Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2022

Hamilton won’t remove “welded in” earrings despite FIA’s reminder to drivers

2022 Australian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says he is unable to comply with the FIA’s demand that drivers remove all body piercings.

During the Australian Grand Prix weekend, new FIA Formula 1 race director Niels Wittich issued a reminder to drivers that the International Sporting Code forbids drivers from wearing piercings.

“The wearing of jewellery in the form of body piercing or metal neck chains is prohibited during the competition and may therefore be checked before the start,” Wittich noted.

The restriction on the wearing of jewellery is part of the regulations which define drivers’ safety equipment. However, Hamilton said some of his earrings are fixed in place in a way which makes them impossible to remove.

“I don’t have any plans on removing them,” said Hamilton, who had his ears pierced after he made his F1 debut in 2007. “I feel there are personal things, you should be able to be who you are.

“They’re stuff that I can’t move. I literally can’t even take these out – these ones in my right ear – they’re literally welded in, so I’d have to get them chopped off or something like that. So they’ll be staying.”

During the weekend drivers were also reminded to comply with the need to comply with the sport’s regulations on fireproof underwear.

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2022 Australian Grand Prix

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

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93 comments on “Hamilton won’t remove “welded in” earrings despite FIA’s reminder to drivers”

  1. Well, I guess we’ll have to see whether the FIA tries to enforce that to the letter, find a way to explain the need away somehow or we see Hamilton (not sure about others, but this article mentions him making a statement about the issue) change his stance.

    1. Indeed @bascb, also I feel like someone close to him and/or his team should maybe have asked Hamilton to reconsider when he put in those things, considering it is a long standing rule in the sport he’s in.

    2. This seems like a very outdated rule that needs to go, and im surprised that Wittich felt the need to look into it. Unless jewelry affects safety in some way, it’s none of the FIAs business.

    3. It is quite easy to understand. In case of an accident, an emergency MRI could be required. In such a case, removing all those “welded” metal ornaments could take the time required to save his life. It is common sense and nothing against him.

      I am still surprised that he was at this point the FIA is still allowing to race with all that metal in a driver’s body. Lewis will have to choose between racing and wearing metal ornaments. He can do both, but not at the same time for safety reasons.

      1. If it was an emergency they absolutely would not waste time removing earrings. They do not fly out. (I am a radiographer)

  2. So … how long has Lewis been allowed to compete without complying with the ISC? Who else has and for how long?

    Also, any other driver planning to relinquish their seat because they “feel” like not complying with the rules?

    1. RandomMallard
      11th April 2022, 8:25

      Because the FIA have a bit of a habit of being a bit gutless when it comes to enforcing some of their rules properly. Most notably over recent years with track limits.

    2. A number of drivers, with rings being the most common.
      But the reality is, as Gasly pointed out in his own unique way, the FIA are not bothered about the metal bits the male and female drivers have under their suits. And they certainly won’t be checking for that.

    3. Mick Schumacher still wears necklaces, pretty much every single married driver wears their wedding rings (Leclerc wears two rings) – virtually every driver on the grid would be in breach of the rules.

    4. Coventry Climax
      11th April 2022, 14:25

      Hamilton being unable to take it out is utter nonsense ofcourse, there’s always the dentist’s angled grinder or such to remove them, so it’s just a matter of willingness, a decision.

      And since this was a rule already even before Hamilton decided to start wearing jewellery, his decision was a deliberate break of regulations. I clearly remember the commotion about it -and said rules- when he did it.
      If the FIA had had any little spherical objects at all, they would have had more than ample opportunity to disqualify him since then, and enforce their point. Let’s see what happens at the next race(s).
      You could even argue he should turn in his championships for this.

      But since the FIA will never grow a pair, I doubt anything will change.

      1. “they’re literally welded in” Run a video of the welding procedure. “TiG”? “MiG”? “Stick”? “Oxy-Acetelyne”? ZAP!

        Bet they meant “figuratively” …

        1. Contact welding?

        2. Forge welded, surely.

  3. One reprimand per weekend and very quickly Sir Lewis “You guys put me in a really difficult position” Hamilton will find a way to adhere to regulations, I’m sure about it. Russell must be grinning from ear to ear, not only beating his team mate after 3 races and destroying him in Saudi Arabia, but also seeing Hamilton tilting at windmills.

