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Minardi
Minardi logo.png
Full name Minardi F1 Team
Base Faenza,  Italy
Founder(s) Giancarlo Minardi
Noted staff Paul Stoddart
Noted drivers ItalyPierluigi Martini
BrazilTarso Marques
SpainFernando Alonso
ItalyGiancarlo Fisichella
ItalyJarno Trulli
Formula One World Championship career
Engines Motori Moderni, Ford, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Hart, Fondmetal, European, Asiatech, Cosworth
Debut 1985 Brazilian Grand Prix
Races competed 345
Constructors' Championships 0
Drivers' Championships 0
Race victories 0
Points 38
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
Final race 2005 Chinese Grand Prix

Minardi was an automobile racing team and constructor founded in 1979 by Giancarlo Minardi. It competed in the Formula One World Championship from 1985 until 2005 with little success, nevertheless acquiring a loyal following of fans. In 2001, to save the team from folding, Minardi sold it to Australian businessman Paul Stoddart, who ran the team for five years before selling it on to Red Bull in 2005 who renamed it Scuderia Toro Rosso.

During its time in F1, the team scored a total of 38 championship points (under the modern points system this number would be 126 points). 16 of these (32 under the present system) were earned by the team's first driver, Pierluigi Martini. Martini also recorded the team's only front row start: 2nd at the 1990 United States Grand Prix and led a lap during a heroic performance in the 1989 Portuguese Grand Prix. The team never achieved a podium finish, only managing three 4th place finishes: Martini twice in 1991 and Christian Fittipaldi in 1993.

Before Minardi's demise, it was a particularly well-liked team within Formula One circles for many reasons. In the paddock, the team was noted for friendliness, accessibility, and lack of corporate culture (universally regarded as having the best espresso in F1). On the track, their cars were regarded by many as well-designed for their tiny budget (in comparison to front-runners such as Ferrari and McLaren), their low position recognised as a result of a lack of funds (and engine power) rather than a poor car. They also resisted employing pay-drivers more than most other financially strapped teams, producing an impressive alumni, most notably double World Champion Fernando Alonso. Former Minardi drivers who have gone on to win Grands Prix include Alessandro Nannini, Giancarlo Fisichella, Jarno Trulli and Mark Webber while Alex Zanardi went on to win two Champ Car titles, and both Justin Wilson and Christian Fittipaldi have won races in premier North American open-wheel competition.

Contents

History

The Minardi family has a longstanding involvement in motorsport. The family has run a Fiat dealership since 1927. Giovanni Minardi competed in his own cars in the late 1940s and after his death his son Giancarlo took over the racing part of the family business. He ran customer cars in Formula Two under various names from 1972 to 1979 — even briefly running a customer Formula One Ferrari 312T as Scuderia Everest in 1976 — before gaining financial backing from well known Italian motor racing patron Piero Mancini in 1979 to set up the Minardi racing team as a constructor.[1]

Racing History

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Formula Two (1980–1984)

The Minardi team first competed under that name in the 1980 European Formula Two championship. Rather than using a customer chassis, the team commissioned a BMW powered design from Giacomo Caliri's FLY studios — previously responsible for the Fittipaldi Automotive team's F5A Formula One car.[2] Giancarlo led the Minardi team to four moderately successful Formula Two seasons with a variety of young Italian and South American drivers, including Alessandro Nannini and Johnny Cecotto. The team's most notable result was a 1981 win at the Misano round by Michele Alboreto.[1] Minardi left the lower division at the end of 1984, although in 1986 a modified version of their final Formula Two car, the 283, was entered without success in two rounds of the Formula 3000 championship which had replaced Formula Two in 1985.[3]

Minardi Formula One (1985–1993)

1985 vintage Minardi M185 driven by Roderigo Gallego at a Thoroughbred Grand Prix event at Brands Hatch in September 2005

