F1 Fanatic round-up: 21/2/2010

The off-season is rapidly drawing to a close – the first race of the season is just three weeks away.

Although there’s something to be said for the intrigue of testing and the exciting first glimpses of new cars, I’ll be happier when the proper action gets started. Until then, here’s today’s round-up:

Links

Alonso: Ferrari best car I’ve ever had (Autosport)

McLaren may have topped the combined times for the two tests at Jerez, but there seems to be more of a buzz around Ferrari’s chances this year.

U.S. Team Struggling to Reach Start Line (New York Times)

Ken Anderson: “We?re working with the FIA to clarify how many races we can miss. In an ideal world, we can miss the first four races and show up in Barcelona”

Q&A with Mark Webber (F1.com)

Mark Webber on Adrian Newey: “Adrian, unfortunately, always moves the bar very high for himself. He is such a genius that, as you can see, many here have copied some of his concepts from last year. Adrian is a very competitive guy, whether on the tennis court or on his drawing board. He is always looking for performance, and luckily for him, he is a big part of the performance of the car. He always seems to know which areas you need to focus on. It is good to have him in your corner.”

Comment of the day

Abuelo Paul has noticed something important missing from the official F1 website:

Is Sauber officially entered in the 2010 F1 championship? There appears to be a noticeable lack of team and driver info on the official F1 web site. If yes, why no info, if no why are they testing?
Abuelo Paul

BMW Sauber has been listed as an official entry, but their driver numbers have not been confirmed yet. As for why there’s nothing about them on the F1 website, I’ve no idea, but you can find out about them here:

Happy birthday!

Two birthdays today – happy birthday to Lou and Nirupam!

On this day in F1

Now here’s an interesting quote from Virgin boss Richard Branson one year ago:

I love Grands Prix. I think if Bernie Ecclestone can make it more cost effective for the likes of Virgin brand to come in to that sport and if he can champion clean motor car racing – which is possible to do by making sure that all the cars run on clean fuel – then at some stage we might be interested in getting involved.

With the Resource Restriction Agreement in place I can see how F1 may be more cost-effective this year than last. But how is it meeting Branson’s desire for using clean fuel?

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75 comments on F1 Fanatic round-up: 21/2/2010

  1. scunnyman said on 21st February 2010, 1:20

    I beklive that if a team is not ready for the start of a season then they should not be given a chance to start later in that season.
    They should then wait until they are more professional and ready next season.

    the FIA would not give a chance to the likes of Mclaren and others

  2. Ned Flanders said on 21st February 2010, 1:45

    James Allen made a good point about the the 13th entry mess. He said that the FIA needs to consider not only whether USF1 can make it to the grid in 2010 but whether they are a serious long term prospect.

    I don’t think there’s much doubt that technichally (and probably financially) Stefan GP are in much better shape than USF1 right now, but at least USF1 is a true manufacturer. Who knows whether Stefan GP are genuinely in a position to start building their own cars soon rather than simply buying Toyota’s leftovers.

    • Oliver said on 21st February 2010, 2:28

      USF1 is a true manufacturer? Or do you mean constructors?
      Did Mercedes not only became a constructor after they bought the BrawnGP team?

      Like wise Honda became a Constructor after they bought BAR?

      Renault, after they bought Benetton?

      BMW after they bought Sauber?

      RedBull, after they purchased Jaguar?

      So if StephanGP is buying the bulk of the toyota unit, don’t they become constructors?
      You don’t have to start your operation from flint. Its expedient to get into this game running, rather than crawling, because you do not prove any point by reinventing the wheel.

      • Prisoner Monkeys said on 21st February 2010, 2:46

        James Allen made a good point about the the 13th entry mess. He said that the FIA needs to consider not only whether USF1 can make it to the grid in 2010 but whether they are a serious long term prospect.

        He also picked up on the fact that if they deny USF1 an entry, it will be seen as an admission that they didn’t do their diligence during the selection process (even if they did do it, you know the fans will use it as anti-FIA ammunition).

        So if StephanGP is buying the bulk of the toyota unit, don’t they become constructors?

        All teams are considered constructors, even when they sub-contract the design work out to a studio like Dallara or Lola. That’s why it’s called the World Constructors’ Championship. In order to be considered a manufacturer, teams must design and build their own engine and chassis.

