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Old 27th October 2016, 11:03   #1
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Default Formula 1 : 2016 Mexican Grand Prix

Formula 1 : Gran Premio de México 2016

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Formula 1 visits the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit in Mexico City for the second iteration of the Mexican Grand Prix in the modern era. This race marks the 19th round for the 2016 Formula One season. Last year, the fans at the Mexican GP enthralled drivers, teams and viewers alike with their enthusiasm, as captured in the below video:

Race Timings in IST
With the race starting at 1 pm local time, it is once again a late night, though not as late as last weekend's US GP - the race flags off at 11:30 pm on Sunday (30-Oct). The below timings are in IST:
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Track Information
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  • Lap length: 4.304 km
  • Race laps: 71
  • Race distance: 305.354km
  • Fastest lap (race): 1:20.521 (Rosberg, 2015)
  • Fastest lap (any session): 1:19.480 (Rosberg, 2015 Q3)
  • Pole position: Left-hand side of the track
  • Track orientation: Clockwise
  • Maximum speed: 364.3km/h (Massa, 2015 Q1)
  • DRS zone/s: Pit straight and longest straight
  • Distance from grid to turn one: 900 m
  • Full throttle: 45%
  • Longest flat-out section: 1200 m
  • Gear changes per lap: 52
  • Fuel use per lap: 1.35kg
  • Track altitude: 2220 MSL
  • 2015 attendance: 134,850

Unlike last week's COTA which was just 126 - 157 metres above sea level (MSL), Mexico City is in a mountainous area, with the track having an altitude of over 2200 MSL with a variation of just 3 metres of altitude across the lap.
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The reduced air pressure at this elevation results in the turbocharger's compressor working harder to keep the internal combustion engine fed with adequate air. However, unlike a naturally aspirated engine which can lose over 20% of its power at this altitude, the faster spinning turbocharger will negate the effects of the altitude. This reduced air pressure also means that it is harder to dissipate heat, so cooling will prove a challenge.

The positive of all this, however, is that drag is reduced - which translates to good speeds. Unsurprisingly, it was at this circuit that the fastest speed of the 2015 Formula One season was set - an astonishing 364 km/h!

The start finish straight is 1.2 km long, which allows drivers to perform some intense dragging, and will favour those cars which can deploy hybrid power for the longest durations. From lights to turn 1 this stretch is 900 m long, which will also result in exciting battles for those who manage to get away cleanly at the start.

In the original version of this track, the final corner was the daunting Peraltada - a banked 180-degree corner. As part of revisions made to bring the circuit back onto the Formula 1 calendar, the Peraltada corner was replaced by a slower sequence of bends running through the Foro Sol stadium, popularly known as the stadium section.
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The stadium sequence of corners before reaching the pit straight. At the center of the image is the victory podium.

Race Weekend - Weather
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The weather is expected to be dry and occasionally overcast, but with no rain expected.

Race Weekend - Tyre Selection
Teams and drivers will be able to choose from Pirelli's medium (white), soft (yellow) and super-soft (red) tyre compounds for the 2016 F1 Mexican GP.
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The super-soft is the assigned compound for drivers who reach Q3 in qualifying, while the soft and medium are nominated for the race - meaning drivers must have at least one set of each compound, and must use at least one of them during the race.
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Paul Hembery, Motorsport Director for Pirelli has this to say:
“While the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is to all intents and purposes a new circuit, there’s a fantastic sense of history behind it, as the name suggests, supported by an incredible number of fans. The stadium section alone is one of the most electrifying experiences of the year. We raced here last year but there’s a strong possibility that the track has evolved since then. We’re also bringing the supersoft for the first time, so it will be important to assess all these new factors during free practice, which could present some interesting alternatives to the two-stop strategy that proved to be by far the most popular option in 2015.”

World Constructors' Championship (WCC)
  • Mercedes won their third successive World Constructors' Championship at Suzuka. Enough said.
  • Red Bull increased their lead over Ferrari by a further 3 points at the US GP to be 53 points ahead. With just 3 races remaining, and with Red Bull threatening Mercedes as much as they are threatened by Ferrari on the race track, it looks like Ferrari have their work cut out for themselves if they wish to take back second in the constructors standings.
  • Williams narrowed Force India's lead to 8 points. However, that was only achieved by one DNF for Force India in the US GP. Williams will have to exploit their strengths in the remaining races - particularly at Mexico - if they wish to overtake Force India.
  • McLaren appear increasingly secure from Toro Rosso as the weakness of Toro Rosso's 2015 Ferrari power unit became more apparent with every engine upgrade brought by their competitors.
  • Haas appear secure in 8th - unlikely to challenge Toro Rosso ahead, and equally unlikely to be seriously threatened by Renault.
  • At the back of the field, Manor stubbornly cling to their single point that keeps them 10th in the constructors standings, while Sauber desperately seek those elusive points that will lift them from the very back.
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World Drivers' Championship (WDC)
  • We know the first two drivers in the WDC will be the pair of Mercedes drivers. Rosberg will try to repeat his qualifying and race success from the 2015 Mexican GP, while Hamilton will aim to carry forward his qualifying and race success from Austin to Mexico City.
  • Ricciardo is a lonely third in the WDC - he cannot threaten the Mercedes pair ahead of him, and is unlikely to be threatened by any of the three drivers behind him.
  • DNFs for both Räikkönen and Verstappen in the US GP catapulted Vettel ahead, but this battle will continue to be closely fought.
  • Perez and Bottas demonstrate the close competition between their teams by being closely placed in the WDC too.
  • Hulkenberg and Massa continue the Force India-Williams battle in the WDC too, with Alonso's successes in the US GP placing him in the top 10 ahead of Massa.
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Last edited by Rehaan : 27th October 2016 at 17:37.
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Old 27th October 2016, 11:03   #2
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Team Previews and Analysis

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Mercedes will be aiming to repeat their success of the inaugural 2015 Mexican GP where they finished 1-2. Rosberg in particular will be keen to once again lead from pole to the chequered flag as he did in 2015, while Hamilton will be aiming to beat Rosberg by bringing his resurgent form from last week's Austin race to Mexico.

