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Following the release of F1’s new targets for change in motorsport, I analyse if they really stack up. In preparation for the upcoming 2021 F1 season, Formula 1 has released an outline of its goals for #WeRaceAsOne, using the campaign as the official Environment, Social, Corporate Governance (ESG), with a focus on three pillars:...
Following the release of F1’s new targets for change in motorsport, I analyse if they really stack up.
In preparation for the upcoming 2021 F1 season, Formula 1 has released an outline of its goals for #WeRaceAsOne, using the campaign as the official Environment, Social, Corporate Governance (ESG), with a focus on three pillars: sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and community.
In a sport with an increasing focus on progress (or a lack thereof) in regards to social issues such as discrimination, human rights and climate change, Formula 1 has decided to extend its social issues campaign to this year. The FIA received much criticism in 2020 for its performative activism: many fans highlighted the incongruence between the principles of the #WeRaceAsOne campaign and the multiple controversies that marred the sport last year, including Nikita Mazepin’s signing and the investigation into Lewis Hamilton for a shirt that demanded action on the Breonna Taylor case. As a result, the FIA has outlined nine specific targets that fit into its three pillars of focus for change.
These are –
• Pursuing sustainably fuelled hybrid engines
• Reducing single-use plastic bottles, cutlery and food waste
• Creating internships and apprenticeships for under-represented groups
• Funding scholarships for engineering students from diverse and underprivileged backgrounds with work experience opportunities at F1 and the Teams
• Growing F1 in Schools
• Working with promoters to establish programmes that leave a lasting impact
• Growing W Series and supporting talented young female drivers
• Moving towards new freight methods through adapting containers for travel
• Continuing to develop their remote operations capabilities
Speaking on the release of this plan, Stefano Domenicali, F1 president, said “Our WeRaceAsOne platform was very effective at raising the awareness of socially important issues and our steadfast commitment to make a positive change,”
“We are very proud of it and the teams have embraced it fully. While our commitment through words to tackling issues like sustainability and diversity in our sport are important, it is our actions that we will be judged on.”
These goals will certainly have a positive impact on the sport, and are a welcome change from the vague pledges for change and unity that many companies used to save face during 2020; it is one thing to state your sympathies, but it is far more to put in the time, effort and financial sacrifice necessary to initiate such a detailed plan for change. There is so much value in Formula 1 taking steps to deliberately create opportunities and require change – it destroys any chances of stagnancy or retaliation from individual teams or organisations as they HAVE to diversify and adapt.
Nevertheless, it is essential that we review these proposals, and continue to set new targets. It’s obvious that the 2021 targets won’t fully rectify the expansive issues that F1 faces, so to ensure long-term change is achieved, F1 must listen to its people, not just the big bosses.
F1’s environmental goals in particular are undoubtedly progress from previous years, and fit with previous FIA work to develop better and ultra-efficient biofuel. However, it needs to ensure it has targets beyond “pursuing”, “moving towards” and “continuing to develop”, to ensure that change is regular and useful.
The FIA has insisted on a 2030 target of carbon neutrality, but this needs to be pursued through a constant requirement of adapting and changing the way F1 consumes resources. If we wait another nine years to change, we’ll have already caused too much damage.
Formula 1 teams have shown that they can adapt to dramatically different specifications where necessary, as shown by the fact that they have all developed cars with radically different aerodynamics, in the middle of a global pandemic, to fit new regulations. There is the possibility for immediate change in F1, so this needs to occur. It may be difficult to make changes in this way, but climate change is a difficult issue – we can’t opt-out of its impacts depending on how hard we’re willing to work to slow it down.
Formula 1’s social targets are undoubtedly a step in the right direction, but are unfortunately somewhat undermined by contrasting behaviour from the FIA and wider sport across 2020, in the first year of #WeRaceAsOne. Formula 1 can pursue greater inclusion of women and minorities, but that means nothing if they don’t feel safe within the sport. In an online poll of 105 women, 69% said they would be more hesitant to take a job in Formula 1 as a result of Mazepin’s involvement within the sport, and 54% of 95 people of colour surveyed said F1’s track record of racism made them feel more unsafe within the industry.