        • Oliver said on 21st February 2010, 7:05

          Yeah I knew that, I was asking that of the ealier post. Because he had the impression that only when you make your car from clay, that you are a constructor, or manufacturer as he put it.

          • Ned Flanders said on 21st February 2010, 14:43

            By manufacturers I mean constructors. I’m not particuarly bothered about the precise definitions of which is which. The point is, at least USF1 are showing some (admittedly poor) evidence of trying to build a car.

        • Good point about due diligence. Prodrive and Lola would be watching very closely indeed…

    • Yes, unfortunately I don’t see USF1 having a long-term future. They are scrambling just to make payroll. (One day late in January, according to the Times.)

      They thought an American team would bring in sponsors. It didn’t.

      They think leeway from the FIA will bring in sponsors. It won’t.

      • You make very valid points.

        I believe there are two major problems here.

        1. The serious vetting errors made by the Mosley regime at FIA when they should have carried out due dilligence on every aspect of the new teams technical abilities, financial status, and most impportant of all, their full business plan for the next 2-3 years. But we have a new regime at FIA. Can Todt simply wash his hands of past malpractise ?

        2. The massive cultural differences between American and the rest of the world when it comes down to motor racing. There are undoubtedly a great many US fans of F1, but sadly they are totally overwhelmed by the mass attitude to ‘foreign’ ways of doing things. You only have to look at all their major sports. Are they the same ones the rest of the world plays ?

        It’s very sad to write these things. F1 needs at least two F1 circuits in the USA, one on the east coast and one in California. But we are as far from having that happy situation as we ever were, and USF1 in it’s current guise, is not, sadly, going to help us get there.

        • FLuidd said on 21st February 2010, 11:08

          I do not agree , I’ve always thought US was the worst market to expand F1. It’s better for F1 to stay exclusive to Europe and Asia.

          • maciek said on 21st February 2010, 14:01

            “It’s better for F1 to stay exclusive to Europe and Asia

            What is your reason for saying that?

            Seems to me that we should have at least two races in South America (bring back Argentina!) and one in Canada (I won’t go on my usual rant about the Montreal circuit).

            The thing with the US is that you will simply not get most Americans interested in a sport in which Americans do not participate – just won’t happen, no way, no how, forget it. That is why USF1 would have been such a good thing, such a good investment (in every sense of the word) in the future of F1 in ‘the Americas.’ And possibly one reason for their failure to gather up the necessary sponsorship in the States was the fact that, as Zerogee aptly explained in another thread, there was actually not that much US in USF1.

          • maciek said on 21st February 2010, 14:08

            + it is always good to have actual reasons for calling a World Championship a World Championship.

          • Ned Flanders said on 21st February 2010, 14:52

            Yeah it would be great if it really was a genuine World Championship. Europe should have the most races, but ideally it would be great if each other continent had two races each… Including Antarctica!

          • sato113 said on 21st February 2010, 23:13

            diagree there mate.

    • kapow said on 21st February 2010, 6:11

      I think the argument is USF1′s long-term capability versus StefanGP. The understanding is that StefanGP simply bought the TF110 Chassis plus some technical assistance, no word (if I’m not mistaken) about the factories and facilities to build and eventually design their next chassis for 2011. Whereas USF1, ideally, would have been a “true manufacturere” in the sense of having a viable structure for 2011 and beyond.

      The question of 2011 weighs heavily on StefanGP, if we take it that they’re already set for 2010

      • Scribe said on 21st February 2010, 12:59

        The FIA have certainly made many mistakes, but ignoring Epsilon and Prodrive where amongst the silliest because they threw away established outfits, with Sponsers and future planning already there, and some fantastic facilities. The only time you can attract new blood like the FIA hoped to is in the boom times. Which clearly we are not in. An new blood tends to fold anyway. Tiny statistical probability of producing a pearl.

        USF1 and Campos where always doomed to failure because they relied on a future income financial model which only ever works in a bubble. I mean prodrive had Gulf and the possibility of becoming Aston Martin, USF1 had, Charlotte and a load of Indy mechanics. Which sounds the better prospect?

        To be fair even slow outfits in F1 are great things to stick your logo on because it is the nature of F1 that while the front runners are having a quite period, the back is going to be watched as well. In fact it sometimes closer at the back, an more overtaking goes on. So sponsers get their brand exposure wherever they stick their fridge magnets.

