Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Paul Ricard, 2019

Hamilton: Blame F1 bosses, not drivers, for “boring” races

2019 French Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says drivers should not be blamed for “boring” F1 races and warned “serious changes” are needed to the sport’s plans to overhaul its rules in 2021.

Speaking after he continued Mercedes’ streak of winning every race so far this year in a processional French Grand Prix, Hamilton urged the media “don’t point the fingers at the drivers because we don’t write the rules.”

“We have nothing to do with the money and all that kind of stuff. You should put the pressure on the people at the head who should be doing their job. I think they are trying to but for many, many years they have made bad decisions.”

Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg attended a meeting of Formula 1 Management, the FIA and the team last week to discuss the state of plans to extensively revise the rules in 2021 and introduce new cars which can race together more closely.

“I had nothing to gain by being there but if there’s anything I can help… They’ve been making all these decisions and never once had a driver’s input in that room. So if that can be the decisive point that can help the fans to get better racing then I would be proud to be a part of that.

“Do I have confidence that it’s going to shift massively?” he added. “I have faith that it’s going to get better. I really hope so.”

The world champion said he was encouraged from the willingness shown to bring drivers into the decision-making process but warned the sport’s plans for 2021 need a drastic rethink.

“It was encouraging that they allow us to be there, and they’re really welcoming. I hope they will continue to have us there, a couple of us drivers each time.

“I think they’ve extended their decision on making the rules. I think they need to because they are nowhere near where it should be, in my opinion. They’ve got to make some serious changes to the decision they have already made of how 2021 should be.

“What I’m encouraged by is that Ross [Brawn, Formula 1 sporting director] and his team are working on for the first time a real aero package that hopefully will have an impact on following [other cars], for example.”

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76 comments on “Hamilton: Blame F1 bosses, not drivers, for “boring” races”

  1. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    23rd June 2019, 18:07

    I mean he is right. Mercedes has won 15 out of the last 18 races. Even if Ferrari won in Canada and Bahrain, it would still be 13 out of 18, which is insane. Bottas won’t mount a challenge to Hamilton, so the latter is already a 6 time world champion.

    We need more teams challenging for victory. If we remove Merc, the championship is a lot more interesting. Ferrari and Red Bull are very close, and the midfield is packed. FIA and the F1 bosses should find solutions to this problem. I know lots of folks who don’t watch F1 anymore due to that dominance.

    1. DAllein (@)
      23rd June 2019, 18:28

      And why?
      Because either they don’t like Mercedes, or they whine too much.

      If Ferrari were dominating, or RBR… like they did for years before… perhaps these folks will still be following F1 because “their team is winning”, rather then whining that their team is dominating.

      These folks are hypocrites.

      1. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
        23rd June 2019, 18:41

        Listen man. Ferrari dominated 2002 and 2004. 2000 was a great scrap with Mika and the Michael. 2003 was a close fight between 3 drivers and 2001 was Ferrari winning but as much as 2002 and 2004.

        When it comes to the RB era, 2010 was a very close season in which Vettel led the title fight for not a single one, and 2012 is one of the best in recent memory with 8 different winners. 2011 was a dominant season for Vettel but McLaren was close in quite some races as was Ferrari in fewer ones. Finally, the first half of 2013 was damn good with 4 teams winning races and the latter half being utter dominant by Vettel.

        Both of those eras were much different then the Merc one. In addition, back then we had the unpredictability factor. Nowadays, cars are very reliable. In both of the previous cases, rules were changed and the Ferrari and RBR eras came to an end. Assuming 2020 is similar to 2019, that will be 7 years of Mercedes winning both titles, which has never happened before. Is that good for the sport? I think not at all.

        1. @panagiotism-papatheodorou This is what I tell people all the time.

        2. Michal (@michal2009b)
          23rd June 2019, 21:51

          Fully agree!

        3. 2010 and 2012 was only close because of constant mistakes by vettel and some unreliability for rbr.

          Domination should be expected in a series that gives a head start to the faster cars and drivers. F1 desperately needs my reverse wdc grid sprint race idea to become a much more exciting entertainment product.

          Merc dominance is no different than McLaren or Williams or Ferrari or RBR dominance, stop crying.

