Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Hungaroring, 2022

Will Alonso win with Aston Martin?

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Mere days after his 41st birthday, Formula 1 was shocked by the sudden announcement that Fernando Alonso would switch from Alpine to Aston Martin for 2023 on a multi-year deal.

A full 22 years after making his Grand Prix debut at the age of 19, Alonso will enter into his 20th full campaign in Formula 1 with his fifth different team, moving to Silverstone to join Aston Martin.

Of those four teams Alonso has previous raced for – Minardi (now AlphaTauri), Renault (now Alpine), McLaren and Ferrari – the two-time world champion has won races for three of them, only failing to win with Minardi during his debut season in 2001. Something Alonso himself count not be blamed for.

In moving from Alpine to Aston Martin, Alonso is clearly taking a risk. After all, Alpine currently sit fourth in the constructors’ championship, 79 points and five places ahead of Aston Martin. Alonso is clear that he is making this move based on his innate desire to win races and, with it, finally become world champion once again.

“I intend to win again in this sport and therefore I have to take the opportunities that feel right to me,” he said when announcing his switch for 2023.

But with Aston Martin having struggled so much during the transition to the new ground effect cars introduced in 2022, will there be more wins in Alonso’s future?

For

On the surface, moving from a team fighting for ‘best of the rest’ honours to a team fighting for minor points finishes feels like a big step backwards for Alonso. However, this is a decision made with the long term in mind.

Since being bought by a team of benefactors including Lawrence Stroll, Aston Martin have invested millions of pounds into their facilities and their personnel, hiring some significant paddock figures and building a major extension next to their factory in Silverstone.

“I have watched as the team has systematically attracted great people with winning pedigrees, and I have become aware of the huge commitment to new facilities and resources at Silverstone,” said Alonso.

No other team in recent memory has had such a sudden and sizeable injection of funds and potential growth as Aston Martin is currently undergoing. With Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes holding a virtual monopoly over the podium positions, it’ll likely take the level of investment Aston Martin is receiving for any team to be able to join that upper echelon.

If the team can deliver him a car that can win, there’s also nothing to suggest Alonso has lost his race-winning edge since his return to Formula 1. With age not seeming to slow him down, it could all come down to whether Aston Martin deliver on their promise.

Against

When it comes to success in Formula 1, momentum matters more than many things. Just as it’s easy for teams to fall into negative spirals where poor performance leads to lower prize money which makes climbing back up the field much hard – see Williams for evidence – it’s also true that it often takes success in Formula 1 to get more success.

By switching from Alpine to Aston Martin, Alonso is heading to a team that has declined in form ever since it transitioned from Racing Point into Aston Martin. With the major rules changes introduced this season, 2022 was, in theory, the best opportunity for teams to make a leap up the grid into race-winning contention in many years. Instead, Aston Martin are further behind the fight at the front than they were last season.

Yes, there are plenty of reasons for Aston Martin fans to be excited about the future of the team, with their brand new facility being the first such headquarters custom-built with F1’s modern era and budget cap explicitly in mind. However, F1 history is filled with examples of big teams with big budgets under-delivering and failing to break through to become race winning outfits.

And even if the team succeed in establishing themselves at the front eventually, it will still likely take some time to get there. Then it becomes a question of whether Alonso can continue to maintain his high level of performance into his mid 40s – an age we haven’t seen drivers race at in Formula 1 for many decades.

I say

It would be a very brave person to count out Fernando Alonso – especially after he has shown that he has lost little of the speed he had when he first retired from the sport at the end of 2018.

If he had been occupying one of the Ferrari or Red Bull seats for this season, he would almost certainly have taken a race win by now.

But while Alonso continues to perform at a high level in his early 40s – well past the point most other drivers are already past their prime – it’s another prospect entirely whether he will still be able to keep at this level, say, five years from now.

It still seems possible that Alonso can continue to perform even when his new contract expires, but whether Aston Martin are capable of bringing themselves towards the front of the grid is another matter.

But whatever Lawrence Stroll, Mike Krack and the rest of the Aston Martin team have shown Alonso, it has certainly convinced him that they can help him achieve his goal of getting back onto the top step of the podium once more.