        However collectivley, Bernie, the FIA and the new teams failed to get this message across. Mostly because good investment or not it’s very difficult to put your logo on somebody else’s loser. Hence the reason Lotus Virgin and Force India had less trouble getting of the ground, the money was already there, Manor being the lucky one of the bunch. But betting on somebody elses car, which you know is going to be at the back, maybe when your bottom line is secure from years of profits, but not in an optimism drain like a recession. For USF1 and Campos Meta to even think it could work out in the current climate shows a total lack of buisness minds in the operation, which unfortunately is exactly what you need to survive in F1. That or a billionaire backer.

  3. Oliver said on 21st February 2010, 2:36

    With USF1 asking to miss 4 races, it seems they are already asking the FIA to just kick them out and put them out of their misery. I even doubt USf1 has even paid for their engines.

    • Scribe said on 21st February 2010, 13:00

      I’ve got to the point where I want them gone. Bring on Stefan and Villenurve. Save Senna and Lopez. Cut out a bunch of useless dreamers who underestimaited F1.

  4. Prisoner Monkeys said on 21st February 2010, 2:41

    Is Sauber officially entered in the 2010 F1 championship? There appears to be a noticeable lack of team and driver info on the official F1 web site. If yes, why no info, if no why are they testing?

    They’re in. They’re on the official entry list, and they attend testing – and you have to be invited to the tests (largely so that the FIA knows who is attending because not every team attends every test). If they’re not on the official website, so be it. I’m pretty sure the official website hardly qualifies as a source of breaking news and frequent updates.

    I’m pretty sure the reason why they haven’t been added is because they don’t have numbers. And the reason why they don’t have numbers is because the FIA wants to wait and see who makes it, and then assign Sauber whatever nubmers are missing. If everyone makes it, Sauber get the 26 and 27. There’s also some contention over their team name since they’re keeping the “BMW” bit, but are powered by Ferrari. There may be something legal in there that FOM wants to avoid until such time as it is resolved.

  5. Icthyes said on 21st February 2010, 5:05

    I don’t think any of the teams should be allowed to miss races. So either the FIA accept Stefan GP, or leave it at 12 and get another entrant in 2011.

    As for clean fuel, I really wish F1 was spearheading hydrogen fuel cell technology; it’s one of the few areas where cutting-edge technology can be and is introduced and developed to the point where it can translate into civilian (for want of a better term) areas. Unfortunately, it can’t be done at the moment for the same reason that the most recent exception to this – KERS – failed, namely, costs.

    • banned from J.Allen site said on 21st February 2010, 7:36

      are you serious? what about the noise my friend. this is racing, let those fancy technological sdvances, being done by the car manufacturers, and used by women going to the clothing sales.

      • Now there’s a totally non-PC remark. Would you by any chance be a big mate of the posturing Clarkson ?

        • newnhamlea1 said on 21st February 2010, 10:30

          you do know with modification, hydrogen can be used in IC engines, the reson it has not come to forefront yet is due to car manufacturers wanting to make road cars quiet, rather than loud screaming beasts, due to this they went down the fuel cell root rather than IC engines.

          • Oliver said on 21st February 2010, 11:45

            They still haven’t come up with a practical way of storing a reasonable amount of hydrogen without the associated weight penalty. Promising technology, such as nanotubes, is still in the labs.

      • maciek said on 21st February 2010, 13:48

        Would you care to repeat that in some sort of a logical string of words, or should we not scratch our heads too long to figure out why you got “banned from J.Allen site”?

  6. They can not terminate the USF1 agreement until the team actually breaks part of the agreement. Even if the FIA deny them their request to not attend the first 4 races, they would have to wait for USF1 to miss the first 3 before penalizing them. It isn’t a case of being able to kick them out prior to the first race and grant the entry to another team.

    The only way that could happen is if *another* entry is granted, with the view that USF1 will miss the first 3 races and then be allowed to die.

    The prob for USF1 is that it would be very very difficult for them to get any injection of cash right now because of the uncertainty around the team. My thoughts are that the team is on a quick countdown to death now, and that the FIA will have to grant a new entry to Stefan to fill the spot.

