Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2014

Mercedes to revise team orders policy

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2014In the round-up: Mercedes will rethink their use of team orders after Lewis Hamilton refused an instruction to let Nico Rosberg past.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

F1 Hungarian Grand Prix: Mercedes pair set for internal talks but Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg ready to duel it out (The Independent)

Toto Wolff: “Maybe what we decided at the beginning of the year doesn’t function any more, and now we cannot ask either driver to give up positions or jeopardise their championship chances for the benefit of the team.”

Wolff: Nico could have won (Sky)

“We needed to split the strategy as it wasn’t clear what was going to happen. One strategy was always going to be better than the other one… you let your team-mate by easily, he wins the race, you lose another eight or ten or 12 points to him and you damage your own campaign.”

Lewis Hamilton backed by Red Bull boss Christian Horner in team orders row (The Mirror)

“It’s entirely understandable from Lewis’s point of view to say ‘not today thanks’.”

Christian Horner Q&A: Daniel drove fantastically (F1)

“I would say that we’ve overachieved in many respects, so as soon as we start to close that horsepower deficit then we will able to take the fight to Mercedes.”

Daniel Ricciardo a contender for future F1 drivers championships, says Alan Jones (ABC)

“He’s not a contender this year obviously because Mercedes have got the jump on everyone. Get him a good car next year. If you put that (Mercedes engine) in that bloody Red Bull, he would be a contender.”

Speed, not strategy cost Williams (Autosport)

Rob Smedley: “We were alright in the hotter temperatures [of Friday and Saturday], but the track cooled down by 18-20C and we just couldn’t get any pace out of the car.”

Start, Hungaroring, 2014Plenty to talk about as F1 takes a break (Reuters)

“Team bosses met Ecclestone in Hungary on Saturday and a more restricted group is set to gather again during the break to discuss ideas.”

Magyar Nagydíj (Magnetti Marelli)

“By finishing second starting from the fifth grid spot, Alonso equalled a very peculiar record in F.1 history: the highest number of podium finishes without starting from the front row. Alonso counts 66 of such podiums, the same of Michael Schumacher. Third in this ranking is Kimi Raikkonen, with 54 podiums without starting from the front row.”

New Coke (The Buxton Blog)

“To anyone with even the scantest knowledge of this sport, it is abundantly clear that it is Formula 1’s business model which is broken, not the racing spectacle itself.”

Nico Rosberg is leading Lewis Hamilton on merit – Coulthard (BBC)

“Hamilton is not the first man to have had reliability issues. Many drivers with more titles than him have had horrible seasons of unreliability and that is just the way it goes.”

Five things we learnt from the Hungarian GP (The Telegraph)

“Formula One’s lack of a marketing arm is nothing short of ridiculous. It means it is left to the teams, who are usually and understandably more concerned with winning racing, to promote the sport wherever we travel around the world.”

Porsche Buys South Africa’s Kyalami F1 Grand Prix Racetrack (Bloomberg)

“‘Porsche South Africa was the successful bidder,’ Lance Chalwin-Milton, joint managing director of The High Street Auction Co., told reporters after the property was sold in less than 60 seconds of bidding. ‘They are going to keep it as a track. I believe they are going to develop around the track, which will then enhance the value for the owners.'”


Comment of the day

@Fer-no65 wonders if those demanding ever zanier F1 rules have bothered to watch this year’s races:

The bad thing about this race was that there’s a three-week gap until Spa. Because ever since Monaco, this season has been shaping up to be the best I’ve ever seen. And it’s not something I expected to say during March when it was clear that one team had a two-second advantage over the rest of the field.

Even the races before Monaco provided excitement, but after the Monaco debacle, and the two Mercedes flying sparks between each other, and the unpredictable races we’ve had, it’s just an astonishing moment for the sport.

If anything, F1 can show pride of the quality of its drivers: wheel-to-wheel racing since Silverstone has been supreme.

I don’t know how many more times will F1 need to provide this epic racing for bosses, organisers and marketing gurus to realize that the only weak link here is them. Their decisions outside the track is pushing people away, not the on-track action.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Kevin, Mandev and Sean Doyle!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Alan Jones dominated the German Grand Prix 35 years ago today, leading every lap to head a Williams one-two. Behind Clay Regazzoni was Jacques Laffite in third and championship leader Jody Scheckter fourth.


