Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euroseries, 2010

Rumours put Bottas at Williams and Raikkonen in a Renault

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

In the round-up: Changes in the 2012 driver market.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Is Sutil the Force India driver looking for a seat elsewhere?

There are rumours in the paddock that GP3 champion Valtteri Bottas might make the big leap up to a race seat, as Jenson Button did with Williams from F3 in 2000.”

Renault says driver decision imminent (Autosport)

“When asked about suggestions that Raikkonen was now a serious possibility with a move to Williams now looking unlikely, Boullier said: ‘Kimi is a possible scenario… yes, if you want. But the list is long, and there are even some drivers under contract [elsewhere], who have some clauses to get out of their contracts. So the list is quite long.'”

Motor racing-McLaren aero man heading for Caterham

“Caterham have recruited McLaren aerodynamics head John Iley in another technical coup for the Malaysian-backed Formula 1 outfit who raced this season as Lotus.”

Nigel Mansell via Twitter

“Congrats to [Sebastian Vettel] great lap wonderful achievement, Mark [Webber] you almost did it. Brilliant team Red Bull, good luck. Thanks everybody for your support.”

Fans disappointed by BBC picks but Auntie’s hands were tied (Daily Telegraph)

“Neither channel could pick three consecutive races. In other words, the BBC was not allowed to have three consecutive races live while Sky was not allowed three consecutive races exclusively live, which made it rather tricky.”

Weekend Breakfast (BBC Radio 5 Live on iPlayer)

I did a short interview yesterday morning on BBC Radio 5 Live, talking about the Brazilian Grand Prix and the recent announcements about the BBC and Sky’s plans for F1 coverage in 2012. You can listen to it here starting at around 1:56’44.

Brazilian GP – Conference 3 (FIA)

Vettel: “For the DRS overtaking, I think generally around here it has been a miracle track. We have seen a lot of overtaking in the last couple of years, sometimes less, but other times we have seen a lot, and a lot more than anywhere else. This track has potential to give a little extra and, in a positive way, to be a bit crazy so we will see, and I don?t think we necessarily rely on DRS to see overtaking.”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

Estesark on Force India’s driver dilemma:

I don?t think many people are claiming [Adrian Sutil should be dropped].

But neither does Paul di Resta deserve the sack, while Nico Hulkenberg probably does deserve a chance to race again. Three into two won?t fit.

What would you do, if the decision was yours to make?

From the forum

MattB reckons he’s found a way of seeing the ten races BBC aren’t showing next year for ??210 instead of ??363.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Goldenboy, Lucas “Mr. Veloce” and L_A_Munro!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Looking for some early gift ideas for the forthcoming festivities? Check out the gift guide published here last year:

An updated 2011 gift guide will be published soon.

95 comments on “Rumours put Bottas at Williams and Raikkonen in a Renault”

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  1. I’d replace Sutil with Hulkenburg. Di Resta and Hulkenburg scream potential. Sutil’s career has rather stagnated over the past couple of years; not to say he doesn’t deserve to be in F1, but his time ahead of DIR and HUL is probably over.

    1. by far, the clever option.

      Di Resta has performed very well, and Sutil’s been in F1 since 2007, yet he hasn’t shown much.

      Hulkenberg and Di Resta have very big potentials, and could get Force India closer to the front, while I’m almost certain this is all Sutil can do.

    2. I don’t share that point of view. In my oppinion Sutil has done great the last couple of races. Personally i’d go for Sutil and Di Resta for 2012. Hulkenburg was good last year, but no more impressive than Di Resta is now.

    3. loan one of the three to renault, until Robert is fit.

    4. I’d get rid of Di resta, and replace him with the Hulk. Sutil has been good, and should really stay.

      1. 2010 – Liuzzi scored 44% of Sutil’s points.
        2011 – Di Resta scored 64% of Sutils’ points… I’d say that this is very impressive for his first season in the sport!

        You’ve got to give Force India credit for gambling with the talented rookie in 2011. He’s made the difference for them gaining 6th place in the constructors.