During 1984, Minardi took the decision to enter Formula One the following year. Caliri designed the team's prototype Formula One car (intended as a dual purpose design for the new Formula 3000) around Alfa Romeo's V8 turbocharged engine but when engineer Carlo Chiti left Alfa Romeo to found Motori Moderni, Minardi became the only customer for his new V6 engine design. The engine was not ready for the start of the 1985 season, so the team converted their M85 chassis to accept a Cosworth DFV engine for the first two races. The single car team was unsuccessful in its first year, scoring no points. The new engine was underpowered and driver Pierluigi Martini finished only two races, although he was also classified 11th at the German Grand Prix despite stopping with engine problems.[4]. Martinis best of the three classifications was 8th in the 1985 Australian Grand Prix, which was the season final. But : a) he finished last and b) behind Huub Rothengatter in an Osella.

Nonetheless, the team expanded to two cars for the 1986 season. There was little success initially competing with Motori Moderni until 1988 and then Cosworth engines, when Nigel Cowperthwaite joined the team, brought in by team manager Jaime Manca Graziadei. The team picked up in competitiveness and by 1989 had become top entrant for Pirelli's return to Formula One. The team were moderately successful in the midfield through the late 1980s and early 1990s, giving a succession of Italian drivers their first chance at the top level, including Alessandro Nannini, Pierluigi Martini and Gianni Morbidelli. Martini in particular was synonymous with Minardi, eventually having three spells with the team. He drove for them on their debut in 1985, scored their first point in the 1988 United States Grand Prix, although he had been running 5th for quite a long time during the car until been run down and passed by Tyrrell's Jonathan Palmer, took their only front-row start at 1990 USA Grand Prix (aided by special Pirelli tyres; several of their other drivers had surprise qualifying results that day), their only lap leading a race in the 1989 Portuguese Grand Prix, where he finished 5th, and scored their joint-best F1 result of 4th. But also Brazilian Christian Fittipaldi achieved a fourth place in the 1993 South African Grand Prix. Those 4th places Martini and Minardi had together were in the 1991 San Marino Grand Prix and 1991 Portuguese Grand Prix.

Minardi, Scuderia Italia and Fondmetal (1994–2000)

Pierluigi Martini driving for Minardi at the 1994 British Grand Prix.
Luca Badoer driving for Minardi at the 1995 British Grand Prix.

Through the mid-1990s the team was the nucleus around which the community of Italian Formula One constructors collapsed. It was the first team in modern times to make use of customer engines from Ferrari in 1991 and later used Lamborghini V12s for a season. As the number of small teams shrank, Minardi slipped from the mid-field towards the back of the grid. Money woes hit and in 1994 Minardi joined his team with BMS Scuderia Italia in an effort to survive. Giancarlo retained 14.5% with the remaining 15.5% distributed between the Scuderia Italia investors (Emilio Gnutti, Giuseppe Lucchini and Vittorio Palazzani) and Defendente Marniga. The Minardi team was then controlled by Flavio Briatore. In 1996 Italian businessman Gabriele Rumi, former owner of the Fondmetal team switched his sponsorship support from Tyrrell to Minardi. He gradually increased his interest in the Faenza outfit, becoming co-owner and chairman. For the 2000 season the team were forced to use 1998-spec Ford Zetec-R V10 engines, which were rebadged as Fondmetal engines in deference to his financial input. However, Rumi had contracted cancer, and was forced to withdraw his backing in 2000. Points were rare in that era : only seven points were scored : Martini scored four of them, finishing 5th in both 1994 Spanish Grand Prix and 1994 French Grand Prix, Michele Alboreto scored his last point in Formula 1 with a 6th place in the 1994 Monaco Grand Prix, Pedro Lamy scored his one and only point in Formula 1 with a 6th place in the 1995 Australian Grand Prix, which went on to be the last Formula 1 race in Adelaide ever and the Minardi points for a long time until Marc Gené finished 6th in the 1999 European Grand Prix. The other drivers in that era, Luca Badoer, Giancarlo Fisichella, Tarso Marques, pay-driver Giovanni Lavaggi, Ukyo Katayama, Shinji Nakano, Esteban Tuero and Stéphane Sarrazin did their best, but were unable to score with throughout uncompetitive cars. The driver who came closest to points out of these was Nakano with a 7th place in the 1998 Canadian Grand Prix and it is quite certain that he was a bit quicker than the Stewart of Danish Driver Jan Magnussen, but he could not pass him due to the lack of horse power in the Minardi M198. Luca Badoer came close to achieving Minardi's joint highest ever finish by running fourth, however he was forced to retire with a gearbox problem 13 laps from the end,leaving him in tears. Gene's performance in the race is seen by many as the defining moment of the 1999 World Driver's Championship race, with Ferrari's Eddie Irvine unable to pass him for 6th place, the extra point, which could have gifted the Irishman the championship that year.

