Montezemolo casts fresh doubt on Raikkonen’s Ferrari future
Scuderia Ferrari
Montezemolo casts fresh doubt on Raikkonen’s Ferrari future
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Sep 2009   |  6:45 pm GMT  |  134 comments

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has stirred up the Ferrari driver situation again by saying that while Felipe Massa’s position at Ferrari is assured for next year, Kimi Raikkonen’s is not.

Picture 24
“We will have a Brazilian driver, who deserves another chance, seeing as he’s well. As for the rest, we are thinking about the best choice, but we still have time. We will decide in a few weeks.”

This is a different line from the one he took at Monza two weeks ago, at the announcement of Santander’s five year sponsorship deal, where he appeared to be suggesting that the drivers currently under contract would race next year and that Fernando Alonso would have to wait his turn. The Spaniard was not implicated in the Singapore race fixing scandal and so is very much a free agent and ready for 2010.

Raikkonen has already been waiting some time for Ferrari to decide what it wants to do. Meanwhile the stance is based on a firm conviction that Felipe Massa will return to racing next season as good as he was before his accident.

Lately, there have been increasing suggestions that Raikkonen may be welcome back at McLaren. Although I find the idea of a fit with Lewis Hamilton rather hard to imagine, not to mention unnecessary, it seems that the story has some foundation.

Heikki Kovalainen surely lost his last chance of holding on to his McLaren seat at Monza, where he was the best placed car on the grid with the winning strategy and yet he faded horribly in the race.

Montezemolo also confidently predicted that Ferrari would be back as a title contender next season,
“We have been in competition since 1950, we’ve never retired, though the good times and the bad. We are the team which has won the most. We’ve taken a couple of years holiday, because the rules were not clear. Next year we will be back in force. That said, this year isn’t finished yet.”

Ironically Raikkonen is in the form of his life with 30 points in the last four races including the win at Spa. This is in spite of Ferrari halting development of the 2009 car to focus on 2010.

Incidentally the Italian media is making much of the notion that with FIA president Max Mosley having got rid of both Ron Dennis and Flavio Briatore this year, he will now train his sights on Montezemolo and John Howett of Toyota, the other two main architects of the FOTA project. There has not been a response from Montezemolo to that suggestion and he also ducked questions about Briatore’s departure.

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1

It’s because James Allen is *afraid* of Kimi! He does not want Kimi to McLaren because he sees Kimi as a great danger to Lewis.

Which he is, of course.

It’s not a surprise that a Lewis fanboy such as James Allen will be writing in fear when he hears the stories of Kimi back to McLaren.

2

Not at all, I’d love it if they went at each other and I don’t care who wins. Don’t propagate this nonsense that I’m a Hamilton fan

3

I just don’t understand whats wrong with the Massa Raikkonen line up.

Its been very succesful.

3/4 WC

4

Interesting article, personally I don’t think Ferrari and Kimi has gelled quite like everyone expected them too.

The Italians thrive on the raw emotion of F1, Ferrari is all about passion, yet Kimi gets about excited as a stone even when he dominates and wins! The team spirit of Forza Ferrari doesn’t suit Kimi’s “get it done and move on” attitude!

Anyway don’t know if anyone here has posted this but this is a quote from Martin Whitmarsh after the Valencia GP:

“Kimi is an exciting driver for each team. He is perhaps the greatest talent ever, if he is willing to concentrate one hundred percent on the job.” – its from an interview with AMUS – http://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/formel-1/formel-1-fahrer-karussell-2010-kimi-raeikkoenen-zu-mclaren-mercedes-1413359.html

Strange that Whitmarsh would make such a comment but yeah this tells me that Macca want him back if they can have him! It also tells of how highly Kimi is still rated at Macca. In addition Macca seem to love having two big names in the car and the LH/KR pairing would be really interesting and explosive in terms of pure racing! The Prodigal Son vs the Golden child, in my opinion if Kimi is on it, he would edge Hamilton and we would see Macca WDC and WCC in 2010!!

5

I read that Luca said to the news paper MARCA in Spain today that next year will be Kimi/Massa….. and joked Alonso to Brawn

6

James, could it be L di Mo has been pulling all our legs and knows it’s going to be Kimi and Alonso because Massa will simply need longer to get fit??