        Also, interesting to note that Di Resta’s percentage compares favourably to Hulkenberg’s in 2010 who only scored 44% of Barrichello’s points. And Perez’s in 2011: 46% of Koboyashi’s. Or Maldonado’s in 2011: 25% of Barrichello’s. Or Petrov’s in 2010: 19% of Kubica’s. Or even Schumacher’s for his ‘second’ F1 debut in 2010: 50% of Rosberg’s/

        Points don’t tell you everything, of course, but Di Resta has definitely been my rookie of not just this year, but the last four years. The fact that he’s completed more race laps than anyone else this year is also remarkable.

        (Also, as a seperate point, it’s interesting that people have been talking about Sutil’s strong second half of the season but Di Resta has outscored Sutil by 25 points to 24 over the last nine races.)

    5. Thanks for the COTD, Keith. I think a more accurate paraphrasing of my comment would be “I don’t think many people are claiming [Adrian Sutil deserves the sack]”, as the person I was responding to ended their comment with “Sutil does not deserve the sack”. Quite a few people have actually said that Sutil should be dropped, whether or not he deserves it. But it doesn’t matter, really.

      As for me, if I were Vijay Mallya or whoever at Force India has to make the decision, I would race with di Resta and Hülkenberg next season. I really like Sutil, and I hope he finds a seat elsewhere for 2012 and beyond*, but I don’t think I’d be able to resist the prospect of having two young and exciting talents driving side-by-side.

      *Continuing the hypothetical thinking, if I were in charge at Williams, I would sign Sutil to replace Barrichello – well, either driver really, but Maldonado’s seat looks secure so long as he can pay for it. Bottas could still gain something from a season in GP2, assuming he can get a seat there.

      1. Congratulations at the COTD @estesark

      2. Good COTD @estesark I agree with you on all points.

      3. suttil brings medion money , maldonado brings his countrys money . williams could use this too revive there car

    6. Sutil has come alive in this last races, still, he isnt F1 material in my opinion. He was some times clearly beaten up by Fisichella especially on 1 of Fisichellas best track SPA. After this many years I think Sutil hasnt got much more to show, on the other hand Hulkenberg had a promissing young career and already has more than Sutil in his F1 career. About Di Resta, he was quicker to adapt to the new rules and new F1 car without previously raced in F1, which is very impressive he still has some issues but he is a very smart adaptive driver and im sure he will progress to be one of the top guys.

      1. Since they have to drop one I put my vote with Sutil and Hulkenberg. In any case, his only hope is to do really well today.

        It’s unfortunate, however, that those who dislike Sutil dislike him because of who he is and not because of how he drives. The last thing most people want – it would seem to me – is a Campy Euro-trash frivolous Sutil out there beating their favorite driver.

    7. Hulk is a great driver and he deserves a seat.

  2. Di Resta and Hulkenberg.
    Although Sutil and Hulkenberg would be a great line up, I would selct Di Resta from a purely biased angle.

  3. “There are rumours in the paddock that GP3 champion Valtteri Bottas might make the big leap up to a race seat, as Jenson Button did with Williams from F3 in 2000.”

    And as Vettel did from F3 in 2006 to F1 in 2007. Although, off course, Vettel was already a test driver in 2006.

    1. Actually to be totally accurate Vettel came from Formula Renault 3.5 to Formula 1.

      1. Ah, yes.

        Although that was only a few races. Not an entire season like he did in F3 Euro Series.

  4. In this series of pictures it seem like Vergne will remain as test driver for Toro Rosso/Red Bull next year

    1. Wow, certainly looks like it…

    2. The contract is a Formula One Testing and Racing Agreement. Doesn’t that mean it’s more than just a test driver deal?

      1. I think Vergne’s getting a seat; he’s Marko’s favourite (besides Vettel). The obvious loser is Buemi, while I’m interested to see who will get the second HRT seat: it’s between Clos, Alguersuari, Verne, Sutil, and Liuzzi.

        1. Alguersuari said that he will only continue if Toro Rosso picked him up, I bet he is sure he will get Webber ´s seat in 2013, if not he will walk away from F1 (NOT a big loss if you ask me).

          I always though Riccardo was Helmut´s favorite.

          I guess Buemi really is gonna be history by the end of the race…

      2. Or he could be selling his soul to the…

      3. A third driver also has a “racing agreement” I would think, so I would agree with Celeste.

    3. I read on that he is linked to Caterham next year, replacing Jarno Trulli. Theye are quoting Auto Moto und Sport magazine.

