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[Formula 1] 2010 Silly Season

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+Frank B.    7,151

Sauber secures 2010 Formula 1 slot

Sauber has been granted the final slot on the Formula 1 grid, the FIA has announced, bringing to an end months of uncertainty about the future of the team.

The Swiss-based outfit had been hanging in limbo since the summer following BMW's decision to pull out of F1.

An original deal with Qadbak proved troublesome, especially because it came too late for the team to be guaranteed a place on the original 2010 grid - with the 13th slot having been handed to Lotus.

However, the post-season decision by Toyota to quit F1 handed Sauber a fresh chance to get back on the grid ? and its hopes were further boosted when Peter Sauber took over the outfit following the eventual collapse of the deal with Qadbak.

With Toyota having relinquished its entry, the FIA confirmed on Thursday that Sauber's application to join the championship had been successful ? meaning the team will be racing in F1 next year.

"The FIA has written to inform BMW Sauber AG that their application for an entry in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship has been successful," said a statement issued by the FIA.

"Subject to their signing the Concorde Agreement, BMW Sauber will be awarded the 13th entry in the Championship, taking the place of the departing Toyota team.

"The FIA has worked closely with the Commercial Rights Holder and the teams involved over recent weeks and is grateful for their support in achieving the best outcome for the sport.&quoSource: Autosport

With that and the rumoured sale of the Renault F1 team to Prodrive we get the following grid:

11. Robert KubicaForce India Mercedes-->

14. Adrian Sutil

15. Vitantonio Liuzzi[/b]-->

16. Sebastian Buemi

17. Jaime AlguerLotus F1 Cosworth -->

18. Jarno Trulli

Telefonica Campos Meta 1 Cosworth-->

20. ?

21. Bruno Senna [/b]-->

22. Jacques Villeneuve

Virgin Racing Cosworth-->

24. Timo Glock

25. Luca di GSauber Ferrari-->

26. Nick Heidfeld

27. ?

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+Frank B.    7,151

Trulli, Kovalainen confirmed at Lotus

2010 Formula One Championship grid

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

1. Jenson Button

2. Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes GP

3. Nico Rosberg

4. Michael Schumacher

Red Bull Renault

5. Sebastian Vettel

6. Mark Webber

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

7. Felipe Massa

8. Fernando Alonso

AT&T Williams Cosworth

9. Rubens Barichello

10. Nico H?lkenberg

Prodrive Renault F1>

11. Robert Kubica

12.

Force India Mercedes>

14. Adrian Sutil

15. Vitantonio Liuzzi

Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari>

16. Sebastian Buemi

17. Jaime Alguersuari

Lotus F1 Cosworth >

18. Jarno Trulli

19. Heikki Kovalainen

Telefonica Campos Meta 1 Cosworth>

20. ?

21. Bruno Senna

US F1 Team Cosworth>

22. Jacques Villeneuve

23. ?

Virgin Racing Cosworth>

24. Timo Glock

25. Luca di Grassi

Sauber Ferrari>

26. Nick Heidfeld

27. ?

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+Frank B.    7,151

Michael Schumacher says yes to ?20m Mercedes return to Formula One>

Grand Prix legend Michael Schumacher has said "yes" to a Formula One comeback.

The 40-year-old has finally been persuaded to come to the rescue of car giant Mercedes, who gave him his Grand Prix break 19 years ago.

Mercedes came up with ?125,000 to hand Schumacher, then an unknown, his F1 debut for Jordan at Spa in 1991.

Next season, he will fill the seat vacated by world champion Jenson Button's McLaren switch, as revealed by Mirror Sport.

And contrary to reports that the sport's most successful racer would be earning just ?6million, the German will actually rake in the biggest salary in F1 next season, totalling nearly ?20m.

Yet, even at that price he faces a cut from his ?30m price-tag during his days at Ferrari.

It means that having initially refused to meet Button's demands for a minor pay hike, Mercedes are having to pay twice as much for this admittedly quality replacement.

But they are more than happy to do so when the name involved is Schumacher.

Mercedes bosses Norbert Haug, Nick Fry and Ross Brawn appear to have pulled off the coup of the century, after the car giant took over the World Champion Brawn operation last month. They will also be breathing a huge sigh of relief as the star line-up they had promised for their new 'works' team was looking decidedly threadbare after failing to land Button or Kimi Raikkonen.

While karting at Kerpen at the weekend Schumacher refused to comment, and the seven-time world champion has yet to sign on the dotted line, but sources in Germany say the deal has been done.