7

I can’t fathom why Ferrari would want a primadonna like Alonso to drive for them. What happens if Massa is well and turns out to be competitive, can Ferrari live with a season like the one McLaren had in 2007?

Alonso has had a sheltered career under Flavio’s protection. Everybody remembers how Trulli was treated just to make Alonso look good. Then Alonso goes to McLaren, doesn’t get defacto number 1 and the whole team supporting just him and what happens? He throws his toys out of the pram, goes vidictive, and utterly messes the team up.

I think I will echo Niki Lauda’s comments “now Todt is gone and the Italians have taken over again Ferrari will be circus”

8

Further to this, there were reports that Alonso’s setup was taken by Lewis on numerous occasions at the start of that season (can anyone shed any light on this?)… as a two-time WDC, how would you feel if a rookie was taking your setup and then giving you one helluva race? I’d be like, “hold on, let him find his own setup”. I don’t call that arrogance or being a primadonna, I call that being sensible in the cut-throat world of F1.

It’s why I think the relationship between Rubens and Jenson may not be as sweet as it seems… didn’t Jenson take Rubens’ setups when JB was strugling in Friday sessions and then he promptly blew everyone away in the race? Ruben’s sat there thinking (in essence), “I’ve set his car up and he keeps winning”.

It’s always difficult trying to balance the individual nature of the drivers, with the ethics of the team. It’s why designating a No 1 and a No 2 can be easier, but so much more boring.

9

Historically teams have ensured that data is shared between drivers. I remember reading that Johnny Herbert outqualified Schumacher when they were team mates and from that day on he was refused access to Schuey’s data but the same consideration was not reciprocated.

Also Mansell and Piquet (the other one) shared data in the Williams team, Mansell on occasion copying his WDC team mate although we don’t know if Piquet (the other one) ever followed his. However, one time Piquet (you know which one) did a bit of sandbagging – I think it was on active suspension – and Mansell was furious. He felt, it seems, that team mates should be just that.

Piquet (both of them) had his own morals it seems.

Sharing seems reasonable to me. After all, they both go testing, or used to, and that data was, of course, shared. I can undsrstand all bets being off once the flag drops but before then there has to be cooperation. If one team member has been brought in for his ability to set up a car then keeping it to himself seems a bit selfish.

Wasn’t Senna, in his early days, reluctant to have Warwick as his team mate? He felt that by sharing data with someone on par with him he’d have someone else to race. I never reckoned Warwick as a driver. Nice bloke and so very smooth, but lacked the killer instinct. Not something you can accuse Senna of.

To give Alonso his due, he never suggested that the equipment he was given, nor the information, was inferior of that given to Hamilton. All he ever said was that he wasn’t given proper number one status.

10

All of this No. 1/No. 2 business has always existed in F1. Tony Brooks to Stirling Moss to pick an old and obvious example. More obvious (than Schumi even), Lotus during the Clark/Chapman years. Everyone knows that Lotus couldn’t wouldn’t or didn’t support their second driver.

I’ve always felt this to be an artificial problem, another example of F1 refusing to honor simplicity. Someone PLEASE explain why F1 won’t take the two or more cars = two or more teams approach that EVERY race series in the U.S. has?

Yes, the Penske team is the Penske team, but each driver has separate pit crews etc. The guys on Castroneves team are trying their damnedest to beat the guys on Briscoe’s team. NASCAR same thing. The Hendrick team has five teams under that umbrella. Jeff Gordon is NOT going to defer to Jimmy Johnson. NHRA: John Force Racing isn’t a one car team: each car has its own crew, own driver, own garage, own pit stall, own set-ups.

Do they help each other overall? Sure. But each driver is Number One within their own particular team — subteam if you want to look at it that way. You get the same thing in endurance and sportscar racing. You get the same thing in motorcycle racing — even in MotoGP, F1’s two-wheel equivalent.

Do it that way and there’s no more of this ridiculous nonsense of “Number 1 status,” favoritism and “team orders.” The only order Roger Penske gives is, “don’t crash each other.” Each team within his team is racing the other flat out, from driver to tire changer.

Just having a different race engineer doesn’t cut it. So please explain why F1 can’t/won’t do this. I can’t fathom the argument that there’s not enough room in the pits, garages, etc. With the money Bernie has forced tracks to spend on pit facilities, the enormous garage spaces in the Tilkedromes; that argument makes no sense to me.

