Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Silverstone, 2021

Chassis change and other tweaks solved Ocon’s problems immediately

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In the round-up: Esteban Ocon says he felt back on the pace from the beginning of first practice after a chassis change at Silverstone.

In brief

Ocon believes problems are solved

After a strong start to the season, Ocon’s performance slumped in Austria, where he failed to progress beyond Q1 in consecutive rounds.

However after receiving a new chassis at Silverstone, and making other changes, the Alpine driver said it was immediately clear his problems were solved, and he scored his first points in six races.

“I’m pretty sure we’ve solved the issue that we had,” said Ocon after Sunday’s race. “It’s not only [a chassis] change that we’ve done, there was a lot of other things, background and other parts that we changed.

“We spotted something after that day on the Monday. We questioned ourselves if that could be the reason. The only thing I care about is that obviously I feel good now and as soon as we we did put the car in practice one, it was competitive like it should and that was much better.”

Vettel: children “much better informed” than adults on climate

Vettel collected British Grand Prix litter
Sebastian Vettel, who is making a documentary about recycling, spent time between F1’s two Austria races building a home for bees in the shape of an F1 car with local schoolchildren. He said his turn as teacher had been as educational for himself as the children.

“I think if anything, I was the pupil and I think I was taught by the kids,” Vettel said. “There’s a lot of potential in treating kids the same rather than thinking that we need to teach them something, because I think they’ve got a lot to teach to us.

“But it was really interesting and I was surprised. We had a chat about what’s going on in the world and what one can do to try and, you know, maintain the life that we have and also the future looking after after the environment.

“I was surprised how how well informed they were. I think they were much better informed than many of the adults that I’m facing. So I was really surprised by that.”

Vettel spent time after the British Grand Prix collecting litter from grandstands and monitoring recycling efforts at the track, as well as visiting a large recycling plant in Slough to see more about the process.

He said that after meeting with the schoolchildren in Austria he was moved to further actions. “It was really inspiring to see that even though there were only around 10 years old, they were really interested in the subject. I’m keen on I’m doing something.”

Formula E barriers staying on-site at ExCel

Formula E’s London EPrix will be held this weekend, after a year’s delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, the venue – an enormous dockside warehouse turned into a convention centre – has functioned as a coronavirus overflow hospital (called a Nightingale hospital by the NHS) and then a vaccination centre.

Formula E’s barriers were used during its conversion, to provide access guide routes for ambulances driving in. The series’ cities development director Oli McCrudden said some will stay at the venue, to reduce freight in storage and to be integrated into the sites’ own infrastructure

“It is a great partnership we’ve got with the venue, it’s not just a tenant venue relationship,” said McCrudden. “They’ve really worked with us and we’ve moved onto the concrete blocks and fences down to be stored on site for the next three to four years as well.

“So we’ve cut out a load of that transport and it meets on our sustainability targets as well so that they’re a real partner on it. We’ve got some of our race walls that are going to stay in place in situ now as potentially part of the venue. So we’re we’re in the fabric of ExCel.”

Corberi ban upheld by International Court of Appeal

Luca Corberi’s 15-year ban from competition for violent and dangerous behaviour at an FIA-CIK karting event has not been overturned by the FIA’s International Court of Appeal.

Corberi launched an appeal against his ban on April 21st of this year but the International Court of Appeal has confirmed that they both reject that appeal and uphold the full 15-year duration of the ban.

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Comment of the day

David Hunter argues that the sprint qualifying race – and any points awarded for it – adds rather than detracts from a weekend.

It bemuses a little when people say it devalues the grand prix. If it awards appropriate points for the distance then I don’t see how that can be. It’s still a race, still a challenge and you still need pole to maximise your chance of winning those points.

It looks like Formula 1 to me, and the sprint plays its part in carving out a narrative for the weekend and plays a part of that three day story now. I rather like that.

The race on Sunday is no different to me, I can’t fathom how the sprint detracts from it. We got more racing, not less.
@Davidhunter13

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On this day in motorsport

  • 20 years ago today Patrick Carpentier won the Michigan 500 as the Champ Car series reached half-distance. Points leader Kenny Brack started from pole position but crashed out after colliding with team mate Max Papis.

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  • 42 comments on “Chassis change and other tweaks solved Ocon’s problems immediately”

    1. It baffles me how many defenders of the Sprint Races we keep finding, as they concentrate everything everyone with different opinion hates about F1: procession, costs, tradition, saturation… you name it.

      It is a Frankenstein, but only because it is labelled as “new”, “exciting”, or “experiment”, people fall into the trap I’m afraid.

      1. In about 10 years, assuming F1 still exists, where Sprint races are de rigueur, there will be those clamour to go back to the traditional format, perhaps even back to the 1 hour qualifying method.

        Expect refuelling to be back soon. If F1 is going into “sustainable fuels”, there is a good chance that refuelling may become necessary to last the full races distance. Simply because “sustainable fuels” typically dont have the same amount energy density as the real stuff (happy to be proved wrong here). ….

        …but wait what? did I hear correctly? An F1 weekend with no feature race but just 3 sets of sprints did you say??

        1. @jaymenon10 It looks to me like they’re aiming to avoid refuelling. If the next generation (2025 or so) of cars can do things like tuck down their rear wings on straights they’ll use significantly less energy over the course of a race, which will allow cars to carry less energy onboard, whether that’s a lower volume of today’s fuel or a similar volume of a lower-density fuel.

        2. If F1 is going into “sustainable fuels”, there is a good chance that refuelling may become necessary to last the full races distance.

          @jaymenon10 – you know, until now I hadn’t put much though into it, but now I’m worried. Because surely the refuelling would be mandatory and wouldn’t bring any help to an inventive strategy with current lasting guidelines for the PUs, tyres and DRS.

        3. @jaymenon10

          No, they’ll just make the cars heavier again.

      2. The sprint was also overshadowed by the Ver/Hamilton incident. I’ve never seen anything more irrelevant in my life as the sprint race. Well said saying it concentrates all the bad aspects of a race without any of the good. I really hope they don’t waste anymore time on this.

        1. Rodric Ewulf
          22nd July 2021, 4:10

          If the sprint race doesn’t end in 3, 5 or at maximum 7 laps then the chequered flag happens in a very anti-climatic fashion. With the main races rarely that happens with the entire field, usually there’s some action even if limited to the midfield. A great variety of different strategies is what makes their conclusion interesting.

      3. I understand your opinion about the Sprint race.
        It baffles me that you’re baffled that people have different opinions; most even elaborate why.

        1. Smart-mouth did not double check that I mention difference of opinion in the very first sentence.
          Sigh.

          1. Not-so-smart-understander seemed to miss that I was talking about people who don’t think Sprint races ‘concentrate everything everyone hates about F1’.
            That’s your opinion. Let other’s have their own; I’m one of them.

            1. You may think whatever you want, I never challenged that. Heck, call parrot vulture, I don’t care. But what I’ve said it’s not an opinion, it’s a fact:
              – it was processional
              – it increased costs, something that contradicts the blabber from Liberty and bureaucrats
              – it harms tradition
              – it saturates, as the GP is the following session.

              Not everyone bothers with all of them, but I’ve seen most bother with at least one – and I’m sure if we give some time we’ll find more. Hence why it baffles me something so poor in quality having that many defenders as if it was sliced bread: this is my actual opinion, and for a guy who cares much about opinions, let me have mine without asking to validate yours.

            2. @niefer Literally every point you made (barring maybe the second one) is opinion, and not fact. Either acquaint yourself with the differences between the two, or refrain from passing your opinion off as fact next time.

            3. @mashiat – On second thought I could even concede the last one, had you pointed out. The first 3 are hard facts, or maybe you haven’t watched the session.

              Besides, nothing I said was meant to challenge anyone’s opinion. Which didn’t prevent me from being patrolled.

              Oh, well.

      4. It baffles me why people are so strongly against any change to the format of the weekend.

        While I think the actual Sprint itself could be improved, I think the idea of having a meaningful part of the Grand Prix on each day was a vast improvement, particularly for those at the event. I also think that the reduced practice times and early Parc Ferme seemed to be a decent improvement too. The Sprint itself was a little dull, but was it any more dull than a normal practice session, where there are long periods with nobody out on track and no competitive action?