With only 3 races to go this season and a lead of 26 points over Hamilton, this is the earliest race where Rosberg can secure the WDC - a win for Rosberg combined with a 10th place or lower finish for Hamilton will give Rosberg an unassailable lead in the drivers' championship. Realistically, one can expect a race where each of the two drivers' championship contenders work to change the points gap in their favour.

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In 2015, Rosberg held off Hamilton into turn 1, after the pair had drag-raced the 900-metre stretch from the starting lights to the corner entry

Nico Rosberg
“I came into Sunday with a good chance of winning but it didn’t work out. That’s the way it is, so I accept that and now it’s on to the next one in Mexico. My goal is to try and win there just as it has been at every race. Of course, to be in a championship battle at the end of the year is awesome and I’m excited about that. But my approach is to keep it simple. There are many things that can happen during a race weekend which are out of your control, so it’s best to just block all that out and focus on the job at hand. That’s what’s worked best for me and how I feel at my strongest. I’m excited to head back to Mexico City again. Driving the track feels like being back at a kart circuit with all the tight corners and the noise and the atmosphere in the stadium section is really phenomenal. Standing on that podium last year was one of the best moments of my career, so I hope I can get back up there and experience it again. We’ve got three races left to enjoy this awesome Silver Arrow, so I’m planning on making the most of every moment.”
Lewis Hamilton
“It was great to finally get that 50th win after a couple of tough weekends. I’ve just continued to keep a positive frame of mind, avoid dwelling on the past, work and train hard and I knew eventually the result would come. The moment you give up is the moment you lose. I’ve never been one to give up and I don’t plan on starting now. There are still plenty of points available and anything is possible. Next up it’s Mexico, which was a great experience last time out. It’s crazy how slippery the circuit is with the altitude giving you so little downforce from the car. It’s a big challenge, so even though last year’s race was a bit frustrating for me, I actually had a lot of fun out there. I’m looking forward to giving it another go and hopefully going one better this time. On top of that, it has to be one of the best crowds I’ve ever seen. There are so many people with so much energy and excitement for the sport in Mexico. The stands were full even on Friday, which was really good to see. I saw a few Mexican flags with my name on them in Austin which was awesome, so hopefully those guys will be there to give me that extra lift this weekend too.”
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“Lewis produced an impressive weekend all round in Austin. After Suzuka, he went away, processed everything and came back stronger, which we have seen many times from him before. It was damage limitation for Nico, who is in a difficult position. He needs to look at each weekend at a time, which has been very effective for him this year, but also make sure he doesn’t DNF. The pressure is on both in different ways. Nico was very strong in Singapore, Lewis in Malaysia, Nico again in Japan and then Lewis back on top in the USA. It keeps bouncing between the two, so I’m really curious how it’s going to go from here. Then, there is the challenge from our rivals, which will intensify in the final few races. We were fortunate with the safety car in Austin. We had the pace - but Daniel [Ricciardo] in particular was very quick, so there is always a threat. The longer you leave the rules alone the more teams will converge on performance. Nothing in particular has changed on the chassis side over the past couple of years, so Ferrari and Renault in particular on the engine side have done a good job to close up to us. The game for 2017 has also already started, so when you throw all these factors into the mix we are looking at an exciting end to this season and the title battle.”
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
“Mexico was a fantastic event last year, with a tremendous crowd that clearly loves Formula One and created arguably the best atmosphere of the entire season. I can still remember the band performing before the race as if it were yesterday! From a technical point of view, the key feature of this race is the high altitude at which Mexico City is situated - giving it an atmospheric pressure of less than 80 percent of normal levels. This brings with it a reduction of aerodynamic forces, both downforce and drag, while the turbocharged Hybrid Power Unit is still able to deliver its normal level of power. The knock-on effect is that this circuit is tough on tyres, as grip levels are very low, and tough on brakes thanks to high speeds combined with low levels of cooling and drag. So, there are a lot of things to manage through the weekend simply to keep both cars healthy. At the same time, it’s tricky for the drivers, as they are essentially running downforce levels equivalent to Monza at a circuit with significantly more twists and turns. That creates some headaches for them behind the wheel but also the potential for some great racing, so hopefully the crowds will be treated to just that. We’ll be focused on doing the right homework to make sure we’re in good shape for the race in terms of reliability and performance. Top of our list will be to maintain the best possible conditions for a fair competition between Nico and Lewis as the title battle builds towards an exciting crescendo.”

Red Bull
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In 2015, Red Bull qualified and finished 4th and 5th. But that will not be enough for them this year, and they will be gunning for a better position. Their recent form has been impressively strong as they have emerged the key challengers to Mercedes, having successfully overtaken Ferrari and leaving them 53 points adrift. While they were beaten to the podium by the very fast Williams of Valtteri Bottas last year, is a podium on the cars for the resurgent Red Bulls this year?