Also, happy birthday to Fernando Alonso who is 33 today!

Images © Mercedes/Hoch Zwei, Force India

100 comments on “Mercedes to revise team orders policy”

    1. Exactly. The thing is, the team doesn’t need any favours any more. Understandably they want the best result, but when they gave the orders to Hamilton it was because they thought Rosberg would still finish behind him. They gave those orders only really hoping to guarantee Rosberg and the team a few more points, mainly to safeguard against any possible threat from behind (and possibly thinking that both Hamilton and Rosberg would get past Alonso had Rosberg been allowed through and Hamilton’s tyres not faltered by the time he caught him). They didn’t even give the order try and get the team a win, as they had already admitted to Hamilton that they didn’t think Rosberg would catch up again. So they only did it to get a few more points. That’s a small margin which the team doesn’t need but is vital between their drivers. Messing with that margin by giving any instruction seems wrong, unless perhaps moving over is the only way either car could win a race (like Hamilton at Hockenheim in 2008).

      1. what you write is in pretty start contrast to what Toto Wolff mentions in the interview on Sky linked in the round-up @matt90, where he mentions that the reasoning behind that call was that Mercedes were looking at getting a win with Rosberg at that moment.

        He does then go on and says how he fully understands Hamilton not wanting to give it to Nico and lose out on the championship battle like this, and that is the reason why they are likely to refrain from any such orders in the future races.

        1. Hmm, I could have sworn they told Hamilton during the race that he would finish ahead regardless. Given that Rosberg didn’t look like he would have had the pace to advance much ahead of Hamilton (seeing as how poorly he was able to pressure Hamilton, easily dropping back out of DRS range even when he still thought Hamilton would move over), it seems unlikely that Rosberg could have caught up had Hamilton’s tyres not given out- something the team said at the time they didn’t think would happen, but Hamilton fully expected.

          If what he says is true, that means that even that early in the race they knew that Rosberg’s strategy was optimal and that putting Hamilton (who had managed to legitimately get ahead of Rosberg through his in laps before they put him on mediums) on the mediums was compromised as a strategy.

      1. Mercedes lost their chance at a win by giving Nico the strategy that required a fast driver who could overtake. Lewis had the extra soft tires, was faster than Nico all weekend and showed that he can overtake on a track not known for overtaking opportunities. So if someone was to be put on two stops for soft tires it should have been Hamilton. Once again Mercedes get their strategies all wrong.

  1. Horner has been quite complementary of Hamilton of late. With no contract signed at Mercedes, there is a small chance we could see Hamilton at Red Bull if Vettel takes Kimi’s seat at Ferrari – maybe as early as next year even.

    1. i don’t quite see it.. it’ll be like shooting on their own foot for redbull, after all the millions invested in theire young drivers programmeh. some of them didn’t quite make it -although some of them deserved, like alguersuari- but they still have some good talents under their wings…

      1. As long as they have one driver from the ydp, I think that will be enough. Besides, if Vettel does go Ferrari or even Merc, they are not going to put Vergne or Kvyat in that seat.

        I wouldn’t underestimate what events like the weekend do when a driver is in the middle of contract negotiations, and I’m sure Renault will be close to merc next season. Anyway, let’s see!

        1. As long as they have one driver from the ydp, I think that will be enough. Besides, if Vettel does go Ferrari or even Merc, they are not going to put Vergne or Kvyat in that seat.

          Why? Vergne was pretty much on par with Ricciardo, it was a really tough decision to promote as it was really close between those two. Now knowing what Ricciardo does in that Red Bull, why wouldn´t you promote Vergne? Especially when the alternative you suggest is a driver that wants a double-digit number of millions more of pay and is a rather difficult personality for a team?

    2. dont think Vettel would be too keen to join Ferrari soon given the way they have been off the pace in recent years… and I dont see why Hamilton would wanna jump the ship given how dominant Merc are at the moment…

    3. It sounds more like Horner trying to cause disruption within Mercedes by publicly supporting Hamilton, therefore trying to interfere with the internal politics of the team.

      1. @puneethvb – What a load of rubbish. How about it being one persons opinion about the situation and nothing else.