Formula 1 can commit to increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups, but if people in these groups don’t feel safe taking them, they might be hesitant to participate, and feel as though Formula 1 is not for them. Formula 1 cannot assume their ‘prestige’ will automatically make young talents choose them, both with drivers and staff, when series like Formula E and NASCAR have made more plausible commitments to diversity, such as NASCAR’s sensitivity training or Formula E’s carbon neutrality.
Formula 1 authorities can make as clear of a commitment as they want to a future vision of equality and environmentalism, but this is meaningless if it isn’t a universal one. In an industry where marginalised groups have such little representation, teams sending a united message to these people that they are supported can be a welcome change, and it leaves no room for fans to continue to discriminate.
This shift is essential, as the bullying of women, BIPOC and the LGBTQ+ community is often where discrimination occurs in the most overt way, and is often the most instrumental in forcing people away from the sport. Introducing people to motorsport through F1 in Schools and internship programs are brilliant, but if the same people are continuously bullied by other fans simply for existing in a motorsport space, this effort is wasted.
If Formula 1 wants to be perceived as the diverse industry it says it is, diversity needs to be their top priority, but the multitude of scandals from teams or representatives last year alone seems to contradict this image entirely. For example, the pre-race anti-racism message may seem like a stalwart part of the 2020 season, but we can’t forget how it took a considerable fight from Hamilton and other drivers to allow it.
Nor can we forget the backlash from the FIA after Hamilton’s “arrest the cops that killed Breonna Taylor” shirt, despite the fact that the campaign had received global support, and represented one of the most fundamental parts of the Black Lives Matter movement.
One of the most significant factors that must be considered when assessing the validity of #WeRaceAsOne is Hamilton’s claim that certain teams suggested that their drivers not kneel. Formula 1 can’t pretend that it is against racism if individuals within the sport don’t even have the freedom to express their opposition to racism.
Formula 1 can claim it has an ideological opposition to racism as a concept, but when it undermines the way the only black driver asks to work against racism, it’s no more than an empty promise. No matter what your sport’s efforts are to commit to diversity, failing to punish even the most obvious violations of these principles from the people within your sport completely undermines their validity.
One of the biggest controversies in Formula 1 last year was the idea of equating a driver declining to kneel for BLM to racism. Whilst many have been hesitant to say that not kneeling doesn’t equal racism, it speaks volumes that Formula 1’s official slogan promotes unity, and yet the biggest part of promoting that movement featured drivers in two different stances.
Drivers have a choice to how they express their beliefs, but not doing so in the way that the grid’s only black driver chooses to (and instead simply offering a statement against racism), can feel slightly empty-handed when this is the first time they have expressed these beliefs, but have a history of racist behaviour: for example, Sainz’ comments about Asian food stereotypes or his father’s brand’s blackface in an advertisement, or the connotations of Kimi Raikkonen’s merchandise and the beliefs of the designer he collaborated with to create it.
So many times, underprivileged groups are told that they have to meet prejudice halfway. They’re told that they get some change, so have to settle for the discrimination and lack of representation that comes with it. This is so dangerous because it means that these people remain at risk, whilst they have less of a basis to launch a complaint, because those in power will argue that concessions are already being made, regardless of how valuable these concessions are.
No matter the value of the pledges Formula 1 are making, a lack of a universal stance means that underrepresented groups are still unsafe within the sport. Formula 1 routinely ignores violations of the principles it claims to stand by, and isn’t working to remove the structures that create this inequality in the first place, such as the rampant elitism that pushes BIPOC out of driving disproportionately more than young white drivers, through the extraordinarily high costs of junior series that the FIA continues to allow.
Overall, there needs to be a commitment to making sure people within this sport uphold the principles F1 is desperate to show it holds. These proposals are wonderful, but FIA authorities and Liberty Media need to make sure that the faces of our sport aren’t undermining them. Fighting for equality isn’t just about internships and carbon dioxide statistics – it’s about punishing those who disrespect underrepresented groups, regardless of their status.
Statements like these are essential in ensuring that Formula 1 begins to change for the better, but they’re only one step in this journey. What is needed now is a continued and developing implementation of these, proof they are happening, and a commitment to excluding anyone that does not help to forward this movement, regardless of the prestige (or wealth) they hold.