European Minardi (2001–2005)

The team, near collapse, was purchased by Australian businessman Paul Stoddart in early 2001, merging it with his European Racing Formula 3000 team. During its final years, the Minardi team was almost as famous for its politics as its racing. Stoddart was described as the Formula One teams' unofficial shop steward. During his time as team principal, Stoddart campaigned for reduced costs in the sport. He appealed to the competing car manufacturers for an agreement where the independent (and, on the whole, financially weaker) teams in Formula One would get cheaper engine deals than at present. In return, the team principals who would benefit from this would support the works teams when it came to opposing new rule changes enforced by the FIA, such as the proposed ban on traction control.

Before the start of the 2004 season, he threatened to withdraw his support against the ban on traction control, but later withdrew this threat. Before the 2005 Australian Grand Prix Stoddart initially threatened to withdraw his cars if they were made to comply with the revised regulations for 2005. Stoddart claimed that Minardi could not afford to adapt their cars. Once again Stoddart ended up withdrawing his threat. Stoddart has also repeatedly called for the resignation of the FIA's President, Max Mosley, particularly in the aftermath of the 2005 United States Grand Prix where the majority of teams boycotted the race due to safety concerns about their Michelin tyres. While Minardi had run Bridgestone tyres, Stoddart had offered to compromise with the Michelin teams but Mosley had rejected it.

One of Minardi's most famous performances came at the 2002 Australian Grand Prix. It was Australian driver Mark Webber's first Formula One race. At his and Stoddart's home grand prix he brought the car home in fifth place to score two World Championship points — a rare occurrence for Minardi.

Minardi was represented in 2004 by two rookies, Italian Gianmaria "Gimmi" Bruni and Hungarian Zsolt Baumgartner. During the year, they celebrated their 20th season in F1. Baumgartner scored Minardi's first point in more than 2 years at the United States Grand Prix, finishing 8th (only 8 cars finished the 2004 USGP). Baumgartner was also the first Hungarian to score a point in a World Championship F1 race.

Patrick Friesacher driving the Minardi PS05, the last Minardi chassis to be produced, at Silverstone.

In 2005, Minardi's drivers were Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher. They amassed a comparatively astronomical total of 7 points following the debacle of the 2005 United States Grand Prix, in which they finished fifth and sixth (of six runners) respectively. After his sponsors stopped paying him before the 2005 German Grand Prix, Patrick Friesacher was to be replaced by Dutch Jordan test driver Robert Doornbos to create the first ever all-Dutch driver line-up in Formula One history.

Heads of Minardi F1

Red Bull purchase

Paul Stoddart stated that he would sell Minardi if he could find the right buyer. Stoddart claimed that he had 41 approaches.[5] His criterion for a sale was the ability of a buyer to move the team forward and leave the team based in Faenza. The drinks manufacturer Red Bull, which already owned another Formula One team, Red Bull Racing, decided to set up a second team to promote American drivers that have risen through its young driver programme, Red Bull Driver Search.

Ending several weeks of speculation on September 10, 2005 Red Bull announced it would take control of Minardi in November and run it as their "rookie team" from 2006.[6]

Minardi fans worldwide immediately started an online petition[7] to save the Minardi team name and the team's 20-year heritage in F1 after the news broke. The petition was not successful and the team was renamed Scuderia Toro Rosso for the 2006 season. The greatly increased funding from Red Bull, including the use of the Red Bull chassis and Ferrari engines, gradually led to improved results, culminating in Toro Rosso's maiden win at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.