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A Red Bull navigates the Foro Sol stadium section

Max Verstappen
“The circuit in Mexico is interesting, it’s still really new, they had only just finished it when we went there in 2015. Hopefully when we go there this year the grip will have improved and the lap times will be faster. The fans are really passionate in Mexico, a lot came to the race last year so it will be good to see them out in force again this year. Last year I didn’t get any chance to look around at all, I want to taste some authentic food and see some sights this year.”
Daniel Ricciardo
“Last year in Mexico it was quite challenging, the surface was so new it meant grip levels were really low. This year should be a bit more fun with a bit more feeling. The track has some really cool sections, driving slow through the stadium bits means you can feel the atmosphere from the fans. Last year it was the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival so we went out on the Sunday after the race. We had a meal and everyone was dressed up in the skulls, it felt like we were in a movie. For me, having Austin and Mexico as a back to back is great because they are two of the most hospitable places we go and really cool to spend time there.”

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Ferrari will be hoping for a better conclusion to this Mexican GP than last year, when both Ferrari's crashed out due to driver errors. However, Ferrari have not been at the top of their game in recent races either - be it car setup, strategy calls, pit stops or driving, resulting in Red Bull opening a 53-point lead over the scarlet cars. Will they be able to keep it together and challenge the Red Bulls in the championship standings, and maybe even Mercedes in the race? Time will tell.

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Top: Vettel's puncture was just one of many things he got wrong in last year's Mexican GP
Bottom: The straw that broke the camel's back, or the collision that broke the Ferrari's suspension?
Either way, this contact with Bottas' Williams ended Räikkönen's race in 2015

Force India
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Last week's US GP cut Force India's lead over Williams to 8 points, in part due to Hulkenberg's retirement, although Force India were lucky that Massa didn't overtake Sainz. And in last year's Mexican GP, the low-downforce Williams made hay at this track, even earning a podium. Force India will be keen to ensure their championship lead is not reduced this weekend as they vie for the distinction of being the best midfield team.

Sergio Perez
“Mexico City may be quite far from my city of Guadalajara, but I go there very often for professional reasons. It’s a city I love and there’s so much going on: the best restaurants, so many sights and so many things to do. It is a huge city and sometimes traffic makes going from one side of town to the other feel like an adventure! It is, not surprisingly, one of my favourite moments in the season and last year’s was special not just for me, but for my team and for anyone who came to the race.

“I have no doubt this year’s event will be even better than last year - expectations are huge following the success of 2015. For me, the biggest surprise was the passion of the fans: all the affection I received, all the messages and all the incredible moments I experienced are what really made an impression on me. I am so happy to go back there.

“The track itself is brilliant: my two favourite parts are the fast esses and the Foro Sol. It’s a very technical circuit, with some tricky corners: at the speeds we are doing, managing the car is very complicated and it’s important not to lose your rhythm. There is no key place where you can make or break your lap, except perhaps the slow section inside the stadium: you have to nail the combinations of corners to be able to string together a good lap. I am really looking forward to trying the track surface - last year, the asphalt was completely new, so this year it should be a big improvement.”
Nico Hulkenberg
“I am looking forward to going back to Mexico. Last year the whole race week was a huge thrill and you could feel all the excitement from the Mexican people as Formula One was coming back after more than 20 years. The happiness and enthusiasm were incredible, and the vibe we could feel was great - I had goosebumps the first time I got to the track and saw all the fans. I hope this year we’ll have a similar experience: I know what we had in 2015 will be hard to match, but I trust the locals!

“The circuit facilities are nice, even though the track is perhaps not one of the most challenging. The first sector, though, is fun to drive - Turns 1 to 3 make up a good combination: it’s a triple corner, quite slow in the race but exciting in qualifying, as it gets quicker with lots of grip and low fuel.

“The altitude makes our set-up choice interesting: we have a high-downforce package on the car, but the thin air results in a downforce level similar to what we have in Monza. The car feels loose and very floaty, and massively quick in a straight line: last year we went over 360 km/h on the main straight. We had a good result last year and hopefully we can go even better this year.”
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal
“We are really looking forward to the weekend in Mexico, a race that has already become a favourite for everyone in Formula One. Last year, the event felt like a huge celebration of our sport and we are looking forward to experiencing the same incredible levels of passion again.

“Off track, this is one of the most important races of our season. We have a large number of Mexican team partners and we are keen to get a special result in their home race. Of course, we also have the Checo-factor: we saw all the fans cheering for him in Austin and we know of the huge following he has in his home country, so we expect the majority of the people in the stands to be supporting us. It will feel like having a home advantage and we hope to contribute to a very enjoyable race.

“On track, however, this is a race like any other: we need to focus on our job and do it right to move one step closer to our objective of finishing fourth in the championship. The characteristics of the track should suit us and I expect us to be fighting for points.”

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In 2015, the slippery Williams used its low downforce configuration to set the highest speed seen on this track and gain a podium. This year, the Williams team will be aiming to repeat that speed and strong finish, as they will be intending to reduce their points deficit to Force India, if not overtake them altogether.