Amelia Taylor is the author of “formulaAMELIA” details at formulaamelia.com
Copyright ©2021 formulaAMELIA
[Note: The opinions expressed on this website are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors and/or publishers.]
Pirelli plans to undertake 10 test sessions totalling 28 days this year with nine Formula 1 teams in preparation for the 2022 season, which introduces new technical regulations along with a move to 18-inch tyres. This, of course, is subject to any restrictions resulting from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The development of the new...
Pirelli plans to undertake 10 test sessions totalling 28 days this year with nine Formula 1 teams in preparation for the 2022 season, which introduces new technical regulations along with a move to 18-inch tyres.
This, of course, is subject to any restrictions resulting from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The development of the new 18-inch tyres actually started back in 2019, before being paused for a year as a result of Covid-19 pandemic.
This year, 18-inch testing resumes with a varied programme of slicks (seven sessions) and wets (three sessions) that takes in four stand-alone tests and six that will run immediately after a grand prix.
The first two sessions took place at Jerez in Spain with Ferrari from February 22-24: both slick and wet tyres were tested.
In total, the test sessions cover 20 days throughout 2021, but as more than one car will be running during some of those days, there will be 28 ‘car days’ in all over the course of the year (22 days in the dry and six days in the wet).
“We’re looking forward to resuming our tests for the new 18-inch tyres shortly, but as the Covid-19 pandemic – which led to the suspension of the test programme last year – is not yet over, it’s possible that our planned schedule for this year may have to be modified. As a result, we have a back-up plan too. Nonetheless, we have put together a programme that should enable us to pick up solidly from where we left off in 2019 and finalise the specification for a new generation of tyre under fresh regulations that will give Formula 1 a very different look next year. Many thanks to all the teams for their support in providing simulations and mule cars, giving us a good base to work from. We will be testing both our slick and wet prototype 18-inch tyres for 2022: we started already at Jerez in Spain for three days with Ferrari, and we will end up at France’s Magny-Cours circuit with Alpine in September.”
In November 2020, Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd announced an innovative partnership with the Mulberry Schools Trust and the creation of the Mulberry STEM Academy as part of our vision and commitment to become a more diverse and inclusive team. Launched by Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff through a virtual event from the team’s headquarters to...
In November 2020, Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd announced an innovative partnership with the Mulberry Schools Trust and the creation of the Mulberry STEM Academy as part of our vision and commitment to become a more diverse and inclusive team.
Launched by Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff through a virtual event from the team’s headquarters to the three Mulberry schools in London, the Mulberry STEM Academy provides a specialised programme for young people who have talent, passion and aptitude in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) subjects, providing them with extracurricular learning and inspirational experiences through vocational training, study and masterclasses.
Over 100 applications were received from students at Mulberry Academy Shoreditch, Mulberry School for Girls and Mulberry UTC for the 20 places available in Years 10 and 12. A rigorous selection process, with interviews conducted remotely adding to the challenge for the young students, resulted in the selection of the first cohort of STEM scholars to win a place on this year’s programme.
To launch the Mulberry STEM Academy programme, the 40 successful students, along with Headteacher Dr Vanessa Ogden, joined the Mercedes F1 team through a virtual event on Saturday 27 February. Welcomed by Technical Director James Allison and Chief People Officer Paul Mills, the group then took part in an inspirational careers talk with four of the team’s past and present graduates who have volunteered to be part of the stimulating STEM programme. Designed to introduce the Mulberry students to the team and inspire them as they set out making decisions on their future education and careers, the groups heard from the team’s graduates about their roles, how their education choices influenced their career paths, and what it is like to work for a World Championship winning Formula One team, taking the opportunity to ask many insightful questions.
The majority of students at the Mulberry Schools Trust are from Black, Asian and minority ethnic and disadvantaged backgrounds, groups which are very under-represented in skilled areas of STEM industries*. Mercedes F1 and Mulberry hope that the establishment of the Mulberry STEM Academy will give students the knowledge, skills, experiences and confidence to move forward into careers in engineering, design and science-based industries, and in turn become the role models of the future for their peers and younger students at the Mulberry Schools Trust.