Racing return for Minardi

Giancarlo Minardi and Paul Stoddart have both made use of the Minardi name in new motorsport ventures.

On January 1, 2006, Giancarlo Minardi re-acquired certain rights to use the Minardi name in racing. He also announced that he was licencing the Minardi name to established team GP Racing in the junior Euro Formula 3000 series, to be entitled 'Minardi Team by GP Racing'.[8] The team raced with moderate success, scoring a podium in each leg of the Spa round in June 2006.[9] For 2007, Minardi Team by GP Racing combined forces with GP2 team Piquet Sports, to form Minardi Piquet Sports.[10] For 2008 the team is known simply as Piquet Sports.

In 2006, Paul Stoddart declared his intention to enter a new team called 'European Minardi F1 Team Ltd' into Formula One beginning in 2008. His application was unsuccessful, with the 12th place on the grid being awarded to Prodrive.[11] Instead, Stoddart turned his attentions to the U.S. based Champ Car series. On December 18, 2006, it was confirmed that he had purchased a controlling interest in the CTE Racing-HVM Champ Car team and that the team would be renamed Minardi Team USA.[12 ] In 2007, the team had reasonable success. Robert Doornbos took two wins and several podium places on his way to third in the series, winning Rookie of the Year honours. When the series folded before its planned 2008 season, Stoddart's involvement ceased, with the team entering the Indycar Series under the HVM name.

Stoddart retains the right to use the Minardi name for a British-registered company.

Complete Formula One results

(key)