        No, it wasn’t perfect. The Sprint Race itself needs some work, and we should consider whether there are better options. But I, personally, think we should definitely keep the weekend format of having one practice and one competitive session on each of Friday and Saturday. That part, at least, was a massive success in my opinion.

        1. I think the idea of having a meaningful part of the Grand Prix on each day was a vast improvement, particularly for those at the event. I also think that the reduced practice times and early Parc Ferme seemed to be a decent improvement too.

          This is one thing.

          The Sprint itself was a little dull, but was it any more dull than a normal practice session, where there are long periods with nobody out on track and no competitive action?

          This is something else entirely. The Sprint did not only took out one practise, it took away the importance of the most well-wrapped event in the weekend, the Qualifying. So, it messes with more than just a practise. Either way, it was unworthy of such fizz.

          You see, I’m not talking against changes per se, I am talking about what they did with the change. And it was a drag.

          Finally, you should relate events with its purposes. You can never expect a practise to be more exciting than a race as they are unrelated. Still, in the end the Sprint was vapid as any practise session can be and was way less exciting than the closing stages of any Q session.

          @drmouse

          1. @niefer

            I can understand this viewpoint, and I do see that there could do with being tweaks to the format. That said, even with what you raise, I personally still found this a massive improvement over a normal weekend, and I believe I would watching from home (although I’ll reserve judgement on that until next time). The huge improvement to the excitement in FP1 & 2 even cancels out how dull the action was in the sprint, to me, and even the sprint was more exciting IMHO than a normal practice session because it had an impact on the race and championship.

            In short, I can understand that other people have different viewpoints on this, many strongly dislike it, and I certainly believe there are improvements to be made. However, my personal opinion is that it is an improvement in many ways (including ones I never expected), and I strongly hope that it is tweaked, fettled and used a lot more in future.

            1. Fair enough, @drmouse!
              I just can’t refrain myself from being really wary towards it, given Brawn’s delusional statements and the general feeling of imposition of something that has little – not to say nought – sportive leverage.

        2. @drmouse I disagree on several of the premises you cite. I don’t think requiring people to be tuned in on 3 different days to understand what’s happening is beneficial, especially since most TV contracts won’t broadcast the Friday in any case. It might have been good for people at the circuit, but the majority of people watch remotely and most of the ticket-holders developed enough interest to pay for tickets by watching remotely first. Does everything need to be broadcast to TV? No. Do the parts that are needed to understand the race to a minimal extent need to be broadcast? Yes – which includes why the grid is arranged as it is. (Having the headline event on Friday be, for example, a race in a car typically raced in that location in order to earn a prize for driver and team, optimised for on-site spectator excitement, would work for that specific issue).

          Parc Ferme rules took a leading car out of the lead battle for the crime of trying to do something interesting in the sprint, and forced conservativism on all Saturday running. The impression given was that despite drivers saying they could push, a lot of margin appeared to be left for most of the race due to inability to catch, never mind pass, anyone else (to a greater extent than in Race Part 2). This is before taking into account that at most tracks, drivers would be better off giving up a proportional amount of race points than taking a dirty-side-of-the-grid start; most tracks would have seen savvy drivers deliberately trying to give up even-numbered start positions to the driver behind.

          Not only was the sprint (after DRS was activated) duller for me than a standard practise session, but it also gave way too much information away about how the cars ran in race trim.It took a lot of surprise out of the race. We were lucky in that Mercedes didn’t realise their main competitor for the win would be Ferrari due to Red Bull not meaningfully getting to Lap 2 of Race Part 2; it is unlikely that this will be repeated often. For me, the only session the sprint didn’t mess with was FP1.

          It’s not clear that the sprint format as given can be tweaked to prevent this from happening.

          1. @alianora-la-canta

            I can understand that the format may not be as great away from the event, and won’t be for those unable to watch all 3 competitive sessions. My own opinion is definitely coloured by my experiences at the circuit and what a massive improvement it made to the weekend there for me.

            That said, most TV contracts will not show action on a Friday right now because it’s (normally) only practice. If there is normally, or often, a competitive event on Friday, I strongly suspect that the majority will show it. This leaves those unable to watch on Friday evening due to personal time constraints, but this can be solved using time shifting (DVRs or on-demand streaming). I suspect the vast majority of this objection to be down to teething troubles (although having only ever watched from the UK, it may be that in other countries they won’t show it, I don’t know for certain).