Valtteri Bottas
“Mexico was the best podium in my career so far when I finished third there last year. It was incredible to look out on the stadium and see how many people there were after the Mexican Grand Prix hadn’t been on since 1992, and the place was completely full. The atmosphere was amazing. It’s a big city with plenty of traffic on the way to the circuit – that’s the only negative I can think of, but at least the traffic is there and not on the track! The race is very challenging because of the high altitude. The top speeds are high, and we have less downforce. This thin air also means there is less oxygen, so as a driver it’s slightly more physical. It’s a very cool race track and I’m really looking forward to going back to such a unique location for a Grand Prix.”
Felipe Massa
“Mexico has some of the most amazing fans. In the last sector you really enjoy every lap you’re doing. You also have one of the longest straights in Formula One, where we achieved the record speed last year. In Mexico people really love Formula One, it’s fantastic to go to races like that. The city is very similar to São Paulo so I really feel at home there. I would say the Mexican people are very similar to the Brazilian people as well. It’s a great place to visit and to race.”
Pat Symonds, Chief Technical Officer
“We still regard Mexico as a new venue as our rate of learning last year was rapid, but undoubtedly unfinished. That said, we were able to put one car on the podium here. Of course, the primary feature of the circuit is its altitude which tests the turbo charger of the power unit, as well as the vehicle’s cooling systems. The altitude is not only a test for the car, but indeed the drivers and the whole pit crew. Of particular note is the brake duty cycle, with this circuit now being one of the highest benchmarks we need to achieve. For the second time in a row, the teams also have to handle back-to-back race events as we continue through the busy final stint of the season.”

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At Mexico, McLaren will be keen to emulate their US GP performance, where both cars finished in the points, and where Alonso impressed many with his gutsy driving, finishing just behind the Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari cars. However, their home GP at Suzuka also showed that the car has a very sensitive setup - one that can make or break races. McLaren will be wishing they can dial their car in perfectly for Mexico to cater to the low drag circuit.

Fernando Alonso
“Last year we went to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez with a lot of unknowns and relatively little information about how the cars would perform on the reconfigured circuit. It poses a very different set of challenges to many other circuits because of the compromise you need between good downforce on the fast straights and also strong balance in the twisty stadium section - and then there’s the altitude, which affects performance in itself. It will be difficult to bring all of the elements together to get the best out of a lap, but I’m looking forward to seeing where our package compares to last year.

“Last year the support we received in Mexico City made it one of the best crowds all season, so the whole team is looking forward to going back there for the second time at this famous circuit. The buzz from the fans really makes a difference to the drivers, and, although we didn’t have a smooth weekend there last year, I still remember it as one of the highlight events because the whole experience was really enjoyable. Given how tough the race is on our cars, I hope we can achieve good reliability and enjoy a better result on track this time, and make the most of the incredible support.”
Jenson Button
“I really enjoyed driving on this circuit last year. It wasn’t an easy track for us, but it’s a really rewarding layout for a driver. Although the famous banked Peraltada wasn’t included in the re-profiled design, the mixture of the very high-speed straights and the infield section at the end of the lap does give you a bit of everything and it really puts a smile on your face. We were definitely strongest in the final sector around the stadium so we’ll need to put those strengths to good use if we’re to give ourselves a fighting chance next weekend.

“We’re very lucky that we have huge support from fans at all the circuits we go to around the world, but I can honestly say that the reception we got from the Mexican crowd last year was a feeling like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. Every time you drove around the stadium section you could actually feel the roar from the fans from inside the car, it was unbelievable. I hope we put on a great show again this year and recreate that incredible atmosphere.”
Eric Boullier, Racing Director
“We head to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez buoyed by a positive result at the Circuit of The Americas. Like in Texas, we’re looking forward to the incredibly warm welcome from the fans, who rocked the stadium section and downtown Mexico City over what was a very memorable weekend for fans, teams and drivers alike last year.

“Achieving a similar result to Austin at this circuit will be no mean feat. It’s a tough track for the chassis due to the high average speeds and big braking zones, and it makes the power unit - particularly the turbocharger - work harder than normal because of the high altitude.

“It will be interesting to see how our improving package fares on this challenging configuration, and I hope we can bring all of the elements together to see a more promising performance there than we managed last year. Saturday will be the most crucial day for us, as we need to give ourselves the biggest chance in the race, and we can only do that by maximising everything in qualifying. With the incredible support from the fans, we’ll work hard to give them a great weekend of racing.”
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer:
“Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is located at the high altitude of 2,200m (7,218ft), which means that the oxygen in the air is very lean, and therefore the turbocharger must work extra hard to force air into the power unit. As a result, the quality and the efficiency of the turbo will be the key factor in the Mexican Grand Prix.

“At the same time, this track has a very long straight, so we need to consider the power effect while matching the power unit to the chassis. We had a very difficult race here last year, but we would like to maintain the good momentum gained in Austin, and also show our technological progress throughout this season. We are hopeful that we can once again target points in the race.”

Toro Rosso
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Toro Rosso continue to grapple with a car that has an impressive aero package, but is increasingly hampered by its 2015 Ferrari power plant that is showing its weakness compared to the rest of the field. In the last 3 races before they return to Renault engines, Toro Rosso will be seeking to close in on McLaren who sit 19 points ahead. While Carlos Sainz impressed many last week with his robust defence against Massa and battle with his idol Alonso, Kvyat will be wishing for a clean and penalty-free weekend to prove to Toro Rosso they were right to extend his contract into 2017.