You say

Do you agree that Fernando Alonso will win a grand prix with Aston Martin?

  • Strongly agree (3%)
  • Slightly agree (13%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (5%)
  • Slightly disagree (25%)
  • Strongly disagree (53%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 197

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 71 comments on “Will Alonso win with Aston Martin?”

    1. No. AM would have to overtake 6 teams for a sniff of a win

      I should caveat that with the phrase “on merit” though as who knows what would happen should last years Hungarian skittles be repeated

      1. Coventry Climax
        8th August 2022, 1:19

        Same thought here.
        In fact, this is how I feel about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6b-FFwVFMME

      2. I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that AM would ever compete for a championship, especially with Papa Stroll at the helm. However, every year we have some freak races that give the rest of the grid a shot at the win. We had Hungary last year… and if AM could get P2 with Sebastian Vettel, they could easily take a win with Alonso. So, I’m taking a punt and saying he will get a race win with AM.

        1. I remember on another forum, when Hamilton moved from McLaren to Mercedes all those years ago, that his detractors were quick to jump on it and say he was only going for the money, for a couple of years of big money before he retired because Mercedes had absolutely zero chance of ever beating the marquee teams. I particularly remember one participant writing “Not only will he never win another race, he’ll never even be on the podium again”. Of course, he managed to win one race that very first season.

          I also remember years before that, when Schumacher moved from Benneton to Ferrari, for what was then the biggest contract F1 had ever seen. All of us who watched the sport back then were scratching their heads on why someone with Michael’s drive to win would go to Ferrari. It was easy to see why the Ferrari PR machine wanted Schuey. but why would he want to drive at Ferrari. Of course, he helped turn it around spectacularly.

          So I don’t know why Alonso is going to Aston Martin, and time isn’t on his side, but he is still quick behind the wheel and I wouldn’t write off next year’s Aston Martin just yet.

          1. José Lopes da Silva
            8th August 2022, 20:21

            Apparently, Mercedes started preparing the 2014 season in 2007.

            The Schumi-to-Ferrari move was not so strange as the Hamilton-to-Mercedes one. Ferrari is Ferrari, it had a ton of money and it was mandatory to them to end the post-Scheckter drought someday. Everyone agreed Schumacher had little chances to win in 1996, but I don’t think anyone doubted that eventually Schumacher would win with Ferrari. I believe many did not think it would take 5 seasons, though.

            It may be that Aston Martin is preparing something that we’re not aware of, like Mercedes. We should have known better about Mercedes efforts, but apparently not even Hamilton in 2012 knew about it before Lauda got it, so it was probably something ultra top secret. Lawrence Stroll is not a giant car manufacturer, but let’s wait and see.

    2. I felt ‘slightly disagree’ is the best choice just in case unusual circumstances in his favor a la some races such as 2020 Italian or last season’s Hungarian GP occur.

      1. Agreed. I think this car is absolutely not gooed enough to fight for wins and will not be for quite some time, but if there is a massive crash and sudden rain Fernando can get any car in position to take a win. Still, I think the car would have to improve because McLaren and Alpine are now in with more of a shot.

        1. @jerejj @tielemst Agree as well. It would have to be some unusual circumstances and I think the odds will be much lower him earning more WDC points next season than he’ll score this season in a Alpine. Two seasons from now is a very long ways away and anything can happen, AM could get faster (it probably should be) but I doubt Alonso will be getting any faster than he is now. He’ll be 43 years old in the 2024 season; those are Jimmy Johnson numbers and can he do better than he drives now? I think Alpine was correct to offer a 1+1 contract and Alonso prove his merit to keep the seat.

          I saw Alpine a bit of a safe haven for Alonso’s F1 career racing for a constructor, while it may not be the fastest team on the grid nor would he earn the most money; he was already in there, they gave him the chance to come back, he was established in the team, was head honcho and it was most likely his very best chance of earning the most WDC points per season in that car in the future and maybe get some podiums. I’m not sure AM will give him that.

          Right now it seems more like Alonso went for a money grab rather than being a purest driver wanting race in F1 in the best car that’s available to him, I do not think AM will be a better car than Alpine next season. I can imagine reading the same kind of headlines in the press next season like his McLaren days. But I do hope it goes well and the jump gives him better finishes but it could easily go the other way and not a tidy way to end his legacy in F1.