Schumacher has even cleared the path for the Mercedes move by negotiating his way out of a three-year agreement to be the ambassador to Ferrari's road car division.

Although the pact between Schumacher and Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo was only verbal, the Italians, who made him champion five times, have been stunned by the U-turn.

But the chance of becoming the father figure and leader to what is effectively Germany's answer to Ferrari was just too good to resist. And Schumacher has got an extra boost thanks to an allclear from doctors on a neck injury he sustained motorcycle racing at the start of the year.

Mercedes' insistence that they are not turning the British champions into Team Germany is now even harder to swallow.

They have two German drivers, a German boss in Haug and a German engine. And Mercedes have already admitted the German national anthem will ring out over the circuit when they win a Grand Prix.

New team Lotus are expected to confirm ex-Toyota star Jarno Trulli as lead driver. McLaren refugee Heikki Kovalainen is expected to land the other seat under design ace Mike Gascoyne as chief technical officer.

souricon.gif News source: Daily Mirror

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san.W10    6

Ferrari: Schumacher deal 'not binding'

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo says his company would not prevent Michael Schumacher from racing for Mercedes in Formula 1 if he wished to do so - but added that the German had not yet discussed any such situation with him.

Reports in Germany over the weekend suggested that Mercedes was on the brink of securing Schumacher for its new factory F1 programme next season, in a sensational move that would bring the seven times world champion back into the sport three years after he retired.

Schumacher has been with Ferrari since 1996 and stayed on as a consultant and occasional test driver after his F1 career ended.

Although he intended to make a comeback this summer to deputise for Felipe Massa at Ferrari, a lingering neck injury prevented this. He was set to remain with Ferrari to work mainly with its road car division, but rumours of a Mercedes F1 deal threw this agreement into doubt.

When asked by Reuters if Ferrari would insist that Schumacher kept to his deal, di Montezemolo replied: "No, not binding."

The Italian added that Schumacher would have to split from Ferrari if he wanted to race for a rival company, but said there had been no approach from the German yet.

"It's clear that if he decides to take another road our agreement will no longer be valid, that is logical," di Montezemolo told the news agency. "You can't work with a competitor and with us at the same time.

"I still haven't spoken to him about it. He is only a dear friend, not a team member. He is a consultant for our road cars."

The German media has predicted that a Schumacher-Mercedes deal could be announced as early as this week. Mercedes has already signed Nico Rosberg for its other car.

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80575

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+Frank B.    7,151

Di Grassi to partner Glock at Virgin

Campos in talks with Pedro de la Rosa

... which gives us the following:

2010 Formula One Championship grid

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

1. Jenson Button

2. Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes GP

3. Nico Rosberg

4. Michael Schumacher

Red Bull Renault

5. Sebastian Vettel

6. Mark Webber

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

7. Felipe Massa

8. Fernando Alonso

AT&T Williams Cosworth

9. Rubens Barichello

10. Nico H?lkenberg

Prodrive Renault F1

11. Robert Kubica

12.

Force India Mercedes

14. Adrian Sutil

15. Vitantonio Liuzzi

Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari

16. Sebastian Buemi

17. Jaime Alguersuari

Lotus F1 Cosworth

18. Jarno Trulli

19. Heikki Kovalainen

Campos Meta 1 Cosworth

20. Pedro de la Rosa

21. Bruno Senna

US F1 Team Cosworth

22. Jacques Villeneuve

23. ?

Virgin Racing Cosworth

24. Timo Glock

25. Luca di Grassi

Sauber Ferrari

26. Nick Heidfeld

27. ?

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san.W10    6

Kobayashi joins Sauber for 2010

Kamui Kobayashi will race on in Formula 1 next year after signing a deal with the Sauber team for 2010.

The Japanese made a strong impression during two outings for Toyota in the Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix this year - earning respect for the way he battled with Jenson Button in both events.

His performances had appeared to have been enough to secure him a ride with the Toyota team for 2010, but those plans were scuppered when the Japanese manufacturer pulled out of F1.

However, following weeks of talks, Kobayashi has concluded a deal with Sauber to join the team that is taking over from BMW's operations.

Speaking about the move, Kobayashi said: "Ever since the start of my career I have dreamed of racing in Formula 1. Now this dream has come true.

"I am very happy that my two races in 2009 have earned me a cockpit place. I will do my very best for Peter Sauber’s team and I am proud to be able to carry on flying the Japanese flag in Formula 1."