        No wonder there’s a mixed perception of F1 in general if this is the kind of tripe going around people’s heads.

        1. Actually, there may be some truth in what Anon is saying. Just remember when VET was asked to give his place to RIC because it was faster… and he did. Also, most of the situation is the same too: RIC had more points than VET back then, same thing now with ROS: more points than HAM. So, why playing differently in similar situations, Horner ?!

    4. I don’t think Vettel is desperate to join Ferrari. Plus, his cars is very good and is not fighting Mercedes because their engine lacks powers compared to Mercedes’. If Renault gets their act together next year, Seb and Dan have a great chance to be title contenders from race #1.

      I’m expecting Lewis to extend his contract with Mercedes and Red Bull to retain their duo for at least two more seasons.

      1. If Renault get his act together, and get a good engine… what’s going to be the outcome of a “Multi 21″? I think that webber was sidelined in RedBull because he wasn’t “one of them” he was an outsider, and that’s why Vettel was in a privilege position. How about that now that both of the drivers are redbull’s own? intersting!

    5. I think Vettel at Mercedes or McLaren is more likely than Ferrari at this stage. Perhaps if Honda turn out to be brilliant and McLaren have a turnaround in chassis competitiveness to bring it back up to the MP4-27’s standard, Vettel will agree to that apparently “ridiculous” offer in 2016…

  2. Constructors title is pretty much in the bag.

    I say, let them race. No joint strategies. No orders. No sharing data. Nothing.

    Good luck, bad luck, skill, guts. May the best man win.

    1. @trublu couldn’t agree more. The only problem is that they have one strategy man which is borderline hilarious. All it takes is for him to have a slight preference for one driver and it’s game over. Get each driver their own strategist, and maybe Hamilton might have been moved onto Rosberg’s clearly faster strategy, once it was clear Rosberg wasn’t getting past..

      1. @keithcollantine Regarding sharing of data, I meant individual driver telemetry. If driver1 is able to eke out gains in terms of extracting better tire life and fuel, or knocking a tenth off somewhere why should driver2 get access to that data when they’re clearly competing against each other for the championship? That basically negates driver1’s hard work.

  3. The sport seems to have forgotten about the fan who goes to the grand prix. For the average man who saves all year to go to his home grand prix there is an abundance of food & merchandise stalls all selling the same thing, but I can remember going to a race in the early 2000s and seeing the cars up close on display and sitting in them and there being a driver autograph session actually at the teams stand after qualifying all in the f1 village section. Silverstone made a massive effort to make the weekend more of a festival this year and it was much better but more can still be done. Allowing the fans to actually interact with the sport, or allowing the drivers to let off some steam by doing donuts if they’ve won a race! Heaven forbid!!! I mean come on what’s with all the marketing on the f1 tv about f1 being the worlds fastest brand! Have they forgotten its actually a sport that a lot of us are passionate about and not just a brand!!! The atmosphere at Silverstone this year was amazing but to have it come up on the screens to not invade the track, i know there is health & safety but let people live and celebrate a fantastic race, i dread to think how many times I’ve seen the vt of mansell winning and there being a track invasion and thinking god i bet that was an amazing race to be at!!!!

    1. The problem with the post-race activities is there’s plenty of stuff that can go wrong and affect the competitive result.

      Mansell has said many times how during the Silverstone invasion following his wins, he couldn’t really enjoy the moment because he was shouting at fans, telling them to stay away from the car because if they touched it, another team could easily get the car investigated or disqualified for outside interference.

  4. To anyone with even the scantest knowledge of this sport, it is abundantly clear that it is Formula 1’s business model which is broken, not the racing spectacle itself.

    Couldn’t agree more with this. Such a shame that so many ridiculous changes have been made to the rules in terms of double points, standing restarts etc., otherwise F1 would be in a very healthy state. It’s done nothing but infuriate the majority of fans yet the guys in charge of making these rules are still completely blind to this reality. Apart from this however, Formula One has a lot of great things going for it at the moment.

    1. Yes, its very sad and depressing to see how the people in charge instead of solving that one (the business model) they go on and press through more and more gimmicks that only turn off avid fans.

    2. I think F1 should learn with Americans how to promote a league/sport. What NBA does globally is noteworthy. FOM most get teams on board and together engage in joint campaigns.