    3. So what do you say, @willwood? ‘Slightly agree’?

      1. @gillesamon I would have said ‘slightly disagree’, but I am a little fed up of being consistently proven wrong by Alonso and so I am going to say that yes, he can win with Aston Martin.

        1. Thanks. And yes, that’s pretty much how I ended up with a ‘slightly agree’.

        2. Same here. Alonso is just different. He has had such an interesting career. I’ve never seen a driver spend this much time in the midfield and remain so utterly relevant.

          It really is a crime against F1 that he hasn’t had a car that could fight for podiums regularly since 2012. An even bigger crime that we haven’t had more battles between him and Hamilton and now Max. I’d love to see what those battles would be like against Max

    4. I hope so, but I doubt it. If things fell slightly differently for Fernando, he could well have been a 5 time champion. It’s hard to believe almost as much time has passed between his last win and now as had passed between his first and last win! Still great to have him on the grid even if he isn’t winning races. His defensive driving in Hungary was one of the highlights of last season.

    5. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      7th August 2022, 14:37

      Will Alonso win with Aston Martin?

      Is there anything tangible that suggests he could win with Alpine?

      Based on falling out with the boss and another team happy to pay him what he wants then losing with any team is equal on merit.

    6. I said Neither agree nor disagree because Alonso has the ability to win races and the regs allow for rule changes race to race to encourage close racing lol. So who knows how it will go next season?

    7. Robert Richards
      7th August 2022, 14:57

      If Alonso can’t win in an Alpine, he has got a hope in hell’s chance in an Aston Martin.
      I can see his Mclaren’s years coming back again, GP2 car GP2 car!!

      Al least his making a fat wedge of money though, what a waste of a good driver…

      1. The car was fine, “Best Handling on the grid” ;-) it was the Honda engine!

      2. Alonso has a strong history of jumping teams at the wrong time. It’s hard to see this jump being any different. I don’t see him scoring more WDC points next year than this season.

    8. Robert Richards
      7th August 2022, 14:58

      hasn’t even*

    9. I actually think his decision to move to Aston Martin makes sense. But you have to consider it under the context that he was not going to be offered a drive with a top 3 team. For the last decade at least, Mercedes, Redbull and Ferrari have had a stranglehold on every podium position and certainly on any potential championship. No other team has looked like challenging those three, and the rules changes of 2022 and budget caps don’t seem to have changed the status quo in egards to the divide between the big three and the rest either.

      Under this context, I believe the move to Aston makes sense. No other team is showing the level of investment or ambition required to attempt to move up the grid and have any hope of challenging the big three. Alpine is currently the 4th fastest team but again, have been in the sport under the banner of Renault for several years and shown no sign that they have any ambitions beyond what they are doing. They are not willing to throw more money at the team so their chances of breaking into the top 3 are miniscule.

      Aston are currently on poor form obviously and likely to be a step back in performance in the short term. But there is that potential, unlikely as it might be, that their investment will allow them to break into that top 3 and become a championship contender. Will it work out for Alonso? Almost certainly not in terms of a championship victory. It’s too big a climb in terms of everything needed to be in place and Alonso can’t have many competitive years ahead of him. But is it the only chance Alonso has of potentially fighting for a world title? I don’t see a better option.

      1. I think his chances for a world title are gone.
        But that doesn’t mean he can’t win races.
        But even for that to happen I think one of the top teams would have to bring him on.
        Probably won’t happen – I say probably because I remember Mercedes saying he would never race a car with their engine again after he left McLaren.

    10. I can see the scenario unfolding before me. A crazy race, Sakhir 2020-style, where the genuine frontrunners either bundle themselves out on the first lap or sacrifice their positions through a series of barely believable tactical blunders. Aston Martin have both their cars in the top three, for the first time since that night in Bahrain, and Alonso is cruising, counting down the laps, almost tasting the champagne, as good as ever after a decade of hurt.

      And then, a voice on the radio. His race engineer. Tinged with regret, but insistent.

