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1 Michael Schumacher (Ger) Age 27. Grands prix 69. Wins 19. Championships 2

2 Eddie Irvine (N Ire) Age 30. GP 32. Wins 0.

For all their investment and the arrival of Schumacher, the Italian team say they do not expect to challenge for the world title this season and teething problems with the new car appear to justify their caution. With the German world champion on board, however, anything is possible and they should become a force to be reckoned with by the end of the year.


3 Jean Alesi (Fr) Age 31. GP 102. Wins 1.

4 Gerhard Berger (Aut) Age 36. GP 180. Wins 9.

They have proved themselves an excellent team, but how dependent have they been on Schumacher's leadership and inspiration? We are about to find out. The team declare themselves ready to meet the challenge and Alesi certainly is. He has the pace, the courage and a genuine title chance. He looks hungrier than his partner, but perhaps Berger has been cannily deceptive.


5 Damon Hill (GB) Age 35. GP 51. Wins 13.

6 Jacques Villeneuve (Can) Age 24. Debut season.

Frank Williams' team again have the best car and, they promise, have sharpened their teamwork for this season. Hill also seems better prepared and knows that he may never have a better - if, indeed, another - opportunity to grasp the world drivers' championship. Villeneuve, the IndyCar champion, is winning admirers, but is not expected to win the Formula One title first time out.


7 Mika Hakkinen (Fin) Age 27. GP 63. Wins 0.

8 David Coulthard (GB) Age 24. GP 25. Wins 1.

A team under pressure and needing to deliver. They have not won in the past two seasons and their main sponsors are said to be growing impatient. Mercedes, too, are anxious to see an upturn in fortunes. Hakkinen, if fully fit, should be one of the fastest in the field and will provide a stern test of Coulthard's potential.


9 Olivier Panis (Fr) Age 29. GP 33. Wins 0.

10 Pedro Diniz (Bra) Age 25. GP 17. Wins 0.

Despite the leadership and expertise of Tom Walkinshaw, the team appears to be drifting with little prospect of going anywhere.


11 Rubens Barrichello (Bra) Age 23. GP 48. Wins 0.

12 Martin Brundle (GB) Age 36. GP 142. Wins 0.

A big season for the Silverstone operation. New sponsors have given them the funds to back their declared intention of achieving their first grand prix win this year.


14 Johnny Herbert (GB) Age 31. GP 80. Wins 2.

15 Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Ger) Age 28. GP 32. Wins 0.

A team facing the prospect of limbo. They lose their Ford deal to Stewart next season, but have an outstanding talent in Frentzen.


16 Jos Verstappen (Neth) Age 24. GP 15. Wins 0.

17 Ricardo Rosset (Bra) Age 27. GP 0. Wins 0 .

Few teams are as consistent. Year after year they produce virtually nothing, and this year you can bet they will produce virtually nothing.


18 Ukyo Katayama (Japan) Age 32. GP 62. Wins 0.

19 Mika Salo (Fin) Age 29. GP 19. Wins 0.

Another team seemingly stuck in a mid-field groove and needing fresh momentum. Salo has talent but Katayama is not a man to put your mortgage on.


20 Pedro Lamy (Por) Age 23. GP 16. Wins 0.

21 Giancarlo Fisichella (It) Age 23. GP 0. Wins 0.

A team always short of cash, always limping along, and there is little prospect of a change for the better this season.


22 Andrea Montermini (It) Age 31. GP 17. Wins 0.

23 Luca Badoer (It) Age 25. GP 29. Wins 0.

Surprised a lot of people by surviving for a second season, but perhaps they merely have a stay of execution.


March 10: Australia (Melbourne): 31: Brazil (Interlagos). April: 7: Argentina (Buenos Aires): 28: Europe (Nurburgring). May: 5: San Marino (Imola): 19: Monaco (Monte Carlo). June: 2: Spain (Barcelona): 16: Canada (Montreal): 30: France (Magny-Cours): July: 14: Britain (Silverstone): 28: Germany (Hockenheim). August: 11: Hungary (Budapest): 25: Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps). September: 8: Italy (Monza): 22: Portugal (Estoril). October: 13: Japan (Suzuka).