            I’m not sure what you mean about the parc ferme extension taking one of the lead runners out. If you mean Perez, I disagree that this has anything to do with the extension of parc ferme. I may have missed something over the weekend though. I’m happy to be enlightened if I have.

            In most races, one side of the grid is more performant than the other. However, we certainly don’t see people giving up track position to be on the “right” side of the grid, and I don’t see how this would be any different with the Sprint. It would be a massive gamble, and there is rarely enough benefit to justify that risk. Unless, of course, you have data to suggest otherwise? The only time I remember seening anyone try to manipulate which side of the grid they were on was when Ferrari broke a seal on Massa’s(?) gearbox so that Alonso(?) could move up a slot onto the cleaner side of the grid.

            The lack of excitement during the sprint was, in my view, down to the same reasons many races are dull. I would agree that it was actually less exciting than the practice sessions this weekend, but the practice sessions this weekend were a lot more interesting than most, and the sprint still more interesting (to me) than the practice sessions of most weekends. If nothing else, the result of the sprint mattered for the race and championship, which practice sessions don’t. As I said, the sprint race itself needs some work, at least with the current cars. However, it is very possible that this will change next year if the cars are as much better to follow/overtake with as expected.

            I’ll wait for the next time this is on and I’m watching on TV to see if that changes my opinion. That said, I normally watch all 3 practices (normally recorded) as well as qually and the race, so I may not be your “average” fan (although from what I understand, most fans often just watch the race, so they wouldn’t be affected either way). I strongly suspect I will still find it better when watching on TV, but we’ll see…

          2. Good points raised, @alianora-la-canta!

            @drmouse – if I’m not mistaken, I guess he meant the mere fact Parc Ferme was in force between races. Given the fact the GP is way more important than the Sprint, then it could only harm strategy and whatnot it in comparison to Parc Ferme in force between Qualifying and Sprint.

            Also, you are right to point out contracts can be changed or updated. Though, I’m not sure most TV contracts would care to show Q sessions as it’s importance would be greatly reduced. Weekdays at broadcasts usually are well wrapped up with little margin to changes like that.

    2. Watching F1 since ‘97, I didn’t bother watch a sprint race on a july’s saturday afternoon. I just watched highlights, without envy but had to catch-up before the GP on sunday.

      FE side, it can rain tons of crap nobody will mind the category.

    3. My sentiments are the same as COTD.

    4. Looks like the same rain condition for London (Wales and England) as for Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

      I hope it not so severe as that but it can not harm to act if you house is in a low area…..

    5. The reason the sprint race cannot devalue the Grand Prix is because Formula 1 has a tradition of qualifying followed by one long Grand Prix per weekend. That long Grand Prix is a special event with a lot of history, and the most special moment of the race weekend. A sprint race gets in the middle of that traditional, perfect format, and last week I thought it was quite an exciting race, but generally irrelevant to the weekend (and also lessened the excitement of qualifying). But at least it was only an extension of qualifying, so it did not devalue the Grand Prix. If around ten points were awarded for the sprint race, it is definitely not an extension of qualifying, it is a second race for the weekend, and the number of points awarded means that the Grand Prix becomes less important because three sprint race wins are worth more than a Grand Prix win, which is why the sprint race would devalue the Grand Prix.

      1. If around ten points were awarded for the sprint race, it is definitely not an extension of qualifying

        I still struggle with points for Sprint Qualifying; I hope that drivers are eager enough to fight for position even without the points (we saw Alonso doing it).

        I would be open to a special Sprint Cup though (borrowed from another commenter):
        – Have up to 10 Sprint Cup Races throughout the year;
        – Award simple 20-1 points to all finishers;
        – Does NOT set the pole for the race;
        – Sprint Cup standing at end of year awards points like 1 single race (25 for leader, 18 for second, etc.)

        And here the part that most will detest, but think it through anyway:
        – sprint race 1 based on WDC standing as is.
        – next races based on reverse grid of previous race (i.e. at the start of 2nd race all is equal and you fight to get ahead). Nobody will deliberately fall back as the starting position you gain is the same points you certainly lose in the latest race.