      “Fernando. Lance is faster than you.”

      1. Jonathan Parkin
        7th August 2022, 20:43

        The reply would almost certainly be ‘Sod off!’

      2. I’m not moving aside for lance! Or something to that effect

        1. I will kill his tires.

          1. Hahah nice.

        2. “He should be closer, then; I can’t see him in my mirrors.”

    11. Ocon won. Gasly won. Ricciardo won. All while driving subpar cars.

      So I see no reason Alonso can’t win a race after Aston Martin gets their hands on the aero data they so desperately need.

      But when it comes to winning a championship, he knows better it’s out of reach for AM in the short term. I believe he’s aiming to show us that he still has it, reach that 400 starts number and carry home the supposed $45mn his deal is worth.

      And to have fun while at it.

      1. Electroball76
        7th August 2022, 22:50

        Maldonado won in a Williams. So yes, Alonso can win. But it won’t be a regular occurrence.
        Besides, the ultimate aim is for Alonso to help shape a team where Lance can fight for a championship.

        1. More like shape a team so his successor can fight for a championship once he retires. Lance ain’t in a title fight picture. Ever.

      2. Fact is, is that Aston Martin’s car is currently not fast or remotely close to winning or even getting on the podium. I do expect them to move up well in performance after all the money being spent on IP, facilities and engineers but currently it looks like it will take at lease two seasons before any real tangible improved performance happens; it wont happen overnight (this is F1). By that time, Alonso will be closer to Jimmy Johnson’s age.
        And the numbers and odds of Alonso winning are not kind. The last driver to win at his current age was in 1994 (Nigel Mansell). The last time a 42 year old won a F1 race was in 1957.

        Yes, it’s true some very unlikely drivers have had the chance to win but the facts of them doing it was extremely low and the odds of someone like you mentioned above winning was more like a miracle and much less of a calculated earned win. Don’t get me wrong, a win is a win but the numbers and statistics say Alonso winning in a Aston Martin is much closer to being a miracle than anything else. Hopefully for Alonso, miracles do happen.

    12. I strongly doubt it but then again Fernando is the kind of guy to pull it off.
      Would be great to see :)

    13. Nicer company car?

    14. He wouldn’t even win in a Ferrari . . . mind you – theres a lot of that about!

    15. Another bad decision from Alonso. What a bloody shame. Amazing driver. Crap career choices.

      1. @shimks Alonso has a long history of this; it’s his MO

    16. My God, he’s going to make Lance look bad.

    17. Alonso has two chances of winning with AM – slim and none.

      Slim’s already left town.

    18. That is kind of a vague question. What exactly do you mean win? If it means a WDC then obviously not. Not because he doesn’t have the talent, but he probably doesn’t have enough time.
      If it means can he get on the podium now and again I would think yes. He definitely has the talent and it isn’t gonna go away overnight. I don’t think many people understand how deep his love racing is. He owns a world class kart race track. And he uses it. That where he is spending his vacation. He would be racing every day if it were possible. On top of that, he trains relentlessly.
      Because of that, I feel he could go another 3 to 5 years and still be competitive enough to win podiums if his car is competitive. He himself said these cars are much easier on the body than 10 or 20 years ago. And experience is his biggest advantage. Alain Prost claimed he is still the best driver on the grid. Marco himself said he can’t believe how fast he still has. Mika Hakkinen and others the same.
      So it’s just a matter of can he get a competitive enough car. Regardless, he made a wise decision leaving Alpine. When Laurent Rossi took over last year, he said he had a 10 year plan to get Renault back to the top. Alpine don’t have enough resources. He knew Alonso would never buy into that.
      I think Aston Martin will surpass Alpine as soon as next year, especially now that Alonso won’t be there. I think this is an off year for AM and they will be competitive with say McLaren next year which is nothing to brag about but a start. Whether they can catch up to Mercedes, RBR or Ferrari within the next 2 or 3 years is doubtful.
      But if they can get within 0.5 tenths then he will definitely be getting podiums. If it remains one second or more deficits, then nothing will change. In the end I think this was one of his best decisions because Alpine is going nowhere and Aston Martin is bringing on experienced personnel from RBR and Mercedes and Saudi investors with deep pockets.
      He has absolutely nothing to lose and knows he will be in Formula One for another three years if he wants to be. He also has an escape clause as it is not unfeasible one of the top three teams would take him especially the way he is performing now.