Dr Vanessa Ogden, CEO of the Mulberry Schools Trust and Headteacher of Mulberry School for Girls continued: “I am delighted with the success of our first event with Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix. Our Mulberry STEM Academy scholars were thrilled to meet the employee graduates, who were all highly aspirational. Imaginations were sparked and ambitions raised, as our students listened to the different educational routes that can lead to a flourishing career in STEM. Our young people deserve the best and we know that exposure to high quality, stimulating events like this will propel them more quickly into exciting futures and desired destinations. We look forward to seeing our students grow in confidence as they progress through the programme over the coming months.”
Paul Mills, Chief People Officer at Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd concluded: “The first event of our Mulberry STEM Academy programme has been eagerly anticipated and meeting this year’s cohort of students on Saturday was the moment that I most looked forward to since we created the concept last year. I am very grateful to the team at Mulberry who have worked so hard and with such determination, on top of the significant challenges faced by all schools over the past year, to enable us to reach this point so quickly; their efforts have been truly remarkable. Together, we have developed a uniquely exciting curriculum for our scholars, designed to ignite their passion for STEM and build confidence and aspirations for their future education and careers. Although we were not able to meet in person, the enthusiasm and ability of the group shone through, and we were also delighted to be joined by several former Mulberry Schools Trust students who are now studying STEM subjects at university, providing further insight and encouragement. On behalf of everyone at Mercedes F1, we are delighted to have begun our programme and look forward to welcoming and supporting the students over the course of this year. Thank you to all involved in the event from the teachers to the students, our team employees and the Mulberry Schools Trust board for their efforts.”
James Allison, Technical Director commented: “I was honoured to be asked to take part in the first Mulberry STEM Academy event this weekend. Having heard from Toto and Lewis about the eagerness and inquisitive nature of the Mulberry students at the November launch, I was very interested to meet the group for myself and find out what has inspired them to dedicate their Saturdays and holidays to further study. I was not disappointed; the commitment and enthusiasm shown and the insightful questions asked, were inspirational. I have little doubt that all of the students we met on Saturday have bright futures ahead of them, but I hope that today’s presentation will have offered them further encouragement to go on to study STEM subjects at university. I look forward to seeing how the STEM Academy programme develops over the next few months and the progress that the students make as they work alongside and within our team.”
*Engineering UK 2018:
9% are of Black, Asian and minority ethnic background; 12% are women; 24% are from low socio-economic background
About the Mulberry Schools Trust
The Mulberry Schools Trust is a flourishing multi-academy trust set up in 2016 in Tower Hamlets. The family of schools includes Mulberry Academy Shoreditch, Mulberry School for Girls and Mulberry UTC, and it is currently working with the Local Authority and the Department for Education to build a new school in Wapping, Mulberry Academy London Dock. The Trust believes in the power of local partnerships with families, other schools and the communities that it serves.
Mulberry Academy Shoreditch and Mulberry School for Girls are judged ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and Mulberry UTC, a relatively new school, was judged ‘Good’ earlier this year. Attainment and progress of schools within the Mulberry Schools Trust is significantly above the national average at GCSE and A Level.
The Trust takes great pride in its extensive network of partners, covering all key areas: education, business, community and culture including the University of Cambridge, the Prince’s Trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the British Film Institute, the National Theatre and the WOW Foundation. Each of its partnerships contribute to and enrich the curriculum offer for students and form an integral part of the Trust’s unique and inspiring learning environment. These strong collaborative partnerships provide students with exceptional opportunities which support and enhance their learning including practical activities, trips, motivational speakers, school visits and mentoring.
Above all, the Trust’s partnership activities broaden students’ horizons and takes their learning beyond the classroom.
The Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C41, the team’s car for the 2021 season, took to the track for the first time at 09:32am at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. On a crisp morning under the Spanish sun, Robert Kubica had the honour to be the first man behind the wheel of the new car in...
The Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C41, the team’s car for the 2021 season, took to the track for the first time at 09:32am at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. On a crisp morning under the Spanish sun, Robert Kubica had the honour to be the first man behind the wheel of the new car in this first, crucial instalment of 2021 on-track action, with the team completing 29 laps overall, mostly on the “short” layout.