      It says on the link below that Caterham is getting a Red Bull gearbox + KERS for next year and the driver swap might be the part of the deal.

      1. I have been reading the same, but (insert name of Caterham principal´s boss whose name I have totally forgot) denied that yesterday…

    4. wow nice scoop there even though there’s just photos instead of gossip words
      well, the contract says it’s “Racing and Testing Agreement” with “Red Bull Racing” so I assume Jean-Eric will be third driver with Red Bull, with the option of Friday tests and stand-in for Vettel-Webber..
      plus, he doesnt look that happy in the photos to suggest he’s getting a drive

      1. Yeah, but Toro Rosso and Red Bull always share the same test driver, they did the that with Riccardo…

  5. I’m not a fan of Sutil but I’ve been really impressed with him this second half of the season as he’s shown the one thing he’s always lacked – consistency.

    I think I’d actually stick with the current line up – I was impressed with Hulkenberg last season and as stunning as his pole position was, other than that I don’t think he showed the ‘mega-star’ potential we’ve seen in the past from people like Alonso, Raikkonen and Vettel. He’s good, but better than Sutil and Di Resta? I’m not sure. Either combination of those three would be a good line up to be honest.

    1. @dan-thorn I agree with you. I think that the problem is that FI have 3 very good drivers at the moment who all deserve race seats in F1 but one of them might be left without a drive because of the financial circumstances that many teams are facing now. I really hope that Sutil can get a contract with Williams or Renault if he gets dropped by Force India.

    2. Hai Guys,

      This was a nice debate blog,
      I feel you guys have forgotten one thing :
      the team Force India has 2 partner owners
      1. Vijay Malya : company Kingfisher Beers
      2. Sahara

      Vijay Malya has the power to take decision on ! drivers seat in F1 2012 .
      Vijays Decision was ” Paul di resta ” – If he stays in the team for 2012 or the sea will be given to Nico Hulkenburg .

      Sahara is also a big non automobile group in India — but with more money .
      Sahara has always supported many indian guys for their sports in India.
      So, This time Sahara will decide to have a indian driver as a second driver or a reserve driver.
      I feel that the second driver would be a indian driver .

      if Sutil goes to Williams f1 – chances 70% .
      or Diresta goes to caterham f1 or Toro Rosso .

      Looking forward for your reply……………..
      I heard that Vijay Malya 42 % stakes in Force India will be sold
      partially. Since his one of his business in India is under bank bailout condition .

  6. That’s a big scoop for Caterham getting hold of John Iley. I’m close friends with his nephew, who regularly keeps in contact with him, and even he hadn’t seen it coming. McLaren tried for a good 3 years before he eventually left Ferrari to employ the guy, so for McLaren to lose him so quickly will be a big blow. On the other hand, he worked on some successful Jordans during the 90s under Mike Gascoigne, and indeed went with him to Renault in 2002 as well, so they do have a prior working relationship to influence such a move.

    1. That is quite awesome that you are friends with his nephew! I know Caterham has been scooping up personnel like a steamshovel lately, but getting Iley out of McLaren is a real coup! They will be mixing it up with the midfield soon and leave HRT and Virgin in the dust!

    2. What i find quite bemusing is McLaren’s attitude. They had Sam today at the paddock before his contract with Williams ran out, but wouldn’t release their own employees before the contract runs out. It is this duality of team Vodafone McLaren which has been a mainstay since Ron took control and one of the main reasons why i can’t bring myself to like them. Treat others how you’d like to be treated doesn’t hold much water in team McLaren…

      1. Edit: Liking them or not is another matter, but when you see such duality, it is hard to respect them. This is a crying shame, as the team though owned and operated by Ron, but still carries the name of that great man from Newzealand.

  7. great interview keith

    re. sutil, i would have dropped him for Hulkenburg last year! I mean, which one of the 2 can you honestly see winning a title in the future?

    1. Neither of them.

      1. I agree, and for the record I don´t think Di Resta will do either…

    2. Do you think the Force India is going to win a title ever? So why not have drivers who are good, but not good enough, to expect a championship winning car.