      My contribution:

      1. Scale down on gimmicks and focus on improving pure racing without alienating small teams
      2. Tour with old cars and recently used cars worldwide.
      3. Increase interaction with the public (schools, parks, shopping centres, local go-karts).
      4. Create a joint social programs platform to advocate road safety, reading, philanthropy, etc.
      5. Make better use of the Internet (teams, individually, are doing a good job)
      6. In GP hosting cities, make a drivers parade at city centre

  5. @fer-no65 you and Buxton are absolutely right, there’s very little needed to make F1’s audience increase, specially since we have very good racing right now.

    Leaving ticket prices aside for a minute, even posting a couple of hours of free content every week on youtube (rather than transcribed interviews on their website) would go a long way with fans and the general public alike.

    Sure they can’t charge for that, but is about creating interest, showing people what they’re missing.
    If I was a teenager browsing the web and came across the Alonso-Vettel battle in HD with different angles, team radio etc I would definitely annoy my parents to get Sky or at least find who the drivers are and how they look like.

    The main thing is to have a good product and thankfully that is just what we have right now.

    1. The current business model is completely ignorant of the business models of every other major entity at present (in and out of sport)- now that masses of content is so easy to provide for people to peruse as and when they want, often content which would never be offered for money anyway, handing that out entices people. Withholding it frustrates and alienates them.

      Even record labels have songs (including the current singles, which are their main product!) on youtube. Labels famous for sucking the life out their industry and screwing artists over. Famous for failing to understand their audience. Famous for underestimating the digital revolution and failing to figure out a way to adjust their business for it, to the extent that a computer company swept in to revolutionise it. Those people provide an almost infinite amount more content than F1 does.

      How do you share a love of F1 and explain how amazing it is when the few youtube videos which haven’t been taken down are grainy, rarely quite what you’re looking for, and so entirely underwhelming?

      1. Having worked at a record label digitising old videos and putting them on YouTube, let me tell you, there’s good money it. F1 is missing a trick here, but it’s going to take the commercial rights holder to…hand over the commercial rights for something to happen.

        There is millions and millions of pounds in F1 that a savvy marketer could find outside of Azerbaijan if they tried.

  6. The only way to solve the debate about team orders is to run single car teams.

    I struggle to understand why this argument has raging for years on end. F1 is a TEAM SPORT, that is a fact, get with the program. You can deny it, say its not right, but the fact is, that it is part of the sport, always has been and always will be. F1 teams spend a lot of money to go racing, if I was running an F1 team, I wouldnt care which one driver of mine wins, as long as one of them does. This is what the team principal,director of racing,Executive director or whatever the hell its called these days gets paid to do, and this is their primary obligation to the shareholders of the respective teams. Dont like it? Well once again, get with the program. This is the real world. Sure, you want racing to be pure, perhaps we should be watching karting instead. F1 is nothing but pure, it is probably the complete opposite. F1 team bosses are too soft, they need to show the drivers who is boss. Lets not forget the drivers are employees (very well paid ones at that) of these large organizations, and the same rules apply to them, they have to follow orders issued by their management.

    So why do I watch F1? I love every single bit of it. In addition to the on track action, I equally enjoy the off track dramas and politics, it is more than a sport, its a complete spectacle!

    1. F1 is “trying” to be a team sport, however in the true spirit of team sports sich as football, there are no teammate plays on track, there is nothing that plays out on track to suggest driver 1 and driver 2 directly help out the team to achieve maximum result, otherwise we would be seeing drivers hold up entire packs of cars to allow the other driver to scamper off into the distance.

  7. Correct me if I am wrong but the request to Hamilton that I heard was not “change places with Rosberg” but was ” do not hold Rosberg up”, so in my opinion Hamilton did not refuse the request, he just was not put in the situation to grant it.

    1. It was first ‘don’t hold him up’, then a few laps later came a more explicit ‘OK Lewis, if you let Nico past at this lap please, let Nico past on the main start-finish straight.’