Daniil Kvyat
“I'm looking forward to Mexico, I like it over there! I remember there were so many fans that attended the race last year, it was crazy! I felt like a rock star during the drivers' parade! I was a bit disappointed not to be on the podium, because I heard it was mega! Bottas just got me (for third) when there were only a few laps to go… It was a shame, but it was still quite a good race for me. I have to say that the city is enormous and quite crazy, with loads of traffic at any time of day. It's a cool city. I'm not the biggest fan of spicy food, so I always stick to normal food there.”
Carlos Sainz
“(The track’s) an interesting one! I think the layout is really well thought about, especially for the fans, as there are three areas with stadiums where it's very impressive to drive through and see so many people surrounding a corner! I also have very good memories of the drivers' parade, the amount of people there was incredible! Also because the Mexican fans are so loud, they shout so much, it makes you feel good! I'd say that, after Japan, the Mexican fans are also up there at the top of the list! Then, regarding the track itself, I'd prefer more high-speed corners, but there's still quite a few chicanes and changes of direction which are interesting. We reached 360kph last year - I think this year it will be more. And the track is literally inside the city, something I also like.”

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Haas celebrated their home race at Austin with a return to a point-scoring 10th place last week. At his home GP this weekend, Gutiérrez will be keen to entertain his supporters even as he seeks his first point of the season, especially as his seat for 2017 is currently unsecured.

Romain Grosjean
“It was a great atmosphere [last year]. During the driver parade, I don’t think I’d ever seen such a big crowd than in the last part of the circuit at the stadium section. It was an awesome race with a lot of fans.

“[The track is] great fun to drive with huge straights and big braking – everything that I like. Every time we go to a track, it’s a brand-new track to us as a team. Even when we’re coming from a strong race, the next one could be difficult. I always prefer not to have any expectations and see how it goes. With Mexico’s long straight line, that could be to our advantage.

“I wasn’t really happy with the race in Mexico last year. I managed to get into the top-10, but I thought with the performance we could have done better. We were struggling with the brakes because of the altitude, which cost us a little bit. But yes, it was a great end to the season and I managed to score points in the last three races. I’m hoping for the same this year.”
Esteban Gutiérrez
“It’s a very special week for my whole career. It’s probably one of the best two weeks of my career because it represents so much to racing, to motorsports in Mexico in general, and to me. It’s a kind of connection where I can share my passion for racing and what I do with all Mexicans. I feel grateful for their support.

“Last year was great. I could live the event from a different perspective, but now it will be even better when I will be racing there. I’m very excited to enjoy that.

“It will be important to do the best we can with our car. It’s a track we believe can suit the style of our car, and we’re hoping that will be the case. It’s going to be important to have as much track time as possible to adapt to the circuit.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“Having a local hero on the race team is always a good thing to have for Haas Automation and for Telcel. In Mexico, he’s one of the most famous sportsmen and it helps attract a lot of attention.

“[The atmosphere at last year’s race] was fantastic. There were a lot of people and everything was sold out. I was told they had to build more grandstands to meet the demand for tickets. It’s a very nice event and this is what’s fantastic about F1. You still get tens of thousands of people coming to an event, which is very difficult these days. I hope the same happens this year.

“[The track is] a one-off on the year. The cooling is very challenging. You need to run maximum cooling, maximum downforce, even with it being a fast track. The engine, for sure, has to work harder. We know that and everyone has the same problem. We all fight the same circumstances.”
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Renault might appear secure and lonely with their 8th place in the constructors' standings, however there will be a strong internal battle between Magnussen and Palmer to prove they are worthy to be offered the one remaining seat for 2017 alongside Hulkenberg.

Kevin Magnussen
"I've never been to Mexico before so it's going to be a completely new experience away from the track too. I've heard a lot about Mexico City from everyone that visited last year, especially that the fans are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. I love Mexican food, especially if it's hot and spicy.

"I want to get the most out of the car and achieve the best result possible. We know the level of our car's performance so we want to get the most out of it at every opportunity. I've never driven it but I have studied the layout and watched some on-board laps so I've got a good taste for it. It looks good, but you never get a real feel for it until you get out there in the car. I know that the engineers say it was pretty slippery last year, especially early in the weekend which is what you'd expect for a new facility. It's going to be interesting to see how much it's improved over the past year."
Jolyon Palmer
"It's always fun to go to a new circuit, which was the case last year. It's got a particularly distinct character with the stadium section near the end of the lap, there's quite a few fast corners; it's a good layout. There's something really special and you feel the atmosphere. [The Stadium] is a very slow section, and to be honest it's not fantastic in pure driving terms as the corners are some of the slowest on the calendar, but you really feel the buzz of the fans all cheering and that really pushes you along! You go so slowly through there that you can properly appreciate and feel the enthusiasm.*

"Last year the event was all about the crowd; there were so many people and they were so enthusiastic. On the grid in Mexico was one of the most memorable moments of last season; that and driving through the stadium section – even in FP1."
Rémi Taffin, Power Unit Technical Director
"The air is a lot less dense, which for a normally-aspirated engine can mean a loss in power of about 22%. With the turbo ICE we have, all that happens is the turbo has to spin faster. The energy recovery and deployment systems are unaffected too.

"One area you have to pay particular attention to on the power unit side is the cooling as the less dense air is not only less effective for combustion, it's also not as strong on the cooling side too. You maintain the same level of power, so you have to dissipate all the energy.*

"There is no reason why we should not see the same sort of performance as seen in the last four or five races. We want both cars in Q2 and we really would like to have another go at getting into Q3 before the season is out."
Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal
"For all of us, points are the target, as ever. For our engineers and drivers, maximising the use of the tyres and making the most of our potential are the particular goals. For our drivers, it's having fast and consistent performances in qualifying and the race. The Mexican Grand Prix is an impressive event so we want to see impressive performances from everyone involved."