      1. Excellent point Todfod.

        I can understand Force India wanted to be ambitious, but if Di Resta or Hulkenburg ever do get that good, one of the bigger teams will snatch them up anyway.

        Sutil is a good fit and has been with them from before day one! No disrespect to the others, but he should stay.

  8. Nice interview Keith, very concise :)

  9. I can’t see Kimi Raikkonen joining Renault. I get the sense that Eric Boullier is quite dismissive of the idea, since they have such a long list of drivers. I don’t think he would have mentioned Raikkonen as a possibility if he was not asked (and his answer makes it quite obvious that he was asked). And given that negotiations between Raikkonen and Williams have been so long and drawn out, I can’t see Raikkonen coming to an agreement with Renault within a fortnight. I actually question just how serious the Raikkonen/Williams talks were – I’ve found that Raikkonen fans tend to overstate everything about him, be it his talent or talk of his return or even his WRC results. So I won’t be too upset if he does not race in 2012.

    1. You’re right, some Räikkönen fans refuse to see anything bad in him. However, most will agree that he was one of the fastest drivers around, when he was at his peak, and nobody can deny that he won a world championship. I was hoping that he would come back to the sport, but pragmatically, I think both Williams and Renault have better options available to them. I also told myself a while ago that if he didn’t come back with Williams, I was never going to believe any rumours about him coming back ever again. There have been too many such rumours already.

    2. However… He has said they need a number 1 driver, and it’s quite obvious Petrov doesn’t make the cut in Boullier’s eyes.

      In defense of the Kimi fans. If your favorite driver was out of the sport you wanted him in… Wouldn’t you get exited over return rumors? That, and the rumors were coming from inside the paddock…

      1. It would be exciting, and Kimi could certainly do more next season in a Renault than he could a Williams.

        Is it a risk? Yes, and everyone who gives a hoot about F1, both inside and outside of the paddock has analyzed it all to death.

        But ask yourself, would you really prefer to see Grosjean, or Senna next to Petrov than you would Kimi?

        It’s maddening that Williams and Renault have been offered the services of both Kimi and Rubens and aren’t keen to have either lead them. Youth is important, and there’s nothing like building up a team over time, but GP2 and F3 Champions can’t cut it next to guys who have won 18 F1 races (Kimi) or 11 F1 races (Rubens)

        1. It is definitely a spice that could be added to the mix :D

      2. @mike – I can understand loyalty to a particular driver, but I find Raikkonen fans to take it to extremes. An Italian newspaper first reported the talk that he would join Williams, and Raikkonen’s fans lapped it up. The very same publication was one of the first to report that the Williams deal was off, and they instantly moved to discredit that paper. I’ve noticed it in particular in the Autosport forums – anyone who goes into a Raikkonen thread without proclaiming that he walks on water gets driven out.

        1. You are surprise by Raikkonen´s fans, you should see American Idol´s fans… that xtreme!!!!

    3. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Kimi to Renault rumour was just a publicity stunt intended to squeeze more money out of Petrov, Senna, Grosjean or whoever else might be after a seat there. I really don’t think Kimi has a shot at a Renault drive, it’s just the next logical place for him to be linked with a seat after the Williams talks fell through.

      1. And thus Kimi will give Boullier another slap..

    4. There is one very logical reason for a possible Raikkonen/Renault match – and that is if Robert Kubica is seriously eyeing up a return with Ferrari in 2013.

      If Kubica is coming back for Renault then picking a full-time number two driver and temporary Kubica-substitute from Vitaly Petrov, Romain Grosjean and Bruno Senna is pretty easy.

      If Kubica is heading towards a return in a Ferrari in 2013, however, then Renault need to secure an experienced, fast driver to lead their efforts – Petrov, Grosjean and Senna can’t seriously be expected to fill that role (yet). And there have been rumours that communication between Kubica and Renault have not been as good as it could have been.

      Whenever Renault has been successful in the past it’s been when they’ve been focused on a clear number one driver – Michael Schumacher from 1992-1995 and Fernando Alonso from 2003-2006 and 2008-2009. When Alonso left at the end of 2009, Kubica was the obvious (and possibly only) choice of driver who could fill that role. If Kubica is now out of the equation for Renault, who else is there apart from Raikkonen? Either that, or the talks are simply a shot by Renault across Kubica’s bow – i.e. engage in talks with us seriously or no chance of a drive…

    5. maybe just playing down the price …

      Honestly, I never felt it would be a good idea for Kimi to return after 2 years out of the sport.