      1. I don’t blame Merc for trying to maximize both driver’s chances, and at the time they could not know he it was going to play out. All they knew at the time was Nico was going to need to make up 22 secs. I think it is only in hindsight that Lewis et al are feeling justified. If LH had had 22 secs to make up strictly due to the team deciding on different strategies he might have had the same gripe…and would have added something like ‘this is beyond bad luck’ etc etc…there would have been no shortage of verbiage on this coming from LH, situations reversed.

      2. I think Lewis Hamilton’s contract was probably written pretty well, so that Merc are worried they might get sued over this telling him to slow down business. Lets get some Lawyers and Lewis Hamilton’s contract on the F1 show.

  8. Buxton is spot on, he has gone up in my estimation, I’m wondering if Bernie (at the extaordinary meeting) is going to announce his retirement and introduce Flav. as his successor.

  9. Different perspectives on what constitutes the “good old days”, for me the gimmicks that have slowly eroded the fan-base started with re-fueling. You can guess then that I just don’t get it that despite the we are seeing people say that F1 is totally ruined for them because it just doesn’t sound like it did for the last decade or so .

  10. I would love to know the dialog that took place between the race engineers on opposite sides of the Mercedes garage (and the team bosses) in the moments before Hamilton was told not to race (hold up) Rosberg, and Rosberg was so informed. Hard to imagine that Hamilton’s man was very keen to relay that order. I suppose it’s understandable that Nico would have held back for a lap or two waiting for his free pass, but he no doubt could have used his fresher tires to push hard, and attempt a proper pass. In this instance, I think Hamilton was the one man on the team who did the correct thing … race as hard as he could to achieve maximum points in a very tight battle for the WDC. The gloves are off.

    1. Fair comment, but I think at the moment of the decision they were not thinking they would be handing NR something more than LH. At the time they just thought NR needed to make up 22secs due to his different strategy. The whole team cannot be blamed for trying to maximize NR’s chances…that doesn’t automatically mean they were trying to scupper LH. Even LH was poised to agree to the order but NR simply wasn’t all over him. Had he been, LH would have let Nico go because Nico would not have cost LH a millisecond, done properly, on the straight, like they were requesting.

  11. Regarding new media and its lack of monetary return to FOM, we all know how short-sighted this is in building a long term fan base but I think few people realise the immediate benefit this would have for teams trying to sell sponsorship. How many views would that barrel-roll of Massa have had by now if it was promoted on U-tube, note to sponsors; get your name in big letters on the plank, you never know it could pay off big-time.
    Maybe Bernie knows this but likes to keep the teams dependent on his largesse.

  12. If we could take a look into that unlikely parallel universe where Hamilton *did* slow down and pull over to let Rosberg through, I’m pretty sure Rosberg still wouldn’t have finished in P1. The fact is he’s just not as good at passing as the other front-runners – Hamilton, Alonso, Honey-badger, heck even Vettel in the last few weeks have shown that they’ll go for high risk passes.
    As points leader, last sunday I could tell that Rosberg was going for the percentages.

    And in hindsight, how great was the Hungary-O-ring on Sunday? The passes pulled off there had to be done with _bravado_. Had that race been in a Tilke-drome it would’ve been a lot easier to pass with DRS, and a whole lot less exciting.

    1. I think its even possible they would have finished 1-2 in such a case @bazza-spock. When you look at their lap times, the laps they were doing when running behind eachother were slower than after that not just for Rosberg but also for Hamilton.

      Had Hamilton immediately let Rosberg past, Rosberg would have been able to use his fresh tyres to do what they were supposed to do and make up ground. And I think Hamilton would have also saved a bit more of his tyres and been faster by about 3-4 seconds. Its clearly not a given, but I do not think it would have been impossible.
      But off course that would have handed Rosberg an increased lead, so its a bad choice from Hamilton’s point of view.

    2. @bazza-spoc

      The fact is he’s just not as good at passing as the other front-runners – Hamilton, Alonso, Honey-badger, heck even Vettel in the last few weeks have shown that they’ll go for high risk passes. As points leader, last sunday I could tell that Rosberg was going for the percentages.

      Back in 2006-09 when Rosberg drove a Williams, he would often make many good overtaking moves on other fast drivers in equal machinery. Then again, Nico back then was also a lot more prone to crashing than Nico now.

      I don’t think Rosberg is a bad wheel-to-wheel racer, he is just overly cautious this season.