Year Chassis Engine Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Points WCC
1985 M185 Ford DFV V8,
Motori Moderni V6-Turbo
P BRA POR SMR MON CAN DET FRA GBR GER AUT NED ITA BEL EUR RSA AUS 0 12th
Pierluigi Martini Ret Ret Ret DNQ Ret Ret Ret Ret 11 Ret Ret Ret 12 Ret Ret 8
1986 M185B
M186
Motori Moderni V6-Turbo P BRA ESP SMR MON BEL CAN DET FRA GBR GER HUN AUT ITA POR MEX AUS 0 12th
Andrea de Cesaris Ret Ret Ret DNQ Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 8 Ret
Alessandro Nannini Ret Ret Ret DNQ Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret NC 14 Ret
1987 M186B
M187
Motori Moderni V6-Turbo G BRA SMR BEL MON DET FRA GBR GER HUN AUT ITA POR ESP MEX JPN AUS 0 14th
Adrián Campos DSQ Ret Ret DNS Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 14 Ret Ret Ret
Alessandro Nannini Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 11 Ret 16 11 Ret Ret Ret Ret
1988 M188 Ford DFZ V8 G BRA SMR MON MEX CAN DET FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 1 10th
Adrián Campos Ret 16 DNQ DNQ DNQ
Pierluigi Martini 6 15 15 DNQ Ret DNQ Ret Ret Ret 13 7
Luis Perez-Sala Ret 11 Ret 11 13 Ret NC Ret DNQ 10 DNQ Ret 8 12 15 Ret
1989 M188B
M189
Ford DFR V8 P BRA SMR MON MEX USA CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 6 11th
Pierluigi Martini Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 5 9 Ret 9 7 5 Ret 6
Paolo Barilla Ret
Luis Perez-Sala Ret Ret Ret DNQ Ret Ret DNQ 6 DNQ Ret 15 8 12 Ret Ret DNQ
1990 M189B
M190
Ford DFR V8 P USA BRA SMR MON CAN MEX FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 0 13th
Pierluigi Martini 7 9 DNS Ret Ret 12 Ret Ret Ret Ret 15 Ret 11 Ret 8 9
Paolo Barilla Ret Ret 11 Ret DNQ 14 DNQ 12 Ret 15 Ret DNQ DNQ DNQ
Gianni Morbidelli Ret Ret
1991 M191 Ferrari 037 V12 G USA BRA SMR MON CAN MEX FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 6 7th
Pierluigi Martini 9 Ret 4 12 7 Ret 9 9 Ret Ret 12 Ret 4 13 Ret Ret
Gianni Morbidelli Ret 8 Ret Ret Ret 7 Ret 11 Ret 13 Ret 9 9 14 Ret
Roberto Moreno 16
1992 M191B
M191L
M192
Lamborghini 3512 V12 G RSA MEX BRA ESP SMR MON CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR JPN AUS 1 12th
Christian Fittipaldi Ret Ret Ret 11 Ret 8 13 DNQ DNQ DNQ 12 6 9
Alessandro Zanardi DNQ Ret DNQ
Gianni Morbidelli Ret Ret 7 Ret Ret Ret 11 8 17 12 DNQ 16 Ret 14 14 10
1993 M193 Ford HBC6 V8 G RSA BRA EUR SMR ESP MON CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR JPN AUS 7 8th
Christian Fittipaldi 4 Ret 7 Ret 8 5 9 8 12 11 Ret Ret 8 9
Jean-Marc Gounon Ret Ret
Fabrizio Barbazza Ret Ret 6 6 Ret 11 Ret Ret
Pierluigi Martini Ret 14 Ret Ret 7 8 10 Ret
1994 M193B
M194
Ford HBC7/8 V8 G BRA PAC SMR MON ESP CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR EUR JPN AUS 5 10th
Pierluigi Martini 8 Ret Ret Ret 5 9 5 10 Ret Ret 8 Ret 12 15 Ret 9
Michele Alboreto Ret Ret Ret 6 Ret 11 Ret Ret Ret 7 9 Ret 13 14 Ret Ret
1995 M195 Ford EDM V8 G BRA ARG SMR ESP MON CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR EUR PAC JPN AUS 1 10th
Pierluigi Martini Ret Ret 12 14 7 Ret Ret 7 Ret
Pedro Lamy 9 10 Ret Ret 9 13 11 6
Luca Badoer Ret DNS 14 Ret Ret 8 13 10 Ret 8 Ret Ret 14 11 15 9 Ret
1996 M195B Ford EDM2 V8,
Ford EDM3 V8
G AUS BRA ARG EUR SMR MON ESP CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR JPN 0 10th
Pedro Lamy Ret 10 Ret 12 9 Ret Ret Ret 12 Ret 12 Ret 10 Ret 16 12
Giancarlo Fisichella Ret 13 Ret Ret Ret 8 Ret 11
Tarso Marques Ret Ret
Giovanni Lavaggi Ret 10 DNQ Ret 15 DNQ
1997 M197 Hart 830 AV7 V8 B AUS BRA ARG SMR MON ESP CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA AUT LUX JPN EUR 0 11th
Jarno Trulli 9 12 9 DNS Ret 15 Ret
Tarso Marques Ret 10 Ret 12 Ret 14 EX Ret Ret 15
Ukyo Katayama Ret 18 Ret 11 10 Ret Ret 11 Ret Ret 10 14 Ret 11 Ret Ret 17
1998 M198 Ford JD Zetec-R V10 B AUS BRA ARG SMR ESP MON CAN FRA GBR AUT GER HUN BEL ITA LUX JPN 0 10th
Shinji Nakano Ret Ret 13 Ret 14 9 7 17 8 11 Ret 15 8 Ret 15 Ret
Esteban Tuero Ret Ret Ret 8 15 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 16 Ret Ret 11 Ret Ret
1999 M01 Ford VJM1 Zetec-R V10,
Ford VJM2 Zetec-R V10
B AUS BRA SMR MON ESP CAN FRA GBR AUT GER HUN BEL ITA EUR MAL JPN 1 10th
Luca Badoer Ret 8 Ret Ret 10 10 Ret 13 10 14 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret
Stéphane Sarrazin Ret
Marc Gené Ret 9 9 Ret Ret 8 Ret 15 11 9 17 16 Ret 6 9 Ret
2000 M02 Fondmetal V10 B AUS BRA SMR GBR ESP EUR MON CAN FRA AUT GER HUN BEL ITA USA JPN MAL 0 10th
Marc Gené 8 Ret Ret 14 14 Ret Ret 16 15 8 Ret 15 14 9 12 Ret Ret
Gastón Mazzacane Ret 10 13 15 15 8 Ret 12 Ret 12 11 Ret 17 10 Ret 15 13
2001 PS01
PS01B
European V10 M AUS MAL BRA SMR ESP AUT MON CAN EUR FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA USA JPN 0 11th
Tarso Marques Ret 14 9 Ret 16 Ret Ret 9 Ret 15 DNQ Ret Ret Ret
Alex Yoong Ret Ret 16
Fernando Alonso 12 13 Ret Ret 13 Ret Ret Ret 14 17 16 10 Ret Ret 13 Ret 11
2002 PS02 Asiatech AT02 V10 M AUS MAL BRA SMR ESP AUT MON CAN EUR GBR FRA GER HUN BEL ITA USA JPN 2 9th
Alex Yoong 7 Ret 13 DNQ DNS Ret Ret 14 Ret DNQ 10 DNQ 13 Ret Ret
Anthony Davidson Ret Ret
Mark Webber 5 Ret 11 11 DNS 12 11 11 15 Ret 8 Ret 16 Ret Ret Ret 10
2003 PS03 Cosworth CR-3 V10 B AUS MAL BRA SMR ESP AUT MON CAN EUR FRA GBR GER HUN ITA USA JPN 0 10th
Justin Wilson Ret Ret Ret Ret 11 13 Ret Ret 13 14 16
Nicolas Kiesa 12 13 12 11 16
Jos Verstappen 11 13 Ret Ret 12 Ret Ret 9 14 16 15 Ret 12 Ret 10 15
2004 PS04 Cosworth CR-3L V10 B AUS MAL BHR SMR ESP MON EUR CAN USA FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA CHN JPN BRA 1 10th
Gianmaria Bruni Ret 14 17 Ret Ret Ret 14 Ret Ret 18 16 17 14 Ret Ret Ret 16 17
Zsolt Baumgartner Ret 16 Ret 15 Ret 9 15 10 8 Ret Ret 16 15 Ret 15 16 Ret 16
2005 PS04B
PS05
Cosworth TJ2005 V10 B AUS MAL BHR SMR ESP MON EUR CAN USA FRA GBR GER HUN TUR ITA BEL BRA JPN CHN 7 10th
Christijan Albers Ret 13 13 Ret Ret 14 17 11 5 Ret 18 13 NC Ret 19 12 14 16 16
Patrick Friesacher 17 Ret 12 Ret Ret Ret 18 Ret 6 Ret 19
Robert Doornbos 18 Ret 13 18 13 Ret 14 14