Sauber boss Peter Sauber said his decision had been fuelled by the fact that Kobayashi made such a strong showing in the last two races of the year - despite not having sat in an F1 car for several months before that.

"I’m very much looking forward to working together with Kamui," said Sauber.

"In the final two Grand Prix of last season he was granted an unexpected chance to show his skills, and he made impressive use of it.

"Particularly in the Abu Dhabi race he demonstrated not only that he can drive fast and aggressively, but also his ability to successfully implement a strategy. I am convinced he has a great deal of potential and will be able to make the most of it in our team."

Kobayashi revealed after Abu Dhabi that if he did not land a race seat in F1 for next year his lack of funding would probably mean he would have to return home to Japan to work in his father’s sushi restaurant.

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80608

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+Frank B.    7,151

We're getting there. 19 drivers confirmed thus far:

2010 Formula One Championship grid

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

1. Jenson Button

2. Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes GP

3. Nico Rosberg

4. Michael Schumacher

Red Bull Renault

5. Sebastian Vettel

6. Mark Webber

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

7. Felipe Massa

8. Fernando Alonso

AT&T Williams Cosworth

9. Rubens Barichello

10. Nico H?lkenberg

Renault F1

11. Robert Kubica

12.

Force India Mercedes

14. Adrian Sutil

15. Vitantonio Liuzzi

Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari

16. Sebastian Buemi

17. Jaime Alguersuari

Lotus F1 Cosworth

18. Jarno Trulli

19. Heikki Kovalainen

Campos Meta 1 Cosworth

20. Pedro de la Rosa

21. Bruno Senna

US F1 Team Cosworth

22. Jacques Villeneuve

23. ?

Virgin Racing Cosworth

24. Timo Glock

25. Luca di Grassi

Sauber Ferrari

26. Kamui Kobayashi

27. Nick Heidfeld

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Subject Delta    108

Glad to see Kobayashi get a drive, he performed very well in the 2 races that he took part in.

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Buio    23
Glad to see Kobayashi get a drive, he performed very well in the 2 races that he took part in.

Indeed, he deserves a spot. I hope Sauber makes a good car next year too. I respect Peter Sauber, he seems very decent.

Here is something I thought of. If Fisichella had continued with Force India he could have been in this years F1 too.

Apparently he likes a car that is simple and it the FI car suited him well. When Sutil started doing well in FI, Fisichella was hampered by a few bad qualifyings but did well in the race (well what was possible from way back start position). But when he got the qualifying right he did really well and took 2nd place and moved to Ferrari. Where he sucked. He couldn't get a grip on the more complicated car and was over a second slower per lap than R?ikk?nen.

If he had stayed with FI, i'm pretty sure he would have picked up several more good point finishers and earned a slot for 2010. Now he basically took him self out of F1 with the switch to Ferrari. But it was his dream and he got to live it for a few months before retirement.

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Subject Delta    108

I think the KERS system in the Ferrari is what flummoxed Fisichella, apparently breaking in the KERS cars was vastly different to the non KERS cars, and as he didn't have the benefit of adapting to the KERS system in winter testing, he was always bound to be slow.

As for Sauber, I can see them being midfield at best, without BMW I don't see them having the resources to really hit the front again but I guess time will tell. I personally am just pleased that they have a place on the grid

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JoeC    107

If Villeneuve is in the frame for a drive with US F1, what's to stop Fisi from getting one with them too? :p

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CrashG    439
Glad to see Kobayashi get a drive, he performed very well in the 2 races that he took part in.

Was just going to say the same thing.

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Nicholas-c    37

well done on Kobayashi, confident driver, He took on a leading world champion for point position! that alone has to be worth a drive.

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san.W10    6

Raikkonen: WRC may be permanent

Kimi Raikkonen has said that there is no guarantee his switch to the World Rally Championship will be a temporary one, after admitting that it is not certain he will come back to Formula 1.

The Finn has signed to do a near full campaign for the Red Bull-backed Citroen Junior team in 2010 after failing to find a seat suitable for him in F1 next year.

And although many have viewed the 2007 world champion's move across to rallying as an F1 sabbatical, Raikkonen himself says there is a chance his WRC switch could actually be permanent.

In an exclusive interview with this week's AUTOSPORT, where he speaks for the first time about his move to rallying, Raikkonen said his long-term future was totally open.

"I don't have any contract with F1 or anything else, so I have no idea what will happen," he said. "I have both options, to stay in rallying or try to come back to F1. I want to see how it goes, and then decide. I'm not in a hurry to decide.