        1. Let’s also allow for the fact that all drivers are not always hooked up for every stint of every race. Or even every part of every stint. Sometimes these guys are handcuffed to do much due to the tires, or how well their PU is working or their brakes etc…especially with these new cars. NR has also shown at times he can pass people, it’s just that he has rarely been in a top car throughout his career in F1 to have compiled much of a reputation. And sure, maybe he’s more of a ‘Prost’ who knows…it worked for Prost.

  13. Rosberg is upset about the safety car and his inability to pass the other car’s in a timely fashion.. I think this race will help him in the long run it will teach him to be more ruthless and stop trying to be Mr Niceguy.

    1. I think that you are right there. Rosberg was looking at the wider picture with the team arranging for a win etc, while he should have gotten the bit between the teeth and battled with JEV more determinedly, should have pushed Hamilton if he had wanted past etc, because they are in a battle for that championship.
      I also think that by now, he will know that it was wrong not to go against Ross’ TO last year in Malaysia.

      1. Indeed about Ross. I remember Hamilton being embarrassed they had given the team order, and quite apologetic to his team mate.

        No such reciprocity this time from Rosberg note, although granted they are fighting for a WC.

    2. Was it just after Germany or before Hungary that Rosberg said he’d rather beat Hamilton in a straight fight than have him hamstrung by mechanical problems? That seems to have come back to bite him quite quickly :-)

      I favour Hamilton, but Rosberg is doing a great job this season.

  14. The Buxton article encapsulates many people’s sentiments. Nowhere does an organization do more than FOM to alienate their purported fans. Ridiculous ticket prices (no – not set by promoter – promoter has to jack up price to pay Bernie & CVC); Horribly limited TV; disabled LiveTiming; aggressively eliminated YouTube.

    “Thou Shalt Not Watch F1!” it seems (unless you give Bernie $40 million). Oh yes, they give us that two minute impression on formula1.com. Cute rubbish.

  15. We will never know what could have happened of HAM had ROS passed, but by not doing so HAM blew any chances for a Merc win and handed P1 to RIC. What an employer who revises their policy because they are afraid of an employee (Making Top Dollars….) whining in the press! Nico’s too nice, Merc are too weak, and HAM benefits…

    1. As I’ve said elsewhere, putting Hamilton on softs would have meant he would have been ahead of Rosberg, on the same tyre but fresher, so think for a minute who was in a better position to win the race? If anything, Merc blew any chances for a Merc win, not Lewis Hamilton.

  16. I dont quite understand, why they even asked for team orders. To be honest, it was theirs mistake that Rosberg caught him Hamilton on track. After second pit stops Hamilton had track position over Rosberg, a propably he was able to win race more likely than Rosberg, who was losing 3 or 4 seconds by that time. Question is, why they didnt put softs on Hamilton´s car as well ? Add the fact they saw Ferrari doing the same lap earlier. Plus the fact, that Lewis had one or two more ( I believe two ) fresh sets of softs, unused in qualy. Even if they werent sure, the first set can last up until the end, they could just easily copy Rosberg´s strategy and pit once more. With this much faster rubber I believe that Hamilton could pass Alonso more easily on track, and fight with Ricciardo for win.

    Glad to see your views, disagreements on this topic, thanks. :)

    1. The rate at which Rosberg’s tyres went off makes me doubt he could have got past Alonso had Hamilton let him past. Ironically, both drivers were now with equal chances of making the same strategy options, so it was strange to have Hamilton use 3 different range of tyres.
      I assume Mercedes were not thinking on their feet and were caught in their pre race plan which got nullified by both rain and the safety car.

  17. I totally agree with the COTD. If FOM and others, who are responsible for promoting F1, cannot sell the 2014 F1 season, then they cannot sell anything and should be sidelined.

  18. Maybe Mercedes could try a simulation to see if Hamilton wouldn’t have won the race if they put him on two stints of soft tyres. He had plenty fresh ones. Instead, yet they let him struggle on mediums.

    It was pretty obvious that the soft tyres were lasting forever (Hamilton already did a long stint on them) and were faster. So why switch to medium then? Yet Rosberg, who clearly showed an inability to overtake, does get the agresive strategy. it just doesn;t make sense.

    They could also have called in Rosberg earlier. With two equal length stints on the softs.

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