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Constructors: Minardi www.grandprix.com Retrieved 2 August 2006.
  2. ^ A samba that never got into tune 8w.forix.com Retrieved 10 August 2006.
  3. ^ Hodges, David (1998). A–Z of Formula Racing Cars 1945–1990. Bay View books. pp. 194. ISBN 1-901432-17-3.  
  4. ^ Nye, Doug (1986). Autocourse history of the Grand Prix car 1966–85. Hazleton publishing. pp. 226. ISBN 0-905138-37-6.  
  5. ^ Irvine in talks over Minardi sale news.bbc.co.uk Retrieved 2 August 2006
  6. ^ Red Bull swoop for Minardi deal news.bbc.co.uk Retrieved 2 August 2006
  7. ^ Minardi petition [1] Retrieved 14 September 2005
  8. ^ Minardi name back in racing www.itv-f1.com Retrieved 2 August 2006
  9. ^ "Double" podium for the Minardi team in Spa www.minarditeam.com Retrieved 2 August 2006
  10. ^ "Minardi moving on up" Retrieved 4 October 2006
  11. ^ Stoddart to re-enter F1 with Minardi in 2008www.f2racing.net retrieved 2 August 2006
  12. ^ ""Champ Car News: Stoddart confirms Champ Car move"". autosport.com. 2006-12-18. http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/56058. Retrieved 2006-12-18.  

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