And none of this, “it’s faster and safer the way we do pit work in F1” business either. No limit to the number of crew used on a pitstop? Why? It’s no less prone to error, and, given the crowding, more dangerous than the IRL/USAC/CART/NASCAR seven man limit. And it doesn’t have to be faster: Pneumatic jacks have been built into racecars at least since AJ Watson introduced them to Indy in the 1950s. You mean all that superfine engineering talent can’t make a lightweight system for F1 (I assume that they’re all paranoid about extra weight, but come on!) especially since the cars are already full of pneumatic and hydraulic systems? The same pit box for each car, raising the issue of “queing” for stops — why? Why is this necessary?

Sorry to rant so far afield, but all this “Number 1” status stuff could be stuffed once and for all if F1 took up the “teams within a team” approach. “But in F1, you have to beat your teammate!” No kidding. It’s the same in every other form of racing. Those other drivers/riders are just given a truly equal chance to do so.

11

Someone needs to remember we are talking about a team here. A paticular setup doesn’t belong to a particular driver, it is a team asset for the teams benefit. Alonso was a big kid who couldn’t cope with being whipped (sorry Max, not your turn) by a rookie. His subsequent tantrums were truly pathetic. Without Alonso whining and losing the plot, McLaren could have had one of their most successful seasons ever.

12

“Someone”? 😉 Sure a team may have a baseline for the car; but each driver is different and may want different characteristics from a car… that may mean taking a different path away from the baseline, does it not?

I feel it’s why this season has been so unpredictable… in that, the baselines from previous “evolutionary” season(s) are no longer relevant to this years car, plus no testing, thus baselines are more difficult to find; next year, this seasons baselines will become relevant again, as there is less change in the regs for 2010.

I believe sharing data occurs and should do… however I’m not confident in saying it happens all the time. I would be upset if I felt I was doing all the setup work, only for my team-mate to beat me, with my setup… wouldn’t you?

P.S. If you believe Alonso was “whipped” that’s your opinion 😉 But I agree about Alonso’s tantrums though.

13

Jason, I respect your opinion, but I’m not sure Alonso is a primadonna; I feel that as he went to McLaren as a double world champion that perhaps he felt he’d get the majority of the focus and support.

It wasn’t clear who’d be in the second car, when he signed up… and then as Hamilton was a rookie, you wouldn’t expect such a strong start or entire season (everyone in the media seemed to be stunned by Hamilton’s pace and ability to maintain a championship challenge).

If I recall correctly Hamilton was upset in Monaco as the team asked him not to race Alonso; Lewis was upset by this… and the rest is history… mirky water over who said what and when etc. [Btw, I’m not blaming Lewis at all!]

My point is this: if Hamilton had raced as Heikki has (or if De La Rosa was in the car), then there would have been no issue between him and Alonso. I think McLaren and Alonso intially under-estimated Lewis’s ability in that car. [Note – I’m neither a fan of Lewis or Fernando; I’m a fan of F1 :-)]

As for Flavio’s protection… Renault did favour Alonso, that’s their way (or rather was ;-)).

14

James,

I asked for your response on your comment “Kimi in McLaren does not make sense when Hamilton is already there.” in your previous blog on this same subject. Even in this blog you again come out with the same idea saying it is “unncessary when Hamilton is fit” without giving any reasons. I request you again to explain why do you think Heikki-Lewis pairing has more chances of winning WDC/WCC for McLaren than Kimi-Lewis?

For most of the fans (perhaps experts) it is obvious Kimi-Lewis pairing has better chances for McLaren to win WCC and/or WDC consideirng the relative performances of Lewis, Heikki and Kimi. For some strange reason you seem to hold to the minority view that Heikki-Lewis has a better chance for WDC and WCC than Kimi-Lewis pairing (without even giving any logical explanation). As some of us have already noticed, you mostly downplay Kimi’s talent (for whatever reason) — does your present view fit into that perception?

I hope you’ll give a reply with the reason behind your view. Thanks.

15

I don’t think HK/LH would win the title where KR/LH wouldn’t. Where did I say that? My point is that the pairing of LH and KR seems a bit odd, it’s very expensive and I would have thought they’d put a really strong number two up with Hamilton. But if it’s Kimi then great, it will keep him at the sharp end of F1

16

James,

Yes, you did not say about HK/LH pairing at all. But I was presenting the argumetn from WDC/WCC point of view. Perhaps as WDC Hamilton is enough, but for WDC you definitely need a good second driver. As you ahve said, you expected someone very good but not of WDC material as the second driver. Mayeb that is a good way to go and that is why you said that pairing will be odd. And the other issue is cost. Well thanks for clearing it up.

As you have mentioned, KR will spur LH to do better and McLaren can then have more chances to win both WDC and WCC, which they haven’t done since I started watching F1 (about 8 years or so).

17

I’m in utter agreement James – it’s a very odd line up in terms of expense as Hamilton could rightly expect a significant payrise as well (consider the situation where an agreement was reached where Ferrari paid 1/2 his salary and McLaren the other half – from what I recall of the speculated salaries that would *still* mean McLaren alone paying Kimi more than Lewis currently!).

However, in terms of all the inane commments in the style of Hamilton getting his ass handed to him by Kimi or getting frustrated by competition, I somehow doubt that. They are both *superb* drivers. It’s all conjecture, but I reckon Kimi is faster over a lap, but Lewis is extremely close and is probably fractionally more consistent over a race distance.

I expect they’d work together fine, and would both relish it – the only reason the strong pairing of Alonso and Hamilton didn’t work last time was the suprise element for all parties about how close Hamilton’s performance was in his first season to Alonso, which I believe caused all the friction as it was a situation the management/Fernando (and possibly Lewis) didn’t really expect and were not expecting to have to handle.

So, in summary(!) I’d love to see Kimi/Lewis at McLaren next year and think it would work, but I would be very, very suprised, purely on the cost issue.

18

One thing no one brings up is that Kimi and Hamilton both like Oversteer in a car and Massa and Alonso the opposite… that can make life much easier on a team setting up the car the same way

19
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Maybe because:

a) wage bill for Hamilton and Kimi would be unnecessarily high

b) McLaren have learnt that they cannot control two strong drivers who expect equal status….e.g., Kimi-Montoya, Alonso-Hamilton

c) Hamilton is regarded as good enough to get the job done if given a competitive car

20

I am soooo sick of this speculation. I hope that Kimi leaves Ferrari with a wallet full of their cash and then blows them into the weeds next year in an exciting battle with Lewis for the WDC while Alonso and Massa compete for #1 status (remember their spat before the podium in 2007?). Mclaren would take him back in a heartbeat and will give him equal treatment to Lewis, given that Ron is out of the picture.

21

James,

I know this is off-topic again, but I can’t seem to find much anywhere on JB’s contract negoiations!

Can you shed any more light on this since I last asked? Or maybe do an article after doing some digging around in Singapore?

I don’t want to see another Damon Hill moment coming along!

22

Whatever one thinks of Mosley, you have to sometimes secretly admire his ability to consistently oust opponents.

F

23

I don’t get the whole Ferrari/Kimi thing. Great driver, great team but the whole thing hasn’t gelled. Some woefully mediocre performances throughout his Ferrari career.

Yes, I know he won the ’07 WDC but that was more because McLaren self-combusted (contentious, I know, but that’s how I see it).

Kimi is the highest paid guy in F1 by a huge margin and has provided spectacularly poor value for money. Ferrari need someone who can lead and has no questions hanging over their motivation. Alonso is that man.

Kimi in a McLaren makes sense now Ron’s gone. However is the Hamilton/McLaren relationship not very similar to the Massa/Ferrari one? I don’t buy that Kimi is as detatched as everyone says, environment effects him. Perhaps he doesn’t have the personality to fight his corner politically against a strong teammate?

24

I must say, I really like the idea of Hamilton and Raikkonen using the same equipment… assuming we have a competitive McLaren next year (and even with a ‘restricted’ Mercedes, I think we will), the pairing has a certain appeal, especially if they can beat Alonso… remember, no refuelling’s allowed next year, and the Ferrari is far from fuel efficient…

25

Raikonnen to McLaren and Alonso to Ferrari would be a line up which I would be quite happy with. I’m sure Raikonnen would be well capable of knocking a few spots off Hamilton and his personality is such that he’s pretty immune to the whole team gamesmanship stuff. It will only become disruptive for McLaren when Hamilton starts throwing his toys out of the basket.