    1. I bet you have a dart board with Hamilton’s face on it.

      Clearly he is a big part of your life.

      1. Sorry, I’m not called Toto Wolff.

        1. As your name states, you are only useful as a chair arm. No brain, no ethics, nothing.

        2. We’d already deduced that. He’s class personified, to such a degree that when he makes a criticism people take notice.

          You’re the exact opposite, with the exact opposite outcome.

    2. My goodness you really have some issues!

      Hamilton was referring to the position of being able to chase his team mate down but possibly not finishing or not doing so and finishing. A difficult position…

      How you got that to Russell’s performance so far whereby he lucked into a position change, I simply cannot imagine.

      I mean, if we did not know better we might suspect you have an agenda?

      1. It’s very difficult to understand what Sir Lewis Hamilton and his pearls of wisdom broadcast on team radio really mean. For example, “Is there even a point for 10th position?” with current points system in place for the last 13 years. Or my absolute favourite “What number is that, man?” when being asked to turn the switch to position 7. Truly remarkable and fascinating mind.

        1. Your favourite is when Ham; like a multitude of other drivers at any race meet, ask for a repeat or more info when he gets a garbled message such as ‘Magic s,,$%’ or he is busy going through a corner and doesn’t catch it all?
          You sad little man.

    3. This fantasy of Lewis felling pressured, humiliated and exposed, only exists in your head, and in the heads of other pathetic people.

  4. Unnecessarily trivial things anyway, so I’m surprised how FIA suddenly became obsessed about things they hadn’t been obsessed about before. BTW, Hamilton got his ears pierced in 2010, not debut season.
    I double-checked by looking through old images as I immediately recalled him first getting that in either 2010 or 2011.
    Nevertheless, the main point matters.

    1. Safety is not a trivial thing! As an unconscious race accident patient, he may require an urgent MRI. And you want the nurses or doctors have to fight with his silly little welded ear-ring when his life is on the line?

      1. Good point. I hadn’t thought of it. But are all metals forbidden during MRI, or only ferromagnetic metals?

        1. All metals. I have to remove my silver chain when I get an MRI on my back. Last one I went into the room in a gown and I had my Sidi boots on. Had to take them off as the toe + heel sliders and shin plate are held on with screws.

          1. No, not all metals. I have a steel plate in my neck with screws and I have had plenty of MRIs.

        2. Coventry Climax
          11th April 2022, 14:36

          They even asked me about the chance of metal splinters in my eyes. Admitting that I had done some grinding, and in some trivial cases may not be very strict with eye protection, they took X-rays first to confirm there were none, before sending me off to the MRI. That should tell you something about the urgence of there not being any metal present.

        3. Richard Freeth
          11th April 2022, 15:48

          MRI and metal is fine, provided the metal is fixed in place and not very large. I have metal fillings in my teeth, and that was fine. My wife has pins in her leg, and they also were not removed for her MRI either. This big issue is if they can move and cause damage, for example a metal splinter in the eye. Given the earrings are fixed, it wouldn’t prevent the MRI scan. However staff would waste time trying to remove them. Given the fuss now with Lewis, enough people would know not to bother.

        4. There’s about half-a-dozen diamagnetic metals that don’t distort MRI (including stainless steel, titanium and non-magnetic cobalt-chromium alloys) and these are theoretically permissible in such a scanner. As a general rule, metal work in the body tends to be made of categories of metal that either don’t distort MRI, or distort it in a way that can be accounted for due to medical experience of its own work (the latter is why pacemakers can generally be worn in MRIs, provided they’re not so (para)magnetic, or so sized/positioned, as to cause a safety risk). Nonetheless, always declare any medical metals you know about if going for an MRI because that makes it easier to produce scans both safely and in optimal detail for diagnosis.

          Jewellery that is not verifiably made from a non-distorting metal doesn’t have that research experience behind it, so doesn’t get a pass in the same way that medical metals do. (Emergency MRIs are not the time to be arguing over whether jewellery material can be verified as MRI-safe in any case; people with fixed jewellery like Hamilton’s are best advised to have this mentioned in a hospital-passport-style document that follows them into medical settings and have an advocate to verbally remind staff).