          1. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
            24th June 2019, 6:20

            McLaren had a great car in 2012. They had 7 wins in total. Vettel made mistakes (he was 25 give him a break) but it was a close year. Red Bull wasn’t on pole regularly as well.

      2. Indeed. Dominant teams are part of Formula 1.

        1. If you give the faster cars a head start of course there will be boring races and dominance.

          1. It’s a championship. The best dominate. Nadal on clay, Bolt for 100 metres, Audi at Le mans. Tiger in his heyday. Get. Over. It.

  2. Lewis has a point. Suggestions are to keep the rules consistent for a decade so teams don’t have to develop a car each year but can keep improving. For the top teams it is more difficult to gain a tenth than for a lower team to gain seconds, so after a period of time the teams will close in on each other.

    1. Unless for example tyres change to benefit one single team. Or similar changes.

      1. The change to thinner tread has benefitted EVERY team, we have yet to see much blistering at all even with record high temperatures at the last 2 races. The tires should allow everyone to push their cars to the limit and that is what we have witnessed the last 2 races. These last 2 races have been the best tires pirelli have ever provided to F1, they just aren’t suited to lower temperatures.

        High temps expected for Austria too.

      2. Tyres which have been tested by various teams (Ferrari and Red Bull Racing among them) and all the teams agreed to use them this year.

        So do not blame Mercedes for something all the teams are to blame for.

  3. Lewis is too double faced to make these statements. he wins he is proud of the team and blessed. he is 2nd to bottas and hes not confortable with the car, if another team is in front, he turns to conspiracy, meanwhile sky heed to his pleas for the whole race and rubs his rivals after.
    His statements follow his own interests, he’s no different than the f1 bosses, at least the f1 bosses have the excuse of having £300m and 600 people to juggle, not just their ego,
    in short he’s a nadal not a federer.

    1. @peartree Just not true. Hamilton has been on record for years saying the cars should be lighter with less driving aids and be easier to follow. It’s simply not in his interest for driving skill to be levelled out. Of course finding a solution to the aero issue is a problem for everyone. Mercedes have done their job this season. Ferrari messed up. So we’ve no show. But that’s not Hamilton or Mercedes’s fault. Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Renault have no excuses for not competing at the same level, they’ve got the drivers, the resources and the experience.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        23rd June 2019, 23:10

        Last week he said the following comment:

        They are always altering things to try and make the racing better and they make these rules and they lean on these rules and I think they’re doing a great job, in my opinion.

        Make of that what you will…..

        1. @petebaldwin He means the stewards are doing a good job applying the rules. He knows like everyone else (sane) that the problem isn’t the racing regulations, it’s the cars and the design regulations. He also said this:

          Ultimately the FIA are the governing body and they need to make all the decisions. The teams shouldn’t be involved in that because the teams all want to do something for themselves. That’s natural, they’re competitive. Same in football, if all the teams sat in a room and said the sport should be like this, they would push and pull for their own benefit.

    2. Another comment from peartree that is entirely nonsense

      1. +1 peartree is an infant.

    3. +1

      I said it years ago, he would be a great politician. Anyway, most of the races were equally boring 10, 20 or 30 years ago too, no matter the rules. I’m not a fan of artificial gimmicks like DRS, Pirelli tyres etc, but without these gimmicks I think most of the overtakes wouldn’t have happened. Then imagine the level of boredom.

    4. I’ll just say that the fia shouldn’t have called up Hamilton, the guy who is reaping full benefits of this disparity in performance for a meeting about diminishing this disparity in performance.

      1. If anyone, they SHOULD call Hamilton. He is one of the few drivers who can afford to speak his mind absolutely freely without pusing his team’s agenda for fear of beeing sacked.

        1. @zimkazimka Exactly, he even prefaced his comments saying ‘they won’t like that I’m saying this…’ He’s one of the few that can say power to decide F1 regulations should be taken away from the teams (his company bosses).

  4. I blame team bosses hiring inferior number two drivers. A dominant team in F1 doesn’t always has to mean boring championships. But that’s how it has been for the 3 periods of one team domination since the 2000s

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      23rd June 2019, 23:13

      After Nico vs Lewis, I can understand why Mercedes though “we can win both titles MUCH easier with a clear number 1 and a clear number 2.”