Massa’s also shown himself to have the sort of personality that won’t be eclipsed by a self-styled superdriver (viz. Alonso) in that he’s partnered the very best (Schumacher, Raikonnen) and acquitted himself reasonably well.

While it might be nice for some of the more abrasive personalities (Alonso, Hamilton, Schumacher…) to have a team and teammate which operates to their beck and call, teams have to bite the bullet and realise that for their own sake they need both drivers to be capable of scoring serious points, particularly when the field is so close: McLaren now may be a much more harmonious unit than it was with Lewis+Fernando, but it has not hauled in 200 points.

26

The logical choice is to bring in Alonso in 2011. I think Luca maybe shooting his own foot again by declaring Massa’s position at this point of time. While most people are hopeful of Massa’s full recovery, there is still an element of risk. They offerred Kimi 2 years contract at Monza (a move which surprised many at that time) only to buy him out halfway?! Funny.

It is clear that Kimi is not the guy who wants to build the team around him. If this is Ferrari is looking for (another Shumi), Alonso is the right choice. Just one problem, Massa already think he is the new Shumi in the Ferrari family. No way he will play Rubens’ role, so we can expect problem in the Alonso/Massa pairing.

I think Ferrari is holding back a long train of drivers waiting to switch team. They should make up their mind fast and I hope Kimi will go back to McLaren if they drop him.

James, I read elsewhere that Kimi has signed an outlined agreement with McLaren to drive for them if he is released by Ferrari. Do you have any confirmation on that story? Another question, is Alonso still contracted to Renault in 2010?

If yes, then Ferrari will have to buy out Alonso’s contract too.

This is simply the best F1 blog, nice work. Thanks.

27

The contract extension which was published in 2008 Monza was only about 2010, not about 2009. The 2009 contract was announced in 2006.

28

No confirmation of that, no, but it seems to be the current thinking. Alonso is not contracted to Renault, as far as I know

29

Having long been a Raikkonen fan, I would not be disappointed to see him make way for Alonso next year, and for him to head back to McLaren, who are much more reliable now.

We all know McLaren love Lewis, but I doubt Kimi would be too fussed about that as long as he gets the same car…

That would set up a tremendous battle next year seeing Alonso/Massa vs Hamilton/Raikkonen vs Button/Rosberg(?) vs Vettel/Webber!

Let’s just let the inevitable happen and enjoy the fierce rivalries which would be built by these driver moves!

30

Are Ferrari frightened of allowing some other team to sign Alonso?

After the fraught time he had at McLaren when not being allowed number 1 status, one has to wonder if the delay has anything to do with contract negotiations.

Whilst we’ve all assumed that the accusations against the Renault team have delayed Ferrari’s decision, could it be that Alonso wanted to go to the table in a position of power.

He’s never been purer: he’s had a full valet, ear and nose hairs trimmed, eyebrows plucked and, whilst Rubens has gone for a seat fitting, Alonso has been measured for a halo.

I know nothing of the circumstances of his position in the Renault cheating but I have to say, given he is the main beneficiary of the conspiracy, to come away from the hearing without even his cologne being criticised is remarkable indeed. He is rampant. I’d guess he’s added a nought or two to his fee. And, more importantly for him, a paragraph or two to his contract.

It is probable that Santander has funded this move. They will want a degree of return commensurate with their investment. Where does this leave Massa? A contender last season, losing by just the one pitstop, he has the danger of being Irvined.

I like Massa. In fact my appreciation of the impressive way he took his defeat last season has, I believe, tainted my view of his ability. But even if intense dislike was my main emotion, I wouldn’t wish number 2 status on him.

Kimi to McLaren? It would suit him more than the team I think and it would suit McLaren quite a bit. But I wonder if he wants to compete against a top level driver. Mind you, his recent good form might boost his confidence.

But what of Hamilton’s contract? Has he got a say on who teams with him? It would appear to be the norm nowadays.

From a fan’s point of view, I’d love to see Kimi and Lewis head to head. No excuses, no teddies, no prams.

Now, what about Mosley going for Luca? That deserves some thought.

31

Maybe Luca is just trying to lower Kimi salary for 2011 if he eventually will stay at Ferrari.