"If it goes well, then I could keep doing it. There are many different scenarios. Right now it's just for this year, both with Red Bull and with Citroen."

Raikkonen also reveals that he suspects there was more to Ferrari's decision to get him out of his contract than simply his performance with the team.

"You have to ask them, I don't know!" he says. "You need to ask the people who make those decisions. I'm not interested in the end why or when. I'm pretty sure I know the answer, and it's nothing to do with racing or what I've done there.

"I think when there is enough money involved, you can always change anything! I think it's a lot to do with Santander coming in. Probably they made some deal. I don't know..."

Raikkonen admitted that he came close to signing for McLaren, and held talks with Brawn, but in the end could not secure himself the conditions that he wanted.

"I could have signed with them [McLaren] if I'd wanted to do, but in the end it wasn't 100 per cent what I wanted. It was not really so much about money; it was all the other things. It's not that I couldn't have gone there but, like I said, I have no reason to do something with a contract that I'm not happy with."

Raikkonen insisted, however, that money was not the key factor in preventing a deal happening - even though the terms of his release from Ferrari meant he would get less money if he secured another drive in F1.

"Yeah, for sure there is something that if I raced with another team, I get a bit less. And there was no point to get paid less if I race with somebody. It was a complicated situation, but in the end that wasn't the issue, the money side, although everybody thinks so. It wasn't what I wanted."

Speaking about the Brawn situation, Raikkonen said: "Probably I could have gone there. I didn't want to start waiting for a long time. For sure we could have got a contract in the end, but when the McLaren thing didn't happen I already had the talks with Red Bull, so I just wanted to go there and see what happens in rallying. Maybe I'll come back [to F1] next year or the year after. Or maybe not..."

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80616

hmmm.

will we see Kimi Raikkonen Rally (KRR) game? :p

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san.W10    6

Schumacher reveals comeback is close

Michael Schumacher has told Ferrari that there is a "very, very, very strong possibility" that he will race for Mercedes-Benz in Formula 1 next year, team president Luca di Montezemolo has revealed.

Although there has not yet been any official word from the Schumacher or Mercedes-Benz camps about the progress of talks in relation to an amazing comeback for the seven-time world champion, di Montezemolo has given away just how far advanced the situation now is.

Speaking to selected media, including AUTOSPORT, at Ferrari's Christmas lunch in Fiorano on Thursday, di Montezemolo shed fresh light on the Schumacher developments.

"I hadn't spoken to him since Abu Dhabi but I spoke to him yesterday (Wednesday)," said di Montezemolo about Schumacher's Mercedes-Benz situation.

"He phoned me and he told me that there is a very, very, very strong possibility [of racing for Mercedes-Benz]. Having said that, it is not 100 per cent decided. But that is what he said yesterday morning."

Di Montezemolo confirmed that Ferrari had agreed to release Schumacher from any remaining commitments he had to the Italian team so he could make the switch to Mercedes-Benz in the event of a deal coming off.

Sources have told AUTOSPORT that a deal between Schumacher and Mercedes-Benz has been agreed in principle, but that the matter cannot move forward until the German has been told by medical experts that his neck is 100 per cent ready for an F1 return.

Schumacher hurt his neck in a big motorbike accident earlier this year, and it was the legacy of that injury which forced him to abandon a comeback for Ferrari in the middle of last year.

Once Schumacher has got the medical news that he and Mercedes-Benz need, then it will be a matter of finalising his contract prior to an announcement being made.

Di Montezemolo said that he believed that it was a 'new Schumacher' who was pursuing a future with Mercedes-Benz.

"The real Michael Schumacher always told me he would finish his career at Ferrari," he said.

When asked what he had said to Schumacher during their conversation, di Montezemolo paused before saying: "Don't forget that when you start collaboration with a driver as long ago as we did with Michael, in 1995, over 14 years ago, you are also a friend.

"You can agree and disagree but you remain friends. I won't forget what he did for Ferrari and he won't forget what we did for him."

Di Montezemolo also spoke at length about the struggles Ferrari faced during 2009, having been unable to take the challenge to title rivals Brawn GP and Red Bull Racing.

"All our car architecture - the dimensions of the gearbox, everything - was based on a different interpretation of the rules and, also, we were pushing very hard until the last corner of the last race of '08," he said.

Di Montezemolo also admitted that the season had marked the closest point in his experience to seeing Ferrari quit F1.