    19. If Sébastien Vettel couldn’t win in Aston Martin, then Alonso isn’t going to win in that car. Never mind that he winning anything until he retires from F1 in a couple of years.

      He isn’t going to get another chance in a race winning car. His time is over.

    20. He wants to drive all hybrid PU.

    21. Went strongly disagree, but I’d have voted the same way if you’d asked me about Ocon in an Alpine, Perez in a Racing Point, Gasly in an Alpha Tauri and Ricciardo in a McLaren.

      It won’t happen ‘on merit’, but with the right luck at the right time any result is possible.

      1. This is exactly how I voted. Yes, he could “luck” into an occasional win, once. But a win on merit, not on race pace or race strategy. The car will not have the pace and the team plus Alonso not the strategic acumen.

    22. MB (@muralibhats)
      7th August 2022, 21:51

      Not sure if Jr. Stroll wants to put his car on the wall for it

    23. Although Alonso is no longer the winner he was, he is still one of the greatest. He was never the fastest – but his race-craft and determination make up for that.

      He is still top 5 in my view. We’ve seen mistakes, inconsistencies and less commitment by many of the grid this year. Particularly by those in better cars.

      In my view only Ver, Rus and maybe Nor have driven better this year. Alonso is certainly in the top 5 performers in 2022.

      Looking at AM, Vettel’s average qualy this year is 15th. Alonso on a good day would get this car to maybe 11th. If AM improve the car a bit he could easily be qualifying it in 7/8th.

      So throw in a bit of luck, some rain, and a problem for a RB and a Ferrari, and he has a chance of one win over the next 50 + races.

      Sadly it’s those kind of situations Alonso will need now to win. But Fernando just seems to enjoy driving so how much does he care? He just wants a chance and a bit of respect (and maybe $45m).

    24. Will Alonso win with Aston Martin?

      NO, he will not.

      Alpine’s car will be faster for least the next two seasons unless something shocking happens to AM.

    25. Alonso hasn’t crossed a bridge he hasn’t burned.

      1. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
        8th August 2022, 1:31

        Not only that. He’s also burned several bridges without crossing them first.

        1. I know that being a bridge burner is a popular view of Alonso.

          And yet he is one of the few drivers to have returned to a team he left.

          Mclaren (despite a massive fall out)
          Renault/alpine (twice)

          So somehow he still finds he way back..

          I read from Ted/Sky that Wolff has sign off on merc powered signings so that bridge remained stable somehow too.

          1. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
            8th August 2022, 11:36

            There’s a reason Alonso hasn’t been able to get a drive with a top team since he left Ferrari – and it’s not because he lacks the driving skills.

            I suppose you may counter with, “What about his return to McLaren in 2015?” Well, at that point – irrespective of how they viewed themselves – McLaren had ceased to be a top team. Had they still been a top team, Lewis would still have been driving for them, and then there’s absolutely no way they would have re-signed Alonso.

    26. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
      8th August 2022, 1:34

      Can he win? Sure, under the right circumstances.

      Will he? Only if his luck changes.

    27. His tenure at AM will likely be between ~48 and 96 races.
      The chances of AM producing even a top midfield car again in that time given the clout on the snout they got the last time they tried to be ‘adventurous’ with the rules is not high. So that leaves freak wins like Maldonado’s & Ocon’s (& being in awesome form didn’t even give him that one).
      Dice have no memory but I don’t think he’s going to be there long enough for the faintest hope.

    28. To be honest, in spite of the efforts of the FIA and Liberty, the three teams that have a likelihood of winning a race right now is Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes. I think the midfield teams had a better chance of winning in 2021, because the smaller teams are always at a disadvantage when the aero regulations are unstable.

      2012 has often been applauded for the number of winning teams, but everyone forgets that the aero regulations were largely unchanged from 2010– most of the changes for 2011 and 2012 were about banning technologies that only the leading teams were using, or adding DRS, which doesn’t really affect the entire aero package.