      I don’t like it but I don’t have to – from a business perspective, it makes 100% sense because the guy in the 2nd Mercedes is the only one who will regularly challenge the guy in the 1st.

      1. From a business perspective it makes no sense.
        ‘This is the mighty Mercedes, only one man is capable of winning WDCs in on. (Well two, but that was through us supplying Ham with equipment that broke down)’. Buy one.
        This is the mighty Mercedes, it has delivered WDCs to a multitude of different drivers. Buy one.

      2. After Nico vs Lewis, I can understand why Mercedes though “we can win both titles MUCH easier with a clear number 1 and a clear number 2.”

        They had that. Nico very evidently was supposed to be the Webber to Hamilton’s Vettel. Only problem was that Hamilton just wasn’t good enough to keep his teammate down and in line. That’s why they went with the mediocre guy (Bottas) over the talented one that would’ve beaten Hamilton again (Wehrlein/Ocon) when the time came to replace Rosberg.

        1. Hamilton did fine against Nico, the year he lost the WDC to him, his car had several technical issues that mean grid penalties and an exploding engine ding. He still managed to win more races, his points per race finished was higher and Nico knew it which was why he left, luck like that doesn’t repeat often.

    2. What about Bottas 2.0?

      1. He deflated to v1.5 sadly.

      2. Unfortunately for Bottas, it just brought out Hamilton 5.1 – even though he says he’s not comfortable with the car, he’s still stepped up his game, particularly in qualifying.

        1. He almost set the track record and collected an extra point for Fastest Lap on OLD and SLOW tires. Yeah, 5.1 to 2.0 seems about right.

  5. So he had ‘nothing to gain’ by going to the meeting. Sounds like for someone who says driver input is not sought and all blame for current situation and presumably future state of F1 lies with F1 bosses , he basically didn’t have much to contribute to make the sport better. And since different drivers would be going for the various meetings, each would just be pushing as per their team’s direction and /or wouldn’t be necessarily updated with everything that has been discussed previously to make a meaningful contribution. I might be wrong (and hope I am) but that is what I understood from this article.

  6. Excruciatingly boring. Easy fix: scrap the constructors championship, $50mm annual expenditure cap, 20 person team cap, one car per team, no technical restrictions…

  7. I believe Ham is feeling his championships are a bit lacking in stature.

  8. Just seems like anytime anything even remotely aggresive happens in F1 some unseen figure is going to decide to take it away from a driver doing what he’s paid to do. Ridiculous.

  9. The “Formula” in F1 is a formula for BORDOM!
    How many races has this been the abstract:

    Hamilton wins the pole …
    Hamilton leads into first turn …
    Hamilton leads the race by several seconds within a couple of laps. Gives him “a fun Sunday Drive in the country …’
    Hamilton Wins! Again and again and again.
    BORING …
    The most exciting race in the last couple of years was when Hamilton was bumped to the back of the grid and drove his way back to 4 or 5(?).

    I don’t blame Hamilton. I don’t blame Mercedes. Their “job” is to win races. They do. Period.
    Hamilton has been a superb, winning, driver from his beginning in F1, who just got better and better over the years.
    The simple reality is that Hamilton and Mercedes have a symbiosis and total ownership of the current rule set. They are a winning combination
    The “formula” in F1 is the rules. I completely agree with Hamilton, there has to be a massive change in the rules. The sooner the better. Why wait for 2021? Move the rule change up to the 2020 season!
    What changes? I haven’t got a clue. OK maybe a few ideas …
    Definitely bring back refueling! The extra strategy options created by varying fuel loads definitely made for a better races. No more fastest lap in the last 5 simply because they have the lightest fuel load then. Don’t claim fire hazard. Almost every other world class race organization still allows / requires refueling.
    2 second pit stops have to go! 2 seconds is not enough time for pit crew to f-up. Maybe go to Nascar 2 tire-guns instead of 4.
    Maybe less reliance on downforce and more on mechanical grip? An aero package that allows nose-to-tail drafting and passing. An aero package that does not give such a huge advantage to the leader with ‘clean air’ in front, and turbulent air forcing following cars back too far to have a realistic chance to pass.
    More DRS zones
    Bring back the speed. F1 rules have dragged top speeds down to only slightly above IndyCar and Nascar. Racing is about GO-FAST. So let F1 cars Go FAST! Let F1 cars be the fastest cars on any circuit. (OK, they can’t compete with straight line races like drags and salt flat speedsters).
    Get rid of the chicanes that were introduced to break up the long straight aways, to slow the cars down.
    Encourage wider track design to allow more side by side racing and passing. That is where the excitement is. Passing. And trying to pass.