    I can’t imagine that USF1 has any assets that are worth acquiring, outside of the $8M agreement with Lopez (which would only be worth a fraction of that figure). Their liabilities would far outweigh any assets they have (building lease, F1G liabilities, investors money). I can’t see a way out for them – no way.

    • Oliver said on 21st February 2010, 7:35

      I don’t think Lopez has released any part of that 8million and wisely so. In the past, driver money ensured that the team could operate when it has built its cars, not before it is designed them.

  7. Macca said on 21st February 2010, 7:10

    Did anyone else see the V8 Supercars in Abu Dabui.

    They used a shortned version of the track. The short cut was just after turn 3 and rejoined half way along the back straight, effectivly cutting off the chicane and hairpin at the far end of the circuit.

    But what caught my attention was the corners that it added, it bore a striking resembelence to the corkscrew at Laguna Seca. In my opinion, this track layout was far better than the F1 layout and at still 4.7km they should switch to this one for future GPs.

    • MPJ1994 said on 21st February 2010, 10:24

      I saw the V8′s at Abu Dhabi.

      I think that the circuit that they used, while great for the V8′s wouldnt be so good for F1. Sure you would put in 3-4 good corners but you would be sacraficing an overtaking oportunity at the end of the straight as the corkscrew is single file, meaning they can’t get close at the end of the straight.

      I also noticed the corners before the hotel, which seemed to be much more challenging in the V8s than they did in the F1.

      Also the differant camera seemed to show the differant camber of the corners better than the angles for the F1 race.

      Overall I think that the race was good, not great, but good (although it would have been better if the HRT’s werent falling apart)

      • Overall I think that the race was good, not great, but good (although it would have been better if the HRT’s werent falling apart

        Are you kiding, that was the best part of the race. LOL

    • I found this on a website about the new secttion

      ‘V8 Supercars will be the first category to use the ‘corkscrew’ corner, a high-speed off-camber, left, right, left sequence which drops 15 metres in elevation across 100 metres in distance’

      heres the layout: http://abudhabi.v8supercars.com.au/Portals/v8/RadEditor/Documents/AbuDhabi/Circuit/2010_Yas%20Marina%20Circuit.pdf

      and heres a video from youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1Gf08T9-iI

  8. I wouldn’t mind a new team missing the first few races if it meant when they did eventually join the grid they had a viable long term future, if a team missed a race once they have started racing then that is when any punishments should be handed out.

    However what complicates the issue here is that there is another team seemingly in a better to position to race from the first round.

    If the grid was not full up with a queue to get in I am sure whatever the rules say USF1 would be allowed any extra time they needed before they started racing, especially if we had less than 20 teams.

    Whether USF1 are allowed to miss the first few races or Stefan GP will line up on the grid in Bahrain could be influenced by which team the FIA think is the more viable long term option.

    I know most of the problems for USF1 and Campos are due to lack of money and we don’t yet know how competitive all the new teams will be but I wonder how much better prepared they would have been if they had been granted there place earlier and there hadn’t been all the turmoil at the time with budget caps etc.

    I remember thinking at the time when the FIA announced the new teams, in June last year, if they had enough time to start a F1 team and build a competitive car, but then I suppose that Lotus, who were granted there place in September, have shown that if you have enough funds that it was possible to be ready in time.

    A bigger test for the new teams could be the 2011 season, as after a relatively impressive debut season for Stewart Grand Prix in 1997 they struggled in 1998, I think Jackie Stewart said something like racing full time while designing the next years car was another step up for the team in 1997.

    • Macca said on 21st February 2010, 9:49

      You might not mind a new team missing the first few races, but as a ticket holder to the Australian GP, I certenly do.

      I spent my hard earned money to go watch 13 teams, so I want to go and watch 13 team race.

      • If the only option for a full grid was for a team to miss some races and starting late, I think that would better be than making the team wait until the next season, but as I said what complicates the issue in this case is that Stefan GP seem ready to replace USF1 from the very first race, so it is not a case of the only way to have 13 teams is to wait for USF1 to be ready.

        I would also like the maximum number of teams at every race, my comment was more about the number of races a team can miss. I don’t mind at what point during the season a new team races for the first time but if it misses races after that is when it should be punished.

        • Scribe said on 21st February 2010, 15:19

          I think at this point it’s pretty clear that USF1 arn’t going to make it.It’s doubly clear that there is no way there going to make bahrain. So the simple way to cut them out is this.