"This year was the only one moment since I became chairman in 1991 that I was really minded to stop F1," he said. "It was the unanimous decision of the board that there was too much credibility being lost, too much polemics over the rules and not enough research.

"Now I say thank God that everything is over although we paid a big price because not to have Toyota and BMW and to have Renault in a different situation is not good for F1."

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80623

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Subject Delta    108

Bah. I think I just died a little inside :(

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.mcman    1

Mercedes signs Petronas as title sponsor

By Steven English Monday, December 21st 2009, 09:43 GMT

Mercedes Grand Prix has signed a long-term sponsorship agreement with Malaysian oil firm Petronas.

Petronas, which formerly sponsored the BMW Sauber team and had been linked with new Malaysian F1 team Lotus, will become title partner to the German manufacturer.

The team has released a concept image of the car, but the final Petronas-liveried Mercedes will be unveiled at the team's launch, and will take to the track for the first time on February 1 at Valencia.

Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug added: "Mercedes-Benz and Petronas will work together both on and off the track. Petronas' home base in Kuala Lumpur is in a fast-growing region for the automotive industry, which makes this new partnership even more valuable."

post-120413-1261399911.jpgpost-120413-1261399835.jpg

source

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Subject Delta    108

Looks a lot nicer than the old electric green and white monstrosity.

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+Frank B.    7,151

According to Bild.de Michael Schumacher signed a 1 year contract. (Article in German; English version here.)

Edit: The BBC has the news as well now.

Which gives us the following:

2010 Formula One Championship grid

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

1. Jenson Button

2. Lewis Hamilton

Petronas Mercedes GP

3. Nico Rosberg

4. Michael Schumacher

Red Bull Renault

5. Sebastian Vettel

6. Mark Webber

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

7. Felipe Massa

8. Fernando Alonso

AT&T Williams Cosworth

9. Rubens Barichello

10. Nico H?lkenberg

Renault F1

11. Robert Kubica

12.

Force India Mercedes

14. Adrian Sutil

15. Vitantonio Liuzzi

Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari

16. Sebastian Buemi

17. Jaime Alguersuari

Lotus F1 Cosworth

18. Jarno Trulli

19. Heikki Kovalainen

Campos Meta 1 Cosworth

20. Pedro de la Rosa

21. Bruno Senna

US F1 Team Cosworth

22. Jacques Villeneuve

23. ?

Virgin Racing Cosworth

24. Timo Glock

25. Luca di Grassi

Sauber Ferrari

26. Kamui Kobayashi

27. Nick Heidfeld

Edited by Mephistopheles

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MightyJordan    7,914

Mercedes have confirmed Schumacher is driving with them next season. I just saw it on Sky Sports News.

The season has just got a bit more interesting! :)

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san.W10    6

:woot:

btw, isnt it time the 2009 thread was closed?

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simonlang    530

this changes many things.

i predict a very interesting and hard-fighted season.

and imho biggest winners will be:

felipe massa, michael schumacher and lewis hamilton

biggest losers will be:

fernando alonso, jenson button and nico rosberg.

bring it on! :D

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Subject Delta    108

I am pretty sure that Alonso has more than enough in his locker to beat Massa.

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+Frank B.    7,151

Ecclestone tips Vettel for championship

Formula 1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone has predicted that Sebastian Vettel will win next year's world championship - and says he is relishing the fight between the rising young stars and returning legend Michael Schumacher.

When asked by German newspaper Bild who he thought Schumacher's biggest rival in 2010 would be, Ecclestone replied: "There are several - [Lewis] Hamilton, [Fernando] Alonso... But I will say this now: Vettel will be the next world champion."

Ecclestone sees Schumacher's return to the grid at the age of 41 as a huge challenge for younger drivers like 22-year-old Vettel.

"Without a doubt, the young ones will want to beat him," said Ecclestone. "He will make sure of that. That's the appeal of all of this."

He also reiterated his belief that 2010 is set to be an epic season thanks to both Schumacher's surprise return and the strength of the new generation.

"I was of course a little surprised - I didn't really expect that he would drive for Mercedes, but now I'm just simply very, very happy," said Ecclestone.

"He wouldn't have come back had he not been thinking of victory. He really does seem very motivated.

"It is good for everyone, very good actually. For the media, for the fans and for the sponsors - but I cannot express it in numbers. It is impossible to calculate.

"Don't forget, next year we have four current or former world champions in the shape of Alonso, Hamilton, [Jenson] Button and Schumacher on the starting line. I can't remember the last time that happened."

Source: Autosport

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