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The constructors battle at the head of the field might be settled for the first three teams, but it is far from over for the last two. Manor continue to cling tenaciously to the one point they scored in Austria, a point that keeps them 10th in the constructors standings, and in line to earn prize money. With neither driver's seat for 2017 confirmed, they will be keen to impress their team management even as they try to stay ahead of Sauber.

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Purely in terms of finishing position, Sauber have actually tended to finish ahead of Manor across the entire season. It must therefore rankle that Manor are ahead in the WCC solely on account of the one point Manor scored at Austria. While Sauber came reasonably close to the points at the US GP, they were not able to convert it into a point-scoring position. Sauber will be eager to redress the gap to Manor, even as the drivers work to secure their seats for 2017 and prove to their new owners Longbow Finance the value of their investment.

Marcus Ericsson
“I remember the atmosphere at the track and especially driving through the section from Turn 12 to Turn 16, which made us feel like we were in a football stadium. The Mexicans gave us a warm welcome last season, and I am sure they will do so this year as well. Looking back to the previous race weekends, we clearly made steps in the right direction, but we still need to find more pace in order to fight for points.”
Felipe Nasr
“At the Mexican Grand Prix it was great to see the grandstands full of people in 2015. The atmosphere at the circuit and in Mexico City was just excellent, so I am pleased to return this year. I am confident that we are keeping working to improve the Sauber C35-Ferrari, in order to make further steps to be more competitive.”

Sources: formula1.com, instagram.com/f1, fia.com, FIA Media Kit, mexicogp.mx

Last edited by Rehaan : 27th October 2016 at 17:37.
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Old 28th October 2016, 11:28   #3
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Default Re: Formula 1 : 2016 Mexican Grand Prix

The race is at a more reasonable time than the US GP ; 2330 hours on Sunday night.

Hamilton needs to win this race and hope for Rosberg to finish a bit lower on the grid to improve his chances at the championship. On the other hand, if Rosberg wins & Hamilton has a bad race (10th or lower), we have a new world champion !
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Old 28th October 2016, 13:00   #4
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Default Re: Formula 1 : 2016 Mexican Grand Prix

Excellent preview of the race arunphilip

Going by the circuit characteristics, it would definitely be a boring Mercedes dominated race, unless they run into each other at first corner or for a car failure.

Even in the last race, close racing was happening between the cars in the low down the order. Imagine Vettel and Massa making pit stops with only few laps left and still not loosing their respective positions and a double world champion celebrating the overtake over Torro Rosso as if a race win

Anyway, recognize this driver??
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Old 29th October 2016, 02:49   #5
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Default Free Practice 1 & Free Practice 2 Report

Free Practice 1 Report

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  • Mercedes' Hamilton set the quickest time of FP1 with 1:20.914. What made this even more impressive (to viewers) and ominous (to their competitors) was that it was set on the hardest compound of the weekend - the white-walled medium tyre. This time is quicker than the times set in all 3 free practice sessions in 2015.
  • In comparison, the Ferraris and Force Indias set their quickest times on the yellow-walled soft and red-walled super-soft tyres respectively, and still couldn't beat Hamilton's time.
  • WDC contender and fellow Mercedes driver Rosberg only managed 7th, but that was again on the medium tyres. After an initial set of timed laps, he switched to race simulations.
  • The session was red flagged for some time as the front wing on Felipe Nasr's Sauber disintegrated, requiring extensive clean-up.
  • Max Verstappen's running was also cut short as his Red Bull's right rear brake caught fire, causing damage to a part of the wiring loom. The team worked to ready his car in time for FP2.
  • FP1 also saw 5 cars running the Halo head protection system: Felipe Massa's Williams, Kevin Magnussen's Renault, Pascal Wehrlein's Manor, home hero Sergio Pérez's Force India, and Felipe Nasr's Sauber all ran with the Halo in the initial few laps of FP1.
  • Towards the end of FP1, a few droplets of rain were reported around turns 16 and 17.
  • If the rain holds off, track evolution and rubbering in will continue, and we can expect to see improved times in future sessions.
  • New energy stores were fitted to both Renault cars. As they were still within the 5 elements allowed by regulations, no grid penalties will be incurred.

Free Practice 1 was marked by extremely cold and dusty conditions - with drivers complaining of slippery track conditions, and an inability to get the tires up to temperature. This was not surprising, since the air temperature was just 11°C at the start of the session, rising to 13°C by the end, and the track temperature ranged from 19°C - 25°C. While the drivers grappled with their cars on track, inside the pit garages, mechanics were getting rather affectionate with the tyre-warming electric blankets:
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Racing in front of their fans at their home race, Mexican drivers Sergio Pérez and Esteban Gutiérrez both brought customized helmets:
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Esteban Gutiérrez's helmet pays homage to Mexican drivers Pedro Rodríguez and Ricardo Rodríguez, both of whom lost their lives in racing accidents

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Sergio Pérez wears a helmet to draw attention to and support the Checo Pérez Foundation for orphaned children