    1. Got to be a point that Hambo accepts that these ‘wins’ and ‘championships’ might have to be given half points or a trophy sawed in half to reflect their weak efforts….

    2. “2 second pit stops have to go! 2 seconds is not enough time for pit crew to f-up. Maybe go to Nascar 2 tire-guns instead of 4.”
      Agree 100%, unless there’s a massive screw up the stops aren’t worth watching, unlike in IndyCar where one guy a wheel is highly entertaining.

    3. Definitely bring back refueling

      Yay let’s have all the passing done in the pits. Genius idea!

  10. Obviously I’m not missing anything this season… first season in more than a decade that I’ve zero interest in watching (made it through 3/4 of the season or so last year). I content with checking the results after the fact.

  11. Exactly right. Drivers are there to do one job and one job alone: Bring home points!

    If driving in a boring way is most efficient for point extraction, then they complain about tires, fuel saving and heat management, but make no mistake, they diligently do it.

    Meanwhile we have to watch this.

    1. @jureo

      “Meanwhile we have to watch this.”

      …..ehmm, I really don’t remember anyone saying you HAD to watch this.

      Freedom of choice, my friend, freedom of choice.

  12. Isnt the extra point for the fastest lap making the races super exciting? Ofcourse it doesnt. Surprise surprise, only top 3 teams got it and only these 3 will get it for the rest of the season, making them even further ahead in the points tally. Only 4 engine manufacturers and out of those, 3 are present with their factory teams. All tracks are tarmacked like airports, cars are far too long and too heavy, only one tyre manufacturer which makes more of a chewing gum then tyres and too complicated power units which are repelling new entrants and engine providers. Lets add strange decisions from stewards and penalties for expired engine/gearbox components, fake DRS overtakes and what we get is the current boring, predictable, forgettable and lame sport we have now.

    1. Its was a stupid rule from the start, if a team was dominating like merc then it would only benefit the dominant team and make the gap even bigger then it already is

    2. Bravo proteus! Well said.

  13. Hamilton is right to a certain extent. What we need is an overhaul of the technical side of F1, but we won’t get it since the PU remains the same. It’s wrong in my opinion that the current Formula 1 engine can be built by five or six extremely wealthy manufacturer’s who are only seeking their road-relevant goal (and needless to say, some of those manufacturer’s aren’t interested at all since the others have a 12 to 6 years development advantage). I’m not requesting a radical dumbing down or the return of the atmospheric engines, but if we don’t do anything to lure more engine manufacturers by 2025/2026, I cannot exactly imagine what will become of F1.

    1. PUs are not the problem

    2. IMO a substantial dumbing down might be in order.
      Historically, F1 has needed to be innovative because it is supposed to be the fastest racing series and there have been lots of ways to make the cars go faster, whilst maintaining a high standard of racing and drivability. However, over the last 10-15 years I feel as though they’ve reached a point of diminishing returns where the improvements are minor and uninteresting whereas the cost of that innovative element is high.
      I would like to see FOM mandate more standardised parts, as in Indycar, to bunch the field together and make it less predictable. Will anyone miss the annual super-aerodynamic coke bottle innovation that puts Sandy from Grease to shame, or learning what the latest variation of an exquisitely ornate front wing looks like? I mean, the 2008 cars still look futuristic to me.
      I also think they should take away most of the configurations and settings that the drivers control from inside the cockpit. More inconsistent performance, because some driver isn’t using the perfect engine mode or whatever, means more chance of natural overtakes and more chance of the driver behind being able to force an error.
      FOM seem to have thought a lot about the tyres, but I for one also get tired of hearing that Kimi’s tyres have gone off because he was following Verstappen too closely for three laps, etc. I don’t really understand why giving them durable tyres that allow them to race closely lap after lap isn’t the main objective.