          Raise the number of teams to 14. Take the relevant concorde passage and section of the rules that the FIA is reading which says that no team is allowed to miss a single race. Grant Stefan an entry and when USF1 doesn’t turn up in bahrain. Tell them they’ve lost they’re entry. This may be playing slightly fast with the rules but we have three terms of Finest Maxes Manegement to clean up.

          Once the clean up job has been done, put proper guidelines in place to ensure it never happens again.

          • They can’t just do this, as the existing teams wouldn’t agree to all the TV money going 14 ways rather than 13. And I don’t blame them.

  9. StefanGP gets my vote…

    they’re ready, im sure their car will be better since they bought a fully developed toyota 2010…

    usf1, sorry boys, stick to little-league,

    Steve

  10. It’s interesting that Alonso thinks that driving a heavier lengthened version of what is basicly last seasons car is “the best car I’ve ever had”.

    He also says: “Red Bull, McLaren and Renault have been very quick and they have shown their cards, while we are still hiding ours,” he said.

    I wonder how he knows that “they have shown their cards” ?

    I’d be very worried about Renault’s ‘updates’ for a start!

  11. On Branson, I think for him what was more important about involvement in F1 was cost-effectiveness rather than any “green” credentials or whatever. With Manor he has managed to buy all the sponsor space on the car and will sub-let it to additional sponsors, in much the same way as Phillip Morris do for Ferrari. That way he gets maximum brand exposure, but with a bit of luck will be able to turn a profit as well.

  12. HounslowBusGarage said on 21st February 2010, 10:54

    Not really connected to any of the posts above, but I was watching the start of a NASCAR race on Justin TV last night, and I collected a little bundle of comments in thirty seconds by NASCAR fans about F1, and I’d like to shere them with you just for fun.

    - its not in america so it aint squat
    -stopped watching F1 crap
    -Michael Shumacher is back, f1 is never crappy
    -Formula 1, open wheel cars for fags
    -F1 is much more boring than these Nascar races, so dont worry Sly.
    -This year’s F1 season looks set to be a great one
    guys.
    -when are u goin to realize the F1 is nothing at all like Nascar..wow..ha ha
    -I can hear those F1 drivers now……..”Where the **** is my telemetry? I cant find my telemetry! Why dont these brakes work? This car wont turn!!”
    -most of the f1 drivers will fail in a Nascar i am sure
    -F1 is fantastic.
    -**** off
    -F1 is 20 girls running one after another xD
    -f1 is good, nascar is good, dtm is better, v8 supercar is a bit better, and the 24 hours of le mans is best

  13. Yep…as somebody posted recently….

    ‘…you’ll never lose money underestimating
    the good judgement and profound thinking of the average US motor-sport fan….. ! ( in paraphrase )

  14. I said I’d wait until there was actually word from USF1 itself before considering them a write-off. With Ken Anderson’s comments to the N Y Times, I see the rumours of financial (and other) problems are true. Sorry to hear it. Was actually looking forward to seeing what might come from their participation in F1.

    One thing I can’t help but wonder, though. Jut how much of their financial troubles–and the troubles at Campos, for that matter–can be laid at Bernie’s door? Words are powerful weapons. Words from a powerful person can be formidable weapons, indeed. And Bernie had been slagging both USF1 and Campos for weeks. Didja notice which teams suddenly developed financial troubles?

    I’m sure if I had signed on as an investor/sponsor for USF1, and heard Bernie categorically state that USF1 was in financial and developemental trouble and absolutely would not make it to the grid at Bahrain, that I might reconsider my position. If only one source of income for the team did that, and withdrew, it would have served to create a domino effect, tumbling the carefully constructed timed financial model USF1 was following.

    And, no, I don’t believe FiA fell down on vetting the applicants. I’m sure guarantees of backing sufficient for the job were presented, and duly investigated. And I am sure that at the time the entrants were chosen all was well financially for all the new teams.

    And why would Bernie do that? Maybe he really wants to wrangle his buddy Stefan a place on the grid. And, yes, I think he has enough influence that if one of the new teams got in trouble and withdrew, that he might just get StefanGP a grid slot. Stranger things have happened down through the years.