Free Practice 2 Report

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  • Ferrari's Vettel topped FP2 with a stunning timing of 1:19.790 set on the super-soft tyres, breaking the 80-second barrier for the first time this weekend.
  • Both Mercedes drivers attempted to beat Ferrari, but were unable to do so even with the super-soft tyres fitted. Hamilton came closest in his three attempts, however, lapping within four-thousandths of Vettel's time.
  • Räikkönen and Ricciardo rounded out the top five drivers, all of whom set their times on the super-soft tyres.
  • Rather tellingly, Nico Hulkenberg went P6 in his Force India, using the soft tyres, ahead of the Williams cars on the super-soft.
  • McLaren also improved from FP1 to finish FP2 in 10th (Alonso) and 12th (Button).
  • After these initial qualifying runs, the remainder of the session was spent by teams performing race simulations.
  • Tyre Strategy: Initial indications are that the red-walled super-soft tyres have a short life, with the yellow-walled soft and white-walled medium tyres being the ones preferred for race stints. On Saturday, it will be interesting to see on which tyres the top teams attempt their Q2 runs, as the tyre used to set the fastest Q2 time will be the tyres that the top 10 on the grid start the race on. Therefore, anyone in Q3 who sets their best Q2 times on the super-soft tyres will end up with a short first stint in the race, on a set of tyres that would have had the most of their life taken out in Q2 itself.
  • Romain Grosjean brought his Haas out for an installation lap at the start of FP2. Partway through that lap he was ordered to pit, due to a fault detected in the hybrid power system. The subsequent troubleshooting meant he missed the first hour of FP2, though he did rejoin for about 25 minutes of running, putting in 14 laps.
  • Daniil Kvyat's fortunes continue to wane, as he reported a loss of power on his Toro Rosso at the end of FP2, and halted at the pit entrance, with smoke coming out of his car.

On a lighter note, given Verstappen's pit related troubles last weekend, his team prepared the following circuit guide for him:
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Old 29th October 2016, 07:40   #6
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Default Re: Formula 1 : 2016 Mexican Grand Prix

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The low air density is forcing teams to make amends to their cooling requirements. Bigger openings aft of engine covers can be seen on the cars.
Brakes fail due to lack of cooling as well.

Probably we will see higher speed across the speed trap this year compared to last, unless it rains.
Other cars being competitive sound encouraging. But I think it has more to do with Mercedes running in conservative modes as they plan on using the same PU through the weekend, unlike others who will swap the PUs after the friday runs.
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Old 29th October 2016, 17:47   #7
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Default Re: Formula 1 : 2016 Mexican Grand Prix

With the daylights saving time kicking in on Oct 30th, the race will be starting at 00:30AM IST.
Hope to have a competitive and exciting race tomorrow.
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Old 29th October 2016, 18:43   #8
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Amazing that the cars lose 8-10% in to downforce due to the thinner air. The wing angles are so much sharper yet they are doing 360+ kmph on the straights. Barely a 1% loss in power due to the turbo chargers working overtime. Nice to see Honda doing well on ERS recovery.

Hope we see a close fight between Ferrari and Mercedes.
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Old 29th October 2016, 21:08   #9
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Default Re: Formula 1 : 2016 Mexican Grand Prix

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Not bad eh.
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Old 29th October 2016, 21:44   #10
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Free Practice 3 Report

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  • Max Verstappen sets the fastest time of 1:19.137 on the super-soft compound. This time also beat the fastest time from 2015 (1:19:480)
  • Hamilton was not able to match Verstappen's time as he encountered traffic at the end of the session, but closed to within a tenth of the Red Bull.
  • The championship leader Rosberg wasn't able to get closer than four-tenths to his championship contender Hamilton.
  • 8 cars came in below the 80-second mark - the Mercedes, Red Bulls, Ferraris and Williams, all of them clustered within nine-tenths of one another.
  • The next 4 cars were the Force Indias and Toro Rossos.
  • Together, that should indicate the general order of qualifying. Qualifying should be interesting as the Red Bulls seem to be right up there on single-lap pace. Hamilton was quoted as saying the Red Bulls were his best friends on track, it does appear his wish might be granted.
  • McLaren could do no better than 13th and 15th, being split by the Renault of Jolyon Palmer.

Qualification and Race Telecast Timings
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The race will be telecast on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD. Note the race timing in India is same as that of the US GP. Hat-tip to speedmiester for correctly pointing out that the DST change delays the race by an hour for us in India. Even the F1 website didn't get this time conversion right!
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Old 30th October 2016, 01:04   #11
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Qualifying Results