Following a series of installation runs at the beginning of the day, the C41, in the new white and red livery unveiled during last Monday’s launch in Warsaw, was put through a series of tests by the team’s engineers, with the aim of performing all checks necessary to ensure the readiness of the car. A driver known for his excellent technical feedback and sensitivity, Robert was the ideal candidate to put the C41 through the day’s programme; the session also benefitted from the additional knowledge gained from the Pole’s work in the team’s simulator, a valuable tool that will enhance the car’s development in the coming season.
No reliability issues meant the day proceeded to schedule, leaving the team confident in its new creation ahead of the next testing session, scheduled for March 12-14 in Bahrain, and ready to switch its focus onto performance.
“Today’s work is a crucial step in our preparations for the season and I’m pleased to report the day went as planned. We were able to perform all the checks we set out to do and now we can focus on analysing these first bits of data and prepare for the next test in two weeks’ time.”
“It’s always a special moment to be the first to drive a new car. Today’s focus was on making sure everything worked as planned and to ensure all systems were functional, so performance was not an objective, but the thrill of driving a car like this isn’t diminished. The car felt good and I am looking forward to driving it once again later in the season.”
The Brabham BT46 Formula One race car was designed by Gordon Murray for the 1978 FORMULA 1 season. The car featured some revolutionary design elements. One such design change was the introduction of the flat panel heat exchangers for the car body to replace the old oil and water radiators. After having been shown...
The Brabham BT46 Formula One race car was designed by Gordon Murray for the 1978 FORMULA 1 season. The car featured some revolutionary design elements. One such design change was the introduction of the flat panel heat exchangers for the car body to replace the old oil and water radiators.
After having been shown a picture of the mockup, engineer and consultant David Cox concluded that The BT46 had only 30% of the surface area needed to properly cool the vehicle. So, he immediately contacted Brabham to voice his concerns. Unfortunately, the car had already been put through several trials and encountered some serious overheating problems. So Brabham invited Cox over to talk about his concerns face to face. Cox pointed out to him what he viewed as some fundamental flaws in the design, and that he didn’t think the design could ever be made to work. Consequently, the design was scrapped before ever running in a race, never to be seen again.
However, the BT46, powered by a flat-12 Alfa Romeo engine, went on to compete for the rest of the season using a nose-mounted radiator, driven once by Niki Lauda and John Watson.
In 1978 The “B” or “Fan” version of the car made its debut at the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix to challenge the dominant Lotus 79. In this version, The BT46 used a fan to generate an enormous amount of downforce. It was touted as a cooling system, but, in reality, it was used to pull air from beneath the car, reducing drag.
It was the only car in the Formula One World Championship with this configuration – which Niki Lauda used to win the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix at Anderstorp.
Months after the “Fan Car” had been retired, Autosport magazine ran an article by veteran journalist John Bolster titled “Have Brain Will Travel” detailing how they pulled it off and crediting Cox with coming up with the idea and the numerous calculations involved, and identifying the many legal loopholes and how to circumvent them.
In a later Autosport article, dated January 3, 1980, another Cox project was featured where the highly-respected racing historian Doug Nye unambiguously credited Cox with the “Fan Car” idea.
Brabham pulled the plug on the fan car concept after only one race, even though the FIA had ruled that it could compete for the remainder of the racing season. Gordon Murray, the car’s designer, said later that Brabham’s decision to pull the car was due to concerns expressed by Bernie Ecclestone, the team’s owner. Ecclestone had become chief executive of the Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) the same year the Brabham BT46 made its debut and was concerned that blowback from other racing teams could cause the FOCA to collapse. In a 2008 interview, Murray said that, at that time, Ecclestone’s primary concern was getting his foot in the door at the Formula One Constructors Association and realising his dream of becoming the group’s chief executive, which he went on to become.