          However, the original reason the FIA banned metal jewellery back in 2005 was because all metals increase the risk of burns on skin underneath it if cars catch fire. I remember Tonio Liuzzi, who wore a lot of jewellry back then, complained at length about this, on the basis that if the fire was hot enough for this to happen, the driver (in 2005-spec fireproofs) probably had bigger problems. Of course, the standard for fireproofs has improved a lot in the intervening 17 years, making such an argument obsolete.

      2. @Amian: Safety is not a trivial thing! As an unconscious race accident patient, he may require an urgent MRI.

        That is not unique to race drivers, or even drivers in general. You could encounter that scenario after an injury on a building site, for example, or playing in a rugby match, or skating at an ice rink. Are you suggesting that this type of ear ring be banned in all walks of life in case an accident happens? Unless there is a specific added risk associated with motor sport, I don’t really see how it falls within the remit of the FIA.

        There is also the question of people with metal joints or plates on broken bones. I can think of several cases in Moto GP where riders have ridden with plates in the ankle etc, or pins in a fractured arm, and there is simply no way those things could be removed to enable an MRI scan, so I struggle to see how you could allow that but ban an earring on safety grounds.

        1. Rugby players et al are required to remove all jewelry before being allowed to play, on safety grounds.

          It’s not too much to ask car racing drivers to do the same.

      3. The doctors can and will cut off the earrings then. Rings and chains are totally different though. This can mangle the body. But earring knobs?! That’s taking things too far by the FIA.

  5. Chris Horton
    11th April 2022, 8:33

    Welded in piercings?

    Just be honest, say you don’t agree with the rule and you won’t be complying. Remains to be seen what the consequences are.

    1. He’s calling solder/brazing “welding”. Doesn’t know any better.

      1. You can have jewlery welded, including piecings… I don’t know the exact method applicable to Lewis’. Do you?

    2. How much do they weigh?
      Could be worth thousandths, if not hundredths, per lap.

      1. Before the jewellery ban came in, Renault had a mechanic, one of whose jobs was to ensure drivers removed all rings and other non-essential apparel prior to getting in the car. It was pointed out to the interviewer that the six-hundreths of a second per lap this was believed to save was the difference between first and second on the grid for at least one race in the previous 12 months…

  6. This is supposed to be a safety regulations, if I understand it correctly. If a driver is injured and they need to remove their helmet, or other clothing, they can’t be worried about whether they will catch jewelry, or what they should do if he was unconscious and needed an MRI etc. There are similar rules in other workplaces for similar reasons.

    As many will know, I’m a Hamilton fan, but in this case I think he is in the wrong and seeing a bad example for younger drivers. He shouldn’t have had an earring “welded in” and should now have it removed and replaced with something he can take out. This isn’t a petty rule, it’s there for a good reason and should be followed. If he wants, he could talk to the FIA and try to get them rule changed, but he should be following it now.

    1. I quite agree as it’s enforced all down through the classes.

      That said I can understand Hamilton being pretty cheesed off at the current enforcement of the rules including his party fines following last years complete debacle regardless of the correctness of the new regime.

      I am stunned he is even racing in all honesty.

    2. Yeah it’s simply down to medical impediment and/or reactive reasons e.g. a tractotomy through a helmet is probably a lot harder with a gold necklace to navigate around, likewise an MRI.

  7. Imagine telling the meds “you should be able to be who you are!” when getting an ECG !

  8. What is the problem? How is an earring dangerous?

    If it gets torn off because his helmet is being roughly removed then he probably needs serious medical attention already and a torn earlobe isn’t going to make things any worse.
    I read that “they may melt in a fire”!
    If the heat is enough to melt your earring then you have already lost at least that side of your face and your hair is probably on fire.

    I can not see what the problem with an earring is.

    1. I agree over earrings having had to obey the rule for years but wearing finger rings is really silly and I notice a number of them do.

      That is dangerous for many reasons.

      Frankly I can’t understand how they drive with them on because in lower classes the weight of steering gear changing etc creates some horrific blisters and you pretty much only forget it once!

    2. I can not see what the problem with an earring is.

      The problem is: wearing one or more is against the rules. The end.
      If the FIA actually applied all of their rules all of the time, this would never have become an issue in the first place.

      I think some drivers would be very miffed if they received a ‘torn earlobe’ as their image is a huge part of their income. These generally aren’t people who are truly satisfied just to be alive.
      Melting in a fire isn’t a major problem with metals, obviously – but they can certainly create complications during an emergency MRI or ECG.
      If you can’t see what the problem is, it’s because you aren’t looking.

      If the drivers want complete emergency medical care in the event of a major incident – they’ll comply.
      If they don’t, they are increasing their own risks, and making it difficult for medical staff.

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        11th April 2022, 10:40

        It is after 12 years that it has now become an issue to be enforced.

        1. Better late than never, right @andyfromsandy?
          As I said the other day, it seems as though people at the FIA only read the rule book when they start a new job.

      2. If the FIA actually applied all of their rules all of the time, this would never have become an issue in the first place.

        Same applies to Masi at Abu Dhabi then? Or the earring is more worth dying on a hill for?

        1. Tell me which part of the ISC can be interpreted as allowing drivers to wear jewellery, @david-br.
          Would you want to die for an earring or a nose ring? How would your family and friends feel if that was the main reason you didn’t receive emergency care in time?

          Why can’t people just respect the rules and the rule administrators?
          You can be an individual and wear whatever you like for the other 290 days of the year that you don’t drive an F1 car – and even for most of the hours of those 75 days when you do.

          1. S, not disagreeing with you or “challenging” you, but I just thought of some moto Gp or bike racers who are ” held together with rods screws plates etc. Perhaps another form of imaging may need to be used. I have regular PET or CT scans and MRI’S. Tell them no dentures implants hearing aids etc. Finally asked why so absolutely strict about MRI (seemingly not so about the others). Their answer was the huge amount of magnetism could result in bits of metal flying all over the machine. @nullapax I imagine immobilising the neck rather than ripping a helmet off would be the priority.

          2. You completely ignored my first question!

            Why can’t people just respect the rules and the rule administrators?

            Including those applying the rules, right? Surely you have enough self-awareness to realise you’re demanding absolute adherence in one case and a complete abandonment of the rules (Masi in Abu Dhabi) in another? Only in the first case we’re talking about an infringement with virtually zero real-world relevance, in the second a tearing up of the rules that led to a different driver winning the race and championship.

          3. You completely ignored my first question!

            I didn’t ignore you @david-br, I answered you.

            Tell me which part of the ISC can be interpreted as allowing drivers to wear jewellery, @david-br.

            The key word here is “interpreted” – That’s what Masi did at Abu Dhabi.
            The FIA even said exactly that in their report.

            And are you actually arguing that because a rule was “abandoned” (strictly in your opinion) that it directly justifies ignoring other rules?
            That’s some crazy logic, man.
            If you want real world relevance, why are you even talking about F1? I’d certainly list emergency medical care as a more real-world issue with potentially serious consequences than the outcome of some meaningless car race.

          4. Of course Masi completely threw out SC procedure, as FIA (and the rest of the non-orange world) also observed. His only ‘interpretation’ was that he interpreted the rule book to say he could do whatever he wanted (which was a wrong interpretation: you realise those exist, right?).

            If they had to emergency scan someone for traumatic head injuries, I don’t think an earring (or an ear) would present more than a fleeting issue. And it’s Hamilton’s choice, surely. Maybe he would be advised to remove them, it just seems a bizarre issue to get worked up about and motivated more by who this particular driver is… Plenty of people in motorsport have metal implants they can do nothing about, including some with cranial implants, I’d imagine.

          5. Okay, forget Abu Dhabi then. That’s clearly a dead end.

            And no, it’s not Hamilton’s choice to pick and choose which rules apply to him – he is an FIA-licensed international racing driver. He and his licence are subject to the rules of the FIA and their International Sporting Code. Both sides can terminate – the driver if they choose not to comply, and the FIA if the driver chooses not to comply.
            I don’t care who it is, nor do most other people as far as I can tell. The fact that we are all talking about Hamilton in particular is because this site made this article about Hamilton in particular. Your beef is with Keith.