      As long as they keep introducing changes that require major redesigns from year to year, expect the big three to continue to be the only regular winners.

      Ironically, the cost cap is likely to prevent Aston Martin or Alpine or McLaren from investing the sort of money they need to catch up and become a top team.

      1. Honestly though, teams like alpine have got enough years without the budget cap to prove they’re not able to get back to the top, when regulations are stable and unstable.

      2. The first half of 2012 (at least) was about tyres. Not about stuff that was removed from the regs.

        As long as they keep introducing changes that require major redesigns from year to year, expect the big three to continue to be the only regular winners.

        The inverse can be true too. Where significant changes are made each and every year, nobody gets a real foothold on the regs consistently. Just look back at F1 prior to the late 90’s, when dominance meant two years. And prior to 1990, it didn’t even mean one full year. Cars were undergoing far more change year-on-year then than they do now.

        Many of the lead-order turnarounds in F1 (since 2000 in particular) have come about due to major regs changes. While some teams ploughed resources into the current championship, others focused on the following season.
        Evidence of this is Mercedes right now, for example, or Ferrari from 2005 and Red Bull from 2014.
        The rules changed, they lost out, and they either took a long time to recover from it (until another major regs change) or never did.

    29. How is Aston Martin “spending so much money, making huge investments” compared with everyone else? I thought there was a budget cap of sub $150 million and that top teams are struggling to hold that cap? I recognise that midfield teams are probably spending a lot less, but at least $120 million, no, leaving not a lot of room?
      Are capital investments such as “a new factory” not included in the budget cap? Is there no limit to the amount of spending outside of building the cars, logistics and other operating costs? So, for example, could I (Stroll) spend $100 million on a newfangled, innovative, Cray supercomputer-simulator-CAD setup and not have it impact on my budget cap?

      1. The budget cap has ‘clauses.’
        How could a new team ever enter F1 under the budget cap if there weren’t exceptions…

        Remember this is F1 where the rules are merely suggestions. And if (when) they are broken, keep it secret.
        It’s only a problem when the media finds out.

    30. I could not form an opinion on this. Alonso is a fantastic driver and would definitely put the car in places on some days, where the car is not supposed to be. Whether, that would be enough to win races till the time he stays is not known. If we have a Hungary like crash where all the top cars are either damaged or out of the race, then perhaps an opportunity may rise. Can Aston Martin do in-season developments like Red Bull or Mercedes? With Alonso-Stroll lineup, that would take a lot of work. But in F1, nothing is impossible.

      1. @pinakghosh It would require “Spa 1998” level of carnage and that carnage would have to take out both Red Bulls, both Ferraris, both Mercedes and probably both McLarens before Alonso had a chance.

    31. it has certainly convinced him that they can help him achieve his goal of getting back onto the top step of the podium once more.

      I highly doubt Alonso is convinced. In fact I think Alonso has realized that he’s probably not going to get any wins again. He’s doing it out of enjoyment now and will probably retire in a couple of years.

    32. Just another El Plan, now we can fight bla bla

    33. Yes, he will win at least one race. There – I said it :-)

    34. As a lot of others have said, yes he can win if the right circumstances come together in a race, same as why Gasly/Ocon/Ricciardo have won races in midfield cars in the last couple of years. He’s not going to win because he’s somehow able to elevate the car beyond about 8 other teams. If he was that superhuman, he’d have done it at Alpine already. Would love to see it personally but AM have not really shown us any glimpses of being able to build their own competitive car yet so it would take a big leap of faith from anyone to believe that they could do it in the remainder of Alonso’s years in F1.

    35. No he won’t. It’s a customer team driven by venture capitalists.

    36. Yes by Aston’s standards but it is a huge step to be on the podium next year

      1. and by aston’s standards I mean being better than Vettel/Stroll and scoring more points

    37. Just like Alpine or other teams in the past, it’s the team that needs to provide him with the car. We know what FA is capable of.

    38. I think if the regulations can bed in and converge toward a closer level of racing there’s every chance Alonso could win again. That and a bit of luck is all he needs realistically which admittedly hasn’t always been there for him over his career.

    39. Maybe a podium but not next year. AM have a long way to go.

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