        1. *– next races based on reverse grid of previous race finishing positions

        2. I’m on of these commenters that wouldn’t mind a Sprint Cup Championship (preferably on Friday evening) even with reverse grids in 10-12 selected tracks between the ones that pay more (basically the 3 in the Middle East and Russia) and the historic tracks like Silverstone, Monza etc.

          The weekend would be:
          Friday: FP1 in the morning, FP2 or Sprint Race (basically a long stint practice) in the evening.
          Saturday: FP3 (FP2 if there’s a Sprint Race) and parc fermé in the morning. Then the regular Qualy without changes
          Sunday : Grand Prix

          This way we have 3 days of “action” for the fans and Liberty can charge a “premium” fee for this tracks without messing around with historical statistics.

          1. I’m not sure I agree. Part of the improvement to the action across the weekend was a massive reduction in available testing time before Parc Ferme conditions kicked in. It forced everyone to focus on setup on Friday morning, and resulted in one of the most enjoyable practice sessions I’ve seen for a long time.

            I also think that doing the WC points from the Sprint Cup the way you suggest leaves the Sprint Race being not very valuable, and would lead to people not taking it very seriously, playing it safe.

            1. I also think that doing the WC points from the Sprint Cup the way you suggest leaves the Sprint Race being not very valuable, and would lead to people not taking it very seriously, playing it safe.

              Even with 10 races it will be roughly the same as now.
              If you win all 10 then you get 30 points now; if you win the Sprint Cup you get 25 points.
              The interesting bit is that towards the end the Sprint Cup becomes as exciting as the full WDC to see who’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.

              And with the Sprint Cup on Friday as suggested, it will still only leave 1hr FP before that race.
              But personally I would allow to leave Parc Fermee ouvert after that until the cars leave for Quali proper.

    6. COTD: I think we should leave it as it is, in terms of points. 3,2,1 format is already fine.

    7. Re Ocon: Only just this, Este. Your team ain’t closer to your former team or McLaren.
      Re Corberi: Let it stay like this.
      Re F2: What I’d like to see is the new format reverted in both F2 and F3.

    8. Ricky Bobby might need one of them new chassis things, too.

    9. I did feel the sprint devalued the GP to some extent as for me personally seeing a full race build-up/start on Saturday made me less hyped for the start of the GP as it was something i’d already seen the day before. The GP start felt a bit like a red flag restart which never feel as exciting as the initial race start as we’ve already seen one.

      I also felt it took away a bit from the GP in that it gave a clearer picture of car’s race performance & how difficult following/overtaking was going to be which again made me a bit less hyped for the GP.

      And you have other scenarios such as points from the sprint deciding the championship on Saturday, Out of position drivers from qualifying recovering on Saturday taking action away from the GP among other things which will also devalue the GP to some extent.

      I also felt it devalued qualifying as it took away some of the excitement/tension due to knowing it wasn’t setting the grid for the GP making it feel less important than usual. We had a great end to qualifying but it just sort of felt a bit flat due to having the sprint race as an extra step between it & the GP.

      I just didn’t like it, Not just the sprint but the weekend format as a whole. I honestly don’t think I could have disliked the whole thing much more than I did. As i’ve said a few times now I just still see far more negatives than positives & believe me i’ve tried looking for things to be positive about it & simply can’t.

    10. Very pleased that Esteban Ocon is coming back to his normal form after four underwhelming weekends (two of them almost in-and-out rock bottom of the competitive field in terms of final results). I hope it’s a sign of him turning a corner over misfortune like Fernando did from the beginning of the season onwards.