            Yes, lots of people in motorsport have metal implants – but they were all (presumably) put there for medical reasons, not solely for cosmetic/vanity reasons.

        2. @S: Why can’t people just respect the rules and the rule administrators?

          I remember some years ago, probably the 1980s, one of the FIA officials tried to insist that drivers should have neat haircuts. If a rule has a genuine and unambiguous safety reason then people should be happy to follow it, but when it sounds like petty bureaucracy, why should those administrators be allowed to impose their own ideas onto the sport?

          For rules like this, I’d like to know where it is based on evidence instead of opinion. I think everyone can see that in open-top racing, a heavy gold chain worn around the neck on the outside of the race suit could easily rip off at speed and hit the driver behind, causing injuries similar to those Massa suffered when a torsion spring came off a car in front, which nearly ended his career. I find it harder to imagine what safety issues could arise from a driver wearing a ring or similar under his race suit. I’m quite open to evidence, simple stats on how many people are injured as a result of this, etc, but the arguments I am reading here sound like post-hoc attempts to justify the rule rather than arguments which created the necessity for the rule.

          1. The rule exists, Aland. That is the point.

            How many road rules or other laws do you disobey simply because you don’t think they are right or don’t agree with them?

            This rule in particular isn’t just about the individual wearing said attachments, but about the medical staff, the care they provide, and the decisions they need to take to provide that care. It’s about protecting them too.
            Add the complication that the media are watching everything that happens to these people, and the consequences potentially much stronger and more widespread for any complications.
            This isn’t open civilian society. Participating in FIA-sanctioned sporting series and being a racing driver are optional. If you don’t want to play by the rules, you shouldn’t get to play.

    3. @nullapax It’s in the event that a driver has a very serious accident (think Schumacher skiing serious), and they need to perform an MRI scan or other such medical procedures. You can’t wear most metals inside an MRI machine as it uses magnetism. So if they’re welded in, it’ll be someones job to take a pair of scissors to his lobes.

      Of course this is all very unlikely to ever happen, hence why the FIA hasn’t bothered enforcing it, but it’s just a bit unnecessary, especially when being who he is when he’s asked not to wear them he is a fluorescent yellow helmet anyway.

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        11th April 2022, 10:39

        The heat never got to Grosjean’s face. I would think the balaclava would stay in place when the crash helmet is removed. On the way to the MRI all metal can be removed.

    4. @nullapax The rule has never specified earrings; it covers all metallic jewellery regardless of the body part involved, and the original reason was because skin under metal burns more easily than skin that isn’t under metal.

  9. Some drivers have such inflated egos that they can’t help thinking they’re above the sport’s rules.

    I’d laugh my socks off if he gets a DSQ for not adhering to these pretty basic rules.

    1. I suppose we’ll see who has more juice, Hamilton or the FIA.

      1. If they go after the others eg: Seb about his wedding ring (you can see it in the no hands scooter pic) then they have to go after Hamilton for his as well.

  10. The rules are the rules and you do not get to choose which ones you follow. Last year the FIA was publicly criticized by the media, teams and drivers for the application of the rules to the point where the FIA reputation was questioned. The hard line from the FIA should have been anticipated as it looks to regain control. The teams are responsible their cars bring compliant and for breaches they are disqualified no matter if there is an advantage or not. The teams should be reminded that their drivers must also be compliant with the rules else they will be disqualified. Post race checks with a portable scanner would be simple and I do not see the teams loosing points/money over a drivers jewelry.

  11. Those earrings are giving him an unfair advantage over his rivals.

    1. Lewisham Milton
      11th April 2022, 15:07

      If they’re in his right ear, he’ll struggle at an anti-clockwise circuit like Imola.

  12. Welded in?

    He changes those things all the time – diamonds, dangley ones, studs. If only there were some photographs of him online to confirm…

    1. How does he get through Airport security..

      1. Same way I and a million others with plates/screws in their body. The security aren’t stupid. They wand you and it goes off where it shouldn’t. They ask you, and you tell them. Some times they’ll ask to see the scar(s) and you show them. Carry on. Occasionally they’ll ask prior to wanding you if you have implants.

