Motor racing: Class of 99: Your starter for ten

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Mika Hakkinen

Finnish, Age 30

Starts: 112; Poles: 10

Wins: 9; Points: 218

World Champion 1998

Favourite for championship following last year's success

David Coulthard

Scottish, 27

Starts: 74; Poles: 8

Wins: 4; Points: 173

Nice guy who needs more arrogance to win in what could be his last year at McLaren


Michael Schumacher

German, 30

Starts: 118; Poles: 20

Wins: 33; Points: 526

World Champion 1994, 1995

Yardstick by which others are judged; fast and ruthless

Eddie Irvine

British, 33

Starts: 81; Poles: 0

Wins: 0; Points: 99

Wants his share of the limelight after playing second fiddle to Schumacher since 1996


Ralf Schumacher

German, 23

Starts: 33; Poles: 0

Wins: 0; Points: 27

Showed great speed in 1998 and poised to become a serious contender

Alex Zanardi

Italian, 32

Starts: 25; Poles: 0

Wins: 0; Points: 1

CART Champion 1997, 1998

Returns to F1 with reputation as most charismatic racer


Damon Hill

British, 38

Starts: 100; Poles: 20

Wins: 22; Points: 353

World Champion 1996

Seasoned veteran - proved a point scoring Jordan's first win

Heinz-Harald Frentzen

German, 31

Starts: 74; Poles: 1

Wins: 1; Points: 88

Once touted as `faster than Schumacher', failed miserably in two years at Williams


Giancarlo Fisichella

Italian, 26

Starts: 41; Poles: 1

Wins: 0; Points: 36

Initial promise not been fully tapped. Capable of great things in right circumstances

Alexander Wurz

Austrian, 25

Starts: 19; Poles: 0

Wins: 0; Points: 21

Quick, sensible and a thinker, looked great initially but form went off after shunts last year


Jean Alesi

French, 34

Starts: 151; Poles: 2

Wins: 1; Points: 234

Alesi is the great untapped talent of F1. Fast, ebullient and still equipped for glory

Pedro Diniz

Brazilian, 28

Starts: 66; Poles: 0

Wins: 0; Points: 7

No longer an easy target after outqualifying team-mates such as Hill and Salo at Arrows


Johnny Herbert

British, 34

Starts: 129; Poles: 0

Wins: 2; Points: 83

Perennial happy chappy, Herbert is just what Stewart needs to drive the team forward

Rubens Barrichello

Brazilian, 26

Starts: 97; Poles: 1

Wins: 0; Points: 56

Rated very highly by a few, underrated by most, Barrichello is a star who lost his way


Olivier Panis

French, 32

Starts: 75; Poles: 0

Wins: 1; Points: 54

May have given up at times in a difficult car last season - this year could be his last hurrah

Jarno Trulli

Italian, 24

Starts: 30; Poles: 0

Wins: 0; Points: 4

Suffered a poor car last year, but capable of springing big surprises in the right machine


Jacques Villeneuve

Canadian, 27

Starts: 49; Poles: 13

Wins: 11; Points: 180

World Champion 1997

A definite winner in the right car, but will this be it?

Ricardo Zonta

Brazilian, 22

Starts: 0; Poles: 0

Wins: 0; Points: 0

Rated very highly by McLaren as their tester, may raise a few

eyebrows in his first season


Mika Salo

Finnish, 31

Starts: 68; Poles: 0

Wins: 0; Points: 15

If he doesn't get replaced at the last minute by Tora Takagi, expect Salo to push hard

Pedro De la Rosa

Spanish, 28

Starts: 0; Poles: 0

Wins: 0; Points: 0

Do nice guys make it? His speed won him the Japanese F3000 series in 1997


7 March: Australian GP (Melbourne)

11 April: Brazilian GP (Sao Paulo)

2 May: San Marino GP (Imola)

16 May: Monaco GP (Monaco)

31 May: Spanish GP (Barcelona)

13 June: Canadian GP (Montreal)

27 June: French GP (Magny Cours)

11 July: British GP (Silverstone)

25 July: Austrian GP (Spielberg)

1 August: German GP (Hockenheim)

15 August: Hