously went with capable driver that have at least some money, it’d be a shame if they get better preparation, a better engine and end up sticking two pay drivers in there. Ideally they’d get two drivers like Rossi in; talented drivers with a budget.

      In the end, signing two drivers who bring little but money has never brought teams much; just compare Tyrrell’s 1997 with its 1998 season, or Davidson’s performances in the Super Aguri to Yuyi Ide’s.. Sadly, if the new Manor owners do care more about money than talent, I don’t see much of a future for the team.

  13. Probably worth mentioning considering the Zandvoort rumors; a Dutch royal who has been involved with racing (and named after the Prince who was known for his love of Ferrari’s) has been rumoured to buy the track. While I don’t see this as a means of the Dutch Royal Family pumping money into an F1 return, there is a chance the money made from the sale could go towards refurbishing the track.

    Now, the local infrastructure has a hard time dealing with crowds. Events like the Masters of F3 (more so in the past) and DTM cause huge traffic jams. With the current Max Verstappen hype and no signs the local government is planning on improving local infrastructure, it’d probably be a logistical nightmare even if the track gets up to standards.

    As much as I love Zandvoort, as much as I love F1, I don’t really love the idea of F1 at Zandvoort. The track is great but it could barely cope with 100.000 people for Masters of F3 in the previous decade, where most people would leave after the demonstrations by Marlboro sponsored teams and the F3. For F1, everyone leaving at the same time.. I don’t even want to think about it.

    1. Probably should have included the link! (RTL GP is the former Dutch broadcaster of F1, still broadcasts national racing and GP2, Dakar and WRC, also runs a magazine on racing.)

  14. So, it seems like Crashdor Maldonados sponsor is not caughing up the doe so far. Crossing my fingers for a seat for KMag.

  15. Maldonado is just underperforming. His crash prone nature is an embarasement for many a team. He tends to overdrive then car or underperform. Either way once he got it right and won a GP on merit.

    But not sure he has talents suited for Renault, they need young guns, that will develop and peek in 3-5 years when they potentially get their act toggether. Renault is all about building the future.

    That being said without backing even guys like Jenson Button tend to have a hard time keeping a seat. Jenson won more than 1GP, and tends to hold his own against Lewis and now Fernando.

    Magnusen did impress in his rookie season points did not do him justice. He would be perfect for a Renault position to slowly develop.

    Ideal candidate would be Vandorne, but he has a contract with McLaren. But Id be suprised to see Jenson get droped come 2017. Especially if he does more of his good stuff and car improves.

    Renault then should be spoilt for choice the moment they get a semi competitive car going. Plenty of good drivers around that need or want a seat.

  16. I’m very glad to this!

  17. Fernando Cruz
    14th January 2016, 12:14

    Maldonado in 2012 was even better than Frentzen in 1999 on qualifying pace and the way they managed to beat their respective team mate on that exercise (Bruno Senna in 2012 and Damon Hill in 1999). But Maldonado was often beaten by Senna on race pace (despite the brazilian losing 15 FP1 during the year), while Frentzen was always better than Hill in all areas in 1999. It was Frentzen’s best season ever, just like 2012 was Maldonado’s best season ever in F1.

    But Frentzen was really talented, while Maldonado relies too much on financial backing allowing him to have better oportunities than others deserved more than him.

    1. Fernando Cruz
      14th January 2016, 13:12

      Furthermore Frentzen was often the equal of Michael Schumacher in F3 and Sports Car Racing and in 1999 was very consistent, while Maldonado was GP2 Champion only at his 4th attempt and was very inconsistent even in 2012, with many mistakes not allowing him to match his outstanding Barcelona performance. He had on that year tyres perfectly suited to his driving style (mainly for qualifying) but never matched that kind of speed ever since. Drivers like Bruno Senna, Kamui Kobayashi, Paul di Resta or Jean-Éric Vergne deserved way better than him to still be in F1 and that is a real shame…

      1. Fernando Cruz
        14th January 2016, 13:59

        Even better now would be young talents like Stoffel Vandoorne, Robin Frijns or Félix da Costa, or even others who never had a slim chance through lack of budget. Drivers like Adam Carroll or Álvaro Parente, real talents who should have been in F1 more than 5 years ago and are currently lost somewhere in GT Series! So many drivers outside F1 who could do better than Maldonado!

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