      2. My wife has a bracelet which can not be removed without a screwdriver. Airport security are quite happy with it because they can see it. In fact she keeps all her other jewellery on because she knows she will be ‘wanded’ anyway. Airport security have never complained.

        1. Yes. Security is generally only worried about things that they can’t see – the time I wore a lanyard with a metal clasp through a scanner because I’d temporarily forgotten it had one got security pretty worried because that clasp was under my T-shirt rather than over it *facepalm*

    2. The hoops in the Helix of his ear are “continuous” loops (ends are soldered, brazed, or induction joined). You can’t take them out and put them in without mechanically breaking the joint or cutting them.

      1. Must only be in his left ear, can’t see any in the photo above?

  13. That’s such a BS. Who cares what ornaments (earings, piercings, tatoos, etc) the drivers add to their bodies?
    FIA should be more concerned about their race directors following safety and race rules, so they could avoid the 2021 Abu Dhabi fiasco.

    1. They care about drivers not getting burnt for no good reason.

  14. Scooters, earrings, it’s the death of driver autonomy by a thousand little cuts!
    Or maybe FIA just has too much time on its hands now everybody is behaving on track.

  15. :D As long as drivers don’t wear a 5kg golden chain…

    But I guess they remove those as it is, because of weight penalty.

    Next will be removal of excess hair? Sounds more of a safety hazard than tiny ingrown earrings.

    1. There’s already a rule for that – anything that cannot be got under a balaclava is considered excess hair as far as the regulations are concerned.

  16. It’s good ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  17. FIA are also “set for clampdown on F1 driver underwear“, which sounds both unnecessary and unnecessarily painful…

  18. Exceptions prove rules. Lewis will be the exception that proves this one.

    1. It will prove that common sense rarely prevails.

  19. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    11th April 2022, 16:11

    In general this is just another topic for people who don’t like Hamilton to get all bent out of shape.

    1. Yeah, sure it is. It’s always about Hamilton. Everything is about Hamilton. (rolls eyes)

    2. @andyfromsandy evidently so – it is rather a sign of the times when there are multiple individuals here who seem to be more upset about Hamilton wearing a piece of jewellery than a driver giving a fascist salute on a podium, with the former apparently being more worthy of condemnation than the latter.

      1. One is knowingly breaking a written rule that they are obliged to abide by as a condition of holding their FIA racing licence and participating in FIA-sanctioned racing events.
        The other is a 15 year old kid who has probably never been told why he shouldn’t do this particular move, which, in itself as an unknowing participant or observer, would be totally harmless.

      2. Of course Lewis will draw more attention than a little boy in the go-kart. The one thing they both have in common is they both made headlines. Now if that kid could be seen wearing an earring…

    3. So if Masi (arguably) does not comply with a FIA rule he is crucified, and when Hamilton does not comply with a FIA rule it is a silly rule anyway? That about right?

  20. But it’s ok to race in a country that the leader murdered an American journalist and had him sawed up into small pieces? What a joke.

    1. And the relationship with hams earrings is???

      1. The leader in question was sporting a Prince Albert I believe.

      2. The safety equivalent of being penny-wise and pound-foolish.

  21. Would have been the first time the cranemaster considers the rules apply in its case

  22. @juan-fanger, Rugby player was a poor choice of example, as I was thinking of things that non-professionals might do which can result in head injury, e.g. messing about in the park playing touch football, but I could just as easily have said a window cleaner who has to climb ladders, the Amazon delivery van driver, and so on. It is not just racing drivers who can suffer severe head injuries. I know that professionals in contact sports are required to remove jewellery, but F1 isn’t a contact sport. You shouldn’t be at risk of breaking a tooth on someone else’s ear ring, so you can’t argue that the mere fact they are both sportsmen makes it comparable.

    I am also not convinced that MRI is used in emergency situations. X-rays yes, maybe tomography, but MRI for frontline emergency? I’ve never heard of that, but if anyone with actual clinical experience of this can comment, I’d love to hear of it. For that matter, if anyone reading this has worked in A&E and can comment on what actual problems arise when patients are wearing jewellery, I’d love to hear that too, (as opposed to armchair theories).

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