      1. “I don’t really understand why giving them durable tyres that allow them to race closely lap after lap isn’t the main objective.”

        Motorsport has been in quite large part about tyres (and strategies to manage them) since the very earliest races. We don’t want to take that out of the equation entirely, so finding the right balance is important.

        I wouldn’t say the balance is quite right at the moment,but I think the main problem is the rules imposed on Pirelli by F1. If the sport said what the tyres should be like, and then left it up to Pirelli to decide how to manufacture them, we’d get better tyres.

  14. Leave technical developments alone. Don’t revolutionize F1 on its technical side… fix the sporting side, level the playing field. Changing it all over again will always empower the big guys and leave the others with 5 years of nothing…

    In 2008 we had all the teams within 2 seconds in qualifying. From fastest to slowest. I should be possible to replicate that naturally…

  15. Okay i have a suggestion not as crazy as Bernie’s sprinkler system.
    How about moving around the calendar in such a way that most races have a high chance of rain.
    Example if there is more chance of rainy weather in Le Castellet, France in September, then rearrange the F1 calendar so that the French GP is held in September rather than late June and so on for other races.

    F1 really needs some entertaining wet races.

    1. Hamilton would win by even bigger margins like Japan 07, Silverstone 08, Brazil 16, etc, etc.

      What we need is a reverse wdc grid sprint race 45 minutes long, average it with qually to set the grid for the grand prix on Sunday.

    2. You only have to read the general tone of messages on here to realise if the FIA put up a top ten of solutions; and one of them was to banish Hamilton or Mercedes from F1, that would get the most votes.
      As the initial poster indicates, they don’t want to see a driver and team at the top of their game winning, they would rather see Vettel spinning and crashing his way to a WDC, whilst his teammate is relegated to support act. Its more interesting apparently.

      1. Lol not Hamiltons fault the drivers in machinery capable of challenging him fail almost every time

  16. A bit off topic, but will the W10 become the most dominant F1 car ever, topping the likes of the MP4/4, FW14 and F2002? I think it has the potential. It is indeed a very boring season, but at least we might be witnessing history.

  17. Giving the faster cars a head start is a recipe for boring races. End this silly tradition now.

    Replace fp3 with a reverse wdc grid sprint race 45 minutes long, add the finishing positions to their qually position to set the grid for the grand prix on Sunday.

    This would:
    1 increase tv and track spectators on Saturday.

    2) mix up the grid more for Sunday, leading to even more spectators

    3) make for an even more deserving wdc, as they can’t just qualify on pole and cruise away on Sunday. They would be required to pass and defend cleanly, showing good racecraft.

    4) make for a tighter championship as the sprint race is set up in reverse wdc order, and it’s results directly affect the grid for sunday.

    1. @megatron I don’t think Sprint/Qualifying races would increase spectators as every poll/survey done over the last decade has shown that a large majority of fans dislike the idea of both.

      Speaking just for myself F1 adopting a sprint qualifying race would be the final nail in the coffin for me, Especially under the format you propose as it just comes across as too artificial for my taste.

      1. Giving the faster cars a head start is not artificial?

        The fans have rejected shorter races, not sprint qually races. They would be hooked after the first one.

        If lining the cars up fastest to slowest isn’t artificial neither is lining them up in reverse wdc order for a sprint race to also help decide the Sunday grid. The first displays speed, the second displays racecraft, a wdc should have both.

        1. To be honest I alway feel random grid is the most logical, especially given now there are 21 races. People seem to can’t get over the traditions. But to me actually it is pretty fair and natural to randomly draw out grid positions. I guess it’s all because qually is such a big part of F1 history. We talk about the legendary qually laps and so on. So I don’t see that happening. Maybe a fastest lap competition to replace qually for added championship points only(many top 10 get 1-10 points) and then Sunday race start from random drawn grids.

          I mean passing skill should be tested for a champion right. But we have seen so many championships won for the number 1 drivers not having to pass anyone.