      I’ve watched Formula 1 regularly since 2003 and as such I saw almost everything from Fernando’s long career, enjoying his drives and rooting for him since the beginning too when I was just a kid, and I’ve come to realise that Esteban is the first of Fernando’s huge list of team-mates for which I developed some affinity. His story is very interesting and he seems a guy to get along also, then I really wish him success and being able to push Fernando to new heights for himself. It’d be rather awesome whenever he challenges the Principe de Asturias on-track, as I hope what he gets from the experience of being his team-mate at Alpine is to become stronger than before, I know it’s a difficult task (as it will never be easy with Fernando, the meme says it all) but he still can do it, I think.
      To summarise how difficult is to avoid getting out weaker from a intra-team clash against Fernando, just look at his records. He is the only in the current grid never beaten by a team-mate by 5 points or more along a season, what’s exceptional given that he’s already on the 18th season and counting, having driven the dirty out of weak and difficult cars and pouncing on the tide of stronger ones that gave him two titles, for instance. He can pretty much be described as a F1 career reaper, as a consequnce of that, giving it a blow or ending up outright the careers of a long list of drivers (on top of my mind: Trulli, Fisichella, Piquet Jr., Massa, Raikkonen, Button, and the classic case, Vandoorne). I don’t know how his new stint at Alpine will pan out, but I think Esteban has the qualities to avoid being added to this burial (or nearly burial) list. He showed that in the beginning of the year when Fernando was completing his adaptation process going back to F1 business. I doubt Vardoorne would have scored that amount of points in his place while the more experienced team-mate was struggling on quali and the Alpine car was (and to this date still remains) only the 7th outright fastest on the grid. Too much early to say Ocon will be Vandoorned, but one thing is certain: Alonso is already giving his best on top form and is currently one of the most consistent drivers on the grid alongside Norris, and one of the most relentlessly fastest of the current field alongside Verstappen.

      Reply moderated
      1. I don’t know which other driver in the history of Formula 1 has such amazing record against team-mates as this one from which Fernando made his reputation of. Maybe only Prost and Fangio actually.

        Reply moderated
      2. He is the only in the current grid never beaten by a team-mate by 5 points or more along a season, what’s exceptional given that he’s already on the 18th season and counting

        Of course it’s true considering all drivers with more than 3 seasons and only the ones regularly driving for teams that aren’t completely in the back foot of the grid, at least lower midfield. Or else it’s rather easy to not be beaten by a team-mate specially with the margin of points required.

        Reply moderated
    11. The ban on Corberi is much, much, much too harsh. The driver he was angry at drove in a reprehensible manner and was Disqualified. We have seen Maldonado do much worse things in lower level formula and in F1. Vettel is another who deliberately drove into Hamilton in 2017. Ticktum used his car as a weapon. Mazepin got in a physical fight with Ilott. Yet all these drivers got relatively minor penalties. The FIA show one set of rules for some and another for Colberi.

      1. Forget Maldonado, Mazepin, even Ticktum.

        Crashgate.

        For that unprecedented thing those who were in charge recieved what? Couple of years ban? And now certain Pat Symonds enjoying his new job at the very high of nothing less than Formula 1 itself. Still, unbelievable. Personally, I recognize that as a crime and nothing else. Those people should’ve been put in jail. But instead two wealthy and “reputable” men got two year ban for planning and ordering their driver to deliberately crash during the World Championship Grand Prix of the so called “pinnacle of motorsport” racing series, intentionally putting him and the rest of the drivers, track personnel and other people in danger and fixing the race result by that, while an ordinary kid got 15 years for his stupid act made in a heat of the moment. Absolutely disgusting.

        1. Tim, F1 tried to give a heavy punishment to Pat and Flavio (5 years – which back then was the next step down from life – and life respectively), but a French civil court struck down part of the punishment as incompatible with justice and the right to earn a living, so Pat only got a 3-year-ban with “probation” in year 3 (he was allowed to work in F1 but not in a trackside capacity). This is also why Flavio has been seen in the paddocks occasionally, prior to his tax/fraud convictions – his lifetime ban was forcibly reduced to 5 years by the same court. Had F1 denied Pat the position based on Singapore 2008 (and not on other grounds), then F1 would have been in front of a French court for breach of court orders, potentially leading to jail time.

          Also, it’s not just the “kid” (who’s 23) whose case was upheld here. (Note said case involved ignoring marshal instructions in order to throw a heavy object onto a live track, aimed at a competitor, and then getting into a post-race fight. That’s not “heat of the moment”, there was plenty of time to not do the latter and some to not do the former). His father, who owned the track and participated in the post-race fight, has the same penalty for facilitating the trouble.

      2. Alex Roy Corberi didn’t just use his car as a weapon (though he did), he also threw objects at competitors and got involved in a pitlane fight.

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