    And now it looks as though it may just come to pass. Ken Anderson is talking straight to the world, no more hot air from Peter Windsor. If the FiA turns down his request to miss the first few races, they may require him to guarantee his appearance on the grid, or ask him to kindly surrender his entry for 2010. And if he can’t guarantee that, and does surrender the entry……..you can bet your buns Bernie will be talking to all the right people on behalf of StefanGP. Heck, probably he is talking to them already.

    Hmmmmmm. A Serbian GP for 2012, maybe? Ya never know.

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 21st February 2010, 15:13

      Yes Dsob, I didn’t think Bernie’s comments were either well chosen or well timed. It certainly didn’t help US F1′s credibility, but I think he might have been made aware of problems that we weren’t aware of at the time – maybe US F1 were already trying to negotiate missing a few races with the FIA. Or maybe they’d already been desperately hunting money. They were late on the crash testing, weren’t they? I dunno.
      As others have already commented the FIA are in a bit of a hole on this one because they have to have done ‘due diligence’ on US F1 before accepting their entry and now that the team want the FIA to bend the rules and give them a bit of extra time, Stefan GP is going to make double sure that the FIA stick rigidly to their own rules.
      Not sure about the idea of the Serbian GP though, A US GP would surely be worth many millions more to Bernie and re-plant F1 into the (second?) most lucrative market in the world.
      As much as I admire Stefan’s enthusiasm, I still hope US F1 get onto the grid sometime.

      • Late on crash testing. Yes. And Bernie had already been slagging them well before that.

        Bernie says what he says, because he’s Bernie. He needs no facts, only his own desires. Has been like that for years, surely YOU know that, Hounslow, you’ve been around a while.

        And as someone else(I think after this)commented. when USF1 entry was accepted. ALL the teams were to be on the budget cap. That the present teams dint like. That they wanted called a “resource restriction”…that got pretty much tossed…and so where did that leave the new teams ???

        Manor sold out to Branson, Lotus is funded…let’s be real….by the Malaysian government. Who, exactly, did one think MIGHT fail when it was clear the Mosley budget cap just dint make it ?

        And with Bernie’s prmouncements, it became fact. Campos and USF1 on the short end.

        As for the relative worth of a Serbian GP as opposed to a United States GP…worth to Bernie…I can be damn-sure the U.S. goverment will not put money into a F1 race/venue. Can you say the same of other governments ?

        Bernie will go where he finds the money. As he has for the last decade and more.

        Like you, I have hope for an American…United States…team in F1. But I think the next try needs to come from an established racing organization. Gnassi. Earnhardt(JR, not DEI), Penske…someone with open wheel experience or at least the attitude that open-wheel really is racing. And they would have eveything in place to really make an F1 team happen.

        Just an aside here. I mentioned Earnhardt JR because he gave Danica Patrick a contract to drive stock cars for him. So at least he sees that open-wheel racing is real racing.

    • Oliver said on 21st February 2010, 21:16

      I don’t think Bernie made that up to put those teams in trouble. Rather I believe he was getting the information from vested interests. Look at it this scenario:-

      Assuming USF1 and Campos GP had not paid up for their Cosworth Engines, a month or 2 before actuall races commences, then in all likely hood they were having problems

      Not saying this was the case but there are vested interests within those teams that see the direction a team is headed and probably want to negotiate their way out of a precipice.

      Potential investors and sponsors don’t just read what an old man might say. Rather they’ll go through the company books and or operating environment to see if they get maximum value for their investment or sponsorship. They also like to see a plan.

      In recent times, Williams has lost several of its sponsors, and we are talking of a team that has been very successful and has many years of racing experience. I don’t think Bernie said a word to make that happen.

      If established teams are not necessarily getting good sponsors, then how do you expect a new team with just an empty warehouse and a few misfits, with rapid eye movments, to get the cream of sponsorship money

  15. Scribe said on 21st February 2010, 16:06

    http://adamcooperf1.com/

    Adam Cooper’s excellent blog has a fair decent wack of infomation on the Campos situation. Apparently Kolles has met Senna, Chandahook is the favourite for the second seat and Campos is going to have some sort of role within the team.

    If I was an incestor I would invest in this team simply because they have suppliers who can get the job done. You could pay for they’re research budget, then watch they’re car with your logo on it go faster.

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