The first Brabham to carry the Alfa Romeo engine, the Brabham BT45 was bulky and overweight, weighing in at 625kg and pushing the F1 width regulations to the limit. This was due in part to difficulties encountered trying to fit the huge Alfa Romeo Flat-12 engine, and the requisite fuel tanks, into the car’s body. After a long development process, the car did manage to compete respectfully but never won a race. It was after this experience that Gordon Murray embarked upon his ambitious quest to design the BT46. The new design would compensate for the extra weight and fuel tanks while making technological advancements that would improve safety.
Alfa Romeo’s performance-enhanced flat-12 engine weighed in at 2995cc and came with fuel injection and electronic ignition. The engine sported a cast magnesium alloy block with an aluminium crankcase. It also featured aluminium or magnesium cylinder heads.
Each cylinder had four gear-driven valves. By 1978, one Formula One iteration delivered around 520 bhp at 12000 RPMs. This was around 50 bhp more than the popular Cosworth DFV engines used by most other racing teams at the time. Combine that with 324ft. lbs of torque and the resulting output was enormous.
However, all of that extra power came at the expense of space, less fuel and oil efficiency, and added around 40 kg extra weight. Plus, The engine was difficult to maintain, as there were significant size variations between one unit and another.
The gearbox used in this car was a revised, lighter version of the 6-speed gearbox used in the BT45B. It was designed by Brabham, but cast by Alfa Romeo and outfitted with Hewland gears.
Like so many other Gordon Murray designs, the Brabham BT46 featured an aluminium alloy mono scope trapezoid cross-section that the designer was known for. It also featured built-in pneumatic jacks connected to an external compressed air supply that raised it off the ground for tire changes during practice sessions. The design called for a very early version of the carbon brakes that had been adopted universally by the time the 80s rolled around – a concept borrowed from the airline industry.
Brabham’s system, which he had been trying to perfect since 1976, combined the carbon composite brake pads with steel disks with the faces being puckered with carbon fiber pockets.
What was probably the most radical design feature of the BT46 was its use of the flat plate heat exchangers mounted flush against the surface of the car’s body, in place of conventional radiators. The innovation allowed Murray to compensate for some of the space taken up by the unusually large engine and requisite fuel tanks. The result was a lighter design with a lower frontal cross-section (a must for aerodynamic purposes).
However, under real racing conditions, the heat exchangers failed to deliver anywhere near the cooling capacity needed, one of the South African-born Murray’s few design failures. The heat exchangers were soon scrapped in favor of more traditional radiators like the ones used in its predecessor, the BT45B, taking away some of the aerodynamic efficiency it had gained with the previous design.
The Brabham BT46 made its debut in the third race of 1978 in the South African Grand Prix on March 4, 1978, sporting the revised version of the nose-mounted radiators. The car became competitive almost immediately, though there were some questions about its reliability.
After a successful debut and the subsequent scrapping of the fan car idea at the Swedish Grand Prix, the Brabham team returned to the standard BT46 model to finish the season. It was this version that powered Niki Lauda to victory at the 1978 Italian Grand Prix, albeit after Andretti and Villanueva had been penalized a full minute for jumping the gun for the second start. The race had been paused after Ronnie Peterson’s fatal crash after the first start.
The BT46 made its final appearance in the Formula One World Championship in the first round of the 1979 season. It was driven by Nelson Piquet. Niki Lauda also chose the BT46 for qualifying, as the BT48 model had proven to be too problematic. Unfortunately, the race ended quickly for Piquet and his BT46, as a multi-car pileup put an end to its storied career.
Welcome to Episode 89 of our Formula 1 podcast, Grid Talk, hosted by George Howson! In this episode joining George we have co-host of The Monkeyseat Podcast Tom Horrox, engineering student Owain Medford, and F1 expert Alex Booth. Today the Grid Talk crew look back at the incredible career of seven-time World Champion Michael...
Welcome to Episode 89 of our Formula 1 podcast, Grid Talk, hosted by George Howson!
In this episode joining George we have co-host of The Monkeyseat Podcast Tom Horrox, engineering student Owain Medford, and F1 expert Alex Booth.
Today the Grid Talk crew look back at the incredible career of seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher.
Today we go all the way back to the German’s F1 debut, then take a spin down memory lane, reliving all the thrilling pole positions, race wins, and championships that make Schumacher the GOAT in many fans eyes.
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