      1. @BasCB I really want to see him have another season in WRC.

        1. If he is committed to doing it, I think he really did improve on his first year and could do some great stuff there as well. Shame if he gives up on WRC @andrewtanner

          1. @BasCB I really hope so. I think I actually prefer him in WRC than F1 for the time being. It’s a more interesting challenge for him and for us to watch. He did have a good season for such a steep learning curve. Hopefully he will compete in more rallies next year.

  10. I think the idea of a new driver in a team, or any sort of change like that is ultimately appealing, and it can sometimes let heart rule head. If 2012 were a continuum of later 2011, then Force India would be a comfortable 5th and I think keeping with their driver line up would be wise. People say Sutil’s not really amazed anyone yet…but neither have Force India, yet. They’ve made a steady increase, had ups and downs, and generally done a good job. That’s exactly what Sutil has done as he’s on the FI rails in that respect.

    Hulkenberg did look extremely positive today though in that feature with DC. He was walking round that track like he owned the place. (as did Grosjean, he can’t stop smiling at the moment…)

    Also, it should be worth saying I thoroughly enjoyed all of the pre-qualifying features today, particularly the one about the history of the team principals….

  11. Kimi in Renault sounds good, as we know Kubica won’t participate in the opening couple of rounds, so the team needs a star driver, have Kimi by the time he loose interest in F1 bring Kubica in & lets share the other seat between Senna & Romain.

    1. If Boullier was in his right mind that’s exactly what he’d do, but he seems incredibly keen to get Grosjean a seat.

      While Grosjean has certainly earned a second chance in F1, you don’t pass up putting Kimi in your car next to a maturing and improving Petrov.

      There are just too many good drivers nowadays and not enough places to put them.

      1. @adam-tate – Rumours suggest that the reason why the Raikkonen-Williams negotiations fell apart is because Raikkonen was asking for $12 million. There is no way Boullier would pay that much; the team can’t afford it. In fact, $12 million is about the amount that Petrov brings to the team. If you read the article, Boullier seems dismissive of it. He’s been asked about Raikkonen, but it’s clearly not a priority.

        1. Petrov would be paying Raikkonen’s wages ;)

  12. Good to see VJ following his usual upstanding business practices. Promised the drivers he would make the decision before the Brazilian Grand Prix and has unsurprisingly broken his promise.

    Of course, since he really doesn’t own the team anymore, perhaps the decision is just slightly out of his hands…thus he made a promise that he knew he couldn’t keep…yep, usual upstanding VJ.

  13. Bottas impressed me this year in the Macau Grand Prix. Yes, he crashed out on the final race (Macau Grand Prix has 2 “legs”: the first one is in Saturday, with a ” Qualification race”, then in Sunday, where everything is decided in the official Grand Prix race). What impressed me was that he was testing in Abu Dhabi, flew to Macau on a Thursday, got out of the airport with his racing suit, didn’t rest at all, got into an F3 car and got 4th fastest time in free practice (this is 100% true). That was VERY, VERY impressive, specially in a circuit as demanding as the Macau one. He probably had jet lag the whole racing weekend. So I would certainly have a look at Bottas: He is a remarkable talent. If you want to see how he handled an F3 car he didn’t know in a very unique race just look at this video :

    (Keith, I hope you don’t mind me sharing the link of the race again :) )

    1. It sounds like the commentator in that video is calling him “Vitaly Boatas”. I know that Finnish names can be difficult, but that’s taking it a bit too far :)

      1. Yes, slight mistake there, but you have to agree he was great at commenting the race. Very enthusiastic and exciting. Without his voice this video would be a lot more difficult to pull off! :)

  14. Fans disappointed by BBC picks but Auntie’s hands were tied (Daily Telegraph)

    Their hands were tied by the detail in the deal that they designed and agreed to, in a contract that they instigated. So nonsense and another dumb bit of spin they are trying to put on the mess they’ve made of it, they have set themselves up for this coverage failure in selling out to $ky and the way they have gone about it.