  18. I watch every F1 and IndyCar race and no comparison between the two. Even though Rossi ran away at Road America today (rare), the action was crazy for the rest of the field. Re-fueling in IndyCar adds drama, along with the way tires are changed creates much more action and possibility of errors. The cars are slower than F1, but look like they’re going much faster because the constant sliding and corrections by the drivers. Watch the in car video. The cars performance is so close it makes the drivers fight for every tenth of a second, which creates errors and drama also.

    1. The in car cam showed Dixon with pedal to the metal heavy wrestling that car around the last two laps, tires gone, no problem mate I’ll still go for it.

  19. Fuel-in qualifying, short living tires, no refueling while changing tires.

  20. No easy solution other than 4 cars per team. Small private teams and B teams have to go.

  21. I think this discussion diminishes what is actually occurring in F1. Mercedes has the best team and the result is dominance. People on this site believe that Hamilton is not the best driver in F1. If true, that means that the rest of Team Mercedes is absolutely better at what they do than every other team and they are rewarded with victories. That is sport. Be the best. Best pit crew. Best management. Best technicians. Best engineering. Best machining. Best design. The problem is that the other teams can’t match Mercedes. They are lacking in one or more of the areas of F1.

  22. Regulated testing is the main problem, Merc have got ahead, no one is allowed/can to catch them, allow teams to test.

    1. Exactly. Some limit on testing may be very sensible, but current limits are daft and counterproductive.

      Let the lowest five teams in the constructors’ table have a day of testing on the Monday after each race. That way they can take a few development risks, and maybe come up with something different. Forget Haas buying parts from Ferrari, the top teams should be buying designs/parts from the small teams (having given them the extra testing time).

  23. Hamilton is right on this point. But I think there’s an underlying motive with it as well (by going to the F1 Management meeting): his poles, wins and championships are a bit hollow aren’t they? The last couple of years it was almost always a Mercedes win guaranteed and the championship is decided between their 2 drivers. And as we know Bottas (be it 2.0, 1.5 or 1.0) is no match against Hamilton over the course of a season. So while the statistics might proof the LH is one of the greatest of all time (and for the record, although I have no sympathy for Hamilton whatsoever, I think he’s right up to the top step with some others), the feeling is that he’s only there because he only had to beat his teammate. For a high performance-driven chap like Lewis, I think that stings a bit.

  24. One of the main issues for me is the use of “virtual garages” and the amount of sim work going on. Get rid of the lot of it!!! With so much analysis and simulation, you just need to run to a number, if all things are normal all the teams could tell you the result before the race starts. If it were up to me I would ban simulators and virtual garages… if it doesn’t happen in the garage at the circuit then it shouldn’t be allowed.

  25. Question for LH: who is blaming the drivers?

    1. I imagine it’s aimed at the childish fans booing and the salty fans losing their minds online. All he’s done is driven the car he was given to the best of his ability, and somehow that makes him the worst person in F1 according to a lot of people.

      He’s never had a teammate deliberately crash to hand him a win, he’s never deliberately parked his car to block the track in qualifying and he’s never intentionally rammed an oponent to win a world championship and yet the people that have done all of those things in this sport are revered by most fans..

    2. The ones who were selling Bottas 2.0 and now deriding him because he is not?
      Or the ones who are now trying to bury Vettels career because he’s not beating arguably one of the greatest drivers the sport has ever seen?
      And of course those who will never forgive Hamilton for being one of the greatest drivers the sport has ever seen :)

      1. Sorry um I wasn’t asking who has their heads the furthest up LH’s you know what, I was asking rhetorically why LH felt the need to claim the drivers are being blamed for boring races when I would think everyone understands they don’t write the rules. The article says he urged the media not to point fingers at the drivers for boring races? Are they? I doubt it. Seems strange to me for him to say that.

        1. That’s what 80% of your comments on this website are though whiny questions/statements to do with LH in one form or another, any article with a quote from an interview with him seems to bother you.

          It’s clearly aimed at what I mentioned in my comment about fans booing drivers on the podium, Vettel came out after Canada saying it’s wrong for people to be booing LH. All he’s doing is driving..So it’s not particularly hard to put 2 and 2 together, no driver has any say on penalities or the sports current technical regulations so it’s knuckle dragging levels of stupid to throw abuse at one particular driver for the current state of F1 just because they’re winning.

          1. Then why ‘urge the media?’

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