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  • Hamilton nails pole with 1:18.704, Rosberg alongside him, but with a lap that was a quarter-second slower than Hamilton.
  • The Mercedes of Hamilton and Rosberg will both be starting the race on the front row on the yellow-walled soft tyre.
  • The Red Bulls of Verstappen and Ricciardo occupy the second row and start the race on the red-walled super-soft tyre.
  • The Red Bulls exhibited good times in sector 1, so they will be hoping to pounce on the Mercedes cars. From a drivers' championship perspective, Hamilton will be happy if one or more Red Bulls interject themselves between himself and Rosberg, Rosberg would prefer the Red Bulls put themselves ahead of both Mercedes cars.
  • Apart from the two Mercedes drivers, Max Verstappen was the only other driver to lap quicker than 79 seconds.
  • Nico Hulkenberg qualified an impressive fifth on the grid, although his fellow Force India driver Sergio Pérez was eliminated in Q2 itself.
  • Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel could qualify only 6th and 7th. More embarrassingly, both Ferrari's were out-qualified by Nico Hulkenberg's Force India. Apart from the two Mercedes cars, Sebastian Vettel is the only other driver in the top 10 who will be starting the race on the yellow-walled soft tyre, allowing him to run a longer first stint.
  • The Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa qualified 8th and 9th respectively.
  • Carlos Sainz rounded up the top 10 in his Toro Rosso.
  • McLaren found their cars eliminated in Q2, with Fernando Alonso qualifying in 11th and Jenson Button in 13th.
  • Sergio Pérez split the two McLarens with his Force India, qualifying in 12th. While this is not the qualifying performance he'd have hoped for (particularly given where his teammate lines up on the grid), he will be hoping that Sunday brings him a good race in front of his home crowd.
  • Kevin Magnussen (Renault), Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) and Pascal Wehrlein (Manor) all impressed by bringing their cars into Q2 while their teammates did not cross Q1.
  • Daniil Kvyat was a surprise elimination in Q1, as he faced a loss of engine power after his banker lap, which prevented him from running a second time in Q1 to improve his time.
  • Haas had a torrid qualifying session, with both cars being knocked out in Q1 itself. Esteban Gutiérrez spun which prevented him from attempting to improve his time, and in turn, that spin affected his teammate Romain Grosjean's flying lap.
  • Jolyon Palmer did not take part in qualifying, due to him cracking his Renault's chassis on a kerb in FP3. The rebuild means he will have to start from the pit lane tomorrow. A shame, given his good timings in FP3, where he beat teammate Kevin Magnussen and split the McLarens, and seeing where Magnussen himself qualified.

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Qualification and Race Telecast Timings
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Once again, a reminder that the race will be telecast on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD. Race start is at 00:30 on 31-Oct (same as the US GP), and not 23:30 as was incorrectly reported earlier. The difference is due to the daylight savings rollover that occurred in Mexico on 30-Oct.
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Old 30th October 2016, 01:15   #12
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Default Re: Formula 1 : 2016 Mexican Grand Prix

Ferrari flattered to deceive in Q1 when Raikkonen initially led the timing screens. I hope they are falling behind concentrating their energies on the 2017 chassis.

Valiant attempts from Gutierrez but the lap by Pascal Wehrlien to get into Q2 was just superb. As stated often now qualifying too is made interesting by the fights in the mid segments.

Vestappen seems to have staked out the second row permanently with Red Bull recovering their form this late in the season. Should make things interesting if he is able to mount a stiff challenge to Rosberg into the first corner.

Another red eye race.

Drive on,
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Old 30th October 2016, 06:55   #13
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Originally Posted by arunphilip View Post

Apart from the two Mercedes cars, Sebastian Vettel is the only other driver in the top 10 who will be starting the race on the yellow-walled soft tyre, allowing him to run a longer first stint.
Raikkonen's best time in Q2 was also set using softs so he will be starting on them as well.
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Old 30th October 2016, 08:41   #14
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Default Pre-Race Build-Up

Pre-Race Build-Up

Starting Grid
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  • Of the top 10, both Mercedes cars and both Ferrari cars start on the yellow-walled soft tyre, with the other 6 cars on the red-walled super-soft tyre. (SilentEngine - thanks for the correction!)
  • Jolyon Palmer has been cleared to race by the stewards despite not participating in qualifying, on the basis of representative timings set in the practice sessions. Palmer had to miss qualifying on account of a crack being found in his car's chassis, presumed to be caused by running over a kerb in FP3.
  • Qualifying order has been maintained for the race start, with no penalties being applied. Some cars have changed gearboxes and PU components, but as they satisfied the criteria for changes, no penalties were applied.
  • The weather is expected to be similar to qualifying - mild air temperatures and warm track temperatures. This will be of good news for those seeking to use the super-soft tyres.

Tyre Availability for Race
The soft and medium compounds are nominated for the race - meaning drivers must have at least one set of each compound, and must use at least one of them during the race.

According to Pirelli, two pit stops looks to be the most likely scenario for most competitors, but with times closely matched there are a number of different strategy permutations on the table: which will depend also on the weather conditions for the race. Some drivers could aim for a single stop strategy. Rapid track evolution continued to be a hallmark of the Mexico City track on Saturday, and this will remain a factor, again affecting strategies.
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Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director:
“With the high degree of track and temperature evolution that we have seen, conditions could continue to change and perhaps come back towards the softer compounds in the race. Last year nearly all the drivers completed the race with two stops, just after a late safety car. Tomorrow some could try a single stop, especially if starting on softs. In any case, there are a number of options still open when it comes to strategy.”

Race Telecast Timings
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The race will be telecast on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD. Race start is at 00:30 on 31-Oct (same as the US GP), and not 23:30 as was incorrectly reported earlier. The difference is due to the daylight savings rollover that occurred in Mexico on 30-Oct.
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Old 30th October 2016, 23:51   #15
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Official Starting Grid
  • Jolyon Palmer lines up 21st on the grid in his Renault, as he was allowed to race by the stewards after missing qualifying.
  • Romain Grosjean starts from the pit lane as the team replaced the floor on his Haas under Parc Fermé conditions.
  • Kimi Räikkönen's Ferrari had a change of ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H to units that were previously raced. No grid penalties as these are not new units. This is presumably in response to the loss of power that was reported in qualifying.
  • Pirelli estimates that the super-soft tyres can give an advantage of 12 - 20 metres additional distance covered over the soft tyres, in the 900 metre dash down to turn 1. The start between the soft-tyre shod Mercedes pair and the super-soft shod Red Bull cars will be very interesting. Mercedes' drivers have everything to lose, and Red Bulls everything to gain.

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