    1. On the other hand, I don’t think it would make sense for Sky to have, for example, the whole spring/summer races shown on BBC to; so given BBC wanted a deal, Sky were bound to not want big blocks of races to remain with the BBC.

      Likewise, if you can’t see the first half of the season on BBC, are you going to watch the last half a season, or something like that?

      So with a deal as a given, it is not really surprising. Of course, I’m still able to see F1 here in NL, although I’ll miss the good BBC coverage (training!), and lack of ad-breaks.

  15. sid_prasher (@)
    27th November 2011, 5:59

    Its a bit weird that the person who has scored 60% of the points for the team is likely to get the sack. FI didn’t have a car that could have reached anywhere near the podium so I don’t think it is fair to have expected more from the 2 drivers.
    Are the fans just bored of Sutil?

    1. I’m certainly not bored of him! He doesn’t set the world on fire, but he’s been considered one of the better drivers in the field for a few years now.

      Nico and Paul have potential, but Adrian shouldn’t be shoved aside, especially as he is the best of the three drivers at the moment. Williams, who seem to have lost their minds of late, would be wise to pick him up instead of promoting someone straight from F3 to F1.

      The silly season this winter is going to be maddening.

    2. @sid_prasher “Are the fans just bored of Sutil?”

      I think you have hit the nail on the head. I think i’m bored of him, just want to see some change. He’s not a bad driver, but in most races he’s anonymous, in fact the only race i can think of where he was entertaining to watch and stood out was Korea 2010, absolutely going for it at every opportunity like a mad man and eventually crashing out. To put it simply, if Adrian wasn’t there, would the sport and the fans miss him? I don’t think they would.

      1. sid_prasher (@)
        27th November 2011, 14:10

        @rob-wilson : but the guy has never had a chance to try out better machinery…I think I would like him in a good car once before deciding if he has nothing left to offer to the sport…

    3. Whether the fans are bored of Sutil or not makes absolutely no difference on whether he’ll get a race seat next year or not.

      Undoubtedly he deserves a 2012 race seat, although it’s looking unlikely that this will be at Force India.

      In the circumstances its a shame that he burnt his bridges with Renault earlier this year, he would do 100x a better job than Senna, Petrov or Grosjean. So, it must be Williams. Surely?

  16. I doubt that Raikonnen will go to Renault as BT Yahoo Sport and other websites are proclaiming that Bouiller has been in contact with, Senna, Grosjean, Sutil, Buemi, Barrichello, Luizzi, and Kovalienen as he has a clause in his contract which would allow him to leave to enter a ‘big’ team, Petrov has also been put in doubt despite having a contract he has had driven like a 2 year old this season.

    1. @formula-1 According to Joe Saward, Renault is “showing only luke warm interest” in Raikkonen, which I believe is true.

      1. @girts, I would agree with him on this. Seems much more sensible to give Sutil a drive who comes with experience, solid speed and a bit of budget than Kimi who comes with just as big a question mark as Kubica will be before he is recovered and an additional price tag of several million as well.

  17. I hope Raikkonen did not sign with Williams. There are at least 2 options better than that. From the car perspective, I think Force India is the best (If they continue this trend next year, they’ll beat Mercedes which did not improve esentially this season). The 2nd option would be Renault, though they did not improve all season long.
    Anyway, I’m not expecting that Kimi, after a 2 years F1 absence, would do miracles. After all, he is not known as giving a good feed back to the engineers.
    As for Sutil, Vijay Mallya should keep him next season.

  18. I actually think that Sutil has done a great job. After his inconsistent 2009 season he really picked up in 2010, being both fast and consistent.
    The first half of this season he perhaps didn’t do as well as he could have against di Resta, but in the second half he’s been right there. His qualifying performances have particularly impressed me. He’s qualified and finished regularly in the 7-10 range, which is pretty decent for a team like Force India, especially with the sheer reliability of all the other teams.

    What are people hoping for from him? The Force India just isn’t good enough for anything much better, but Sutil is definitely getting the best out of it, moreso than di Resta imo.

  19. Mark [Webber] you almost did it.

    = “Mark why didn’t you beat Seb! I’ve lost the record :( “

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