32

Kimi being Kimi will never get good press from journalists for sure except for a couple of decent ones.

I just hope Monty announce Massa & Alonso asap.

Kimi to be liberated soon! Go Kimi!!!

33

This is very frustrating. Ferrari is being very rude to both drivers. In particular Raikkonen who helped secure one wdc and 2 wcc. They need to let them know. This is very frustrating. If you dont want Raikkonen, pay him and let him go back to McLaren where he should be.

34

James,

Can Ferrari try to block Kimi from returning to McLaren to make sure they don’t have to face embarassment next year in case he is in top form? After all they do owe him a lot of $$$$ and might write that in….

35

Wouldn’t think so

36

Good news! Now hopefully Kimi can return home to Mclaren. He and Lewis will make a killer pair. It would be quite amusing it Ferrari are paying Kimi’s salary next year, so that he can drive for Mclaren, and it will be even more amusing if Kimi and Lewis manage to win both titles.

37

As much as I find Mosely bizarre, I do admire his tenacity and ability to remove old egotistical school ties from F1 – and those old ties strangely remind me of Mosely himself in that very respect.

The language and demeanor of the Briatore’s of this world make it a better place once they are dethroned because they have become too delusional with power and truly believe themselves to be above the law – very much like Margaret Thatcher towards the end of her tenure in Government.

It strikes me that Montezemolo is also a man who is clearly delusional with power – so if Max could remove him from office before the final race then I think we could honestly say it will have been Max’s most productive year in F1 as he closes the door on himself as well so as to put the icing on the cake.

The only thing worrying me is that if all these colourful characters are removed from F1 then we’ll be left with nothing but racing to talk about. Maybe Max will have the sense to realise this and consider dating Katie Price once the F1 dream is over.

38

I think Hamilton and Kimi could work fine. Kimi’s typical nonchalance regarding teammates seems to make for a stable environment.

I guess though James, you might be concerned about Kimi occasionally taking points off Hamilton in the title race? I could understand that because it’s cost the best team a drivers title in many years before (86, 07 to name two). Is that the main issue?

39

I’m not concerned, may the best man win

40

My guess is that LdM is trying to negotiate a situation where Kimi takes next year off and doesn’t go straight to a competitive team.

Echoing an earlier comment, I would like to see Kimi at Williams; I think they’ll come good next year and they won’t be fazed by ice cream.

Also, Rosberg somewhere else to see just how good he actually is.

41

I have to agree that while I’ll be happy (and hoping!) for Massa to come back all fit, it’s dangerous to assume that he will. By way of example, Steve Park was a rising star in NASCAR, driving for Rousch team as I recall. He crashed and suffered head and brain injuries. He tried to come back, ran at least a few races in the lower divisions, but disappeared from the scene. Poor guy had slurred speech and what at least appeared to be some facial paralysis. Daytona 500 winner Earnie Irvin also had his career cut short by head injuries; he also tried to come back but was unable to operate at the level he needed.

There’s no sign that FM is that bad off, but still, the precedent is there. Ferrari should keep Kimi. I think they SHOULD run three cars, but in the way Frank Williams and Patrick Head have suggested, get a young guy in rather than try to run a superteam.

Then again, I REALLY enjoyed all those 1-2-3 finishes the Penske team got here in the mid-’90s with Unser, Fitipaldi and Tracy… but that’s my favorite race team, so I would. I’d love to see the Captain & Company back in F1, too, but I don’t think it will happen without a US round in the Championship. Meanwhile, GO USF1.

42

Steve Park first crashed in 1998, his main injury being his pelvis.He was driving for Dale Earnhardt. He recovered to actually win a race for that team in the Cup series. But he was released by D.E.I.His head injuries came in a freak accident driving for Ted Marsh.Although he still races today,this accident did indeed cause him to fade from the scene.Felipe Massa cannot have another accident,and in Formula One this is not possible. That is why they make so much money. It takes time to heal,it could kill him.I do not want to tune in and see that.I hope I am wrong,Felipe brings a lot,but I don’t hold out much hope for his return.Prove me wrong, Mr. Massa,I don’t mind,but I don’t expect to see him on the grid for his own safety.

43

Thanks for the correction. I agree. I really don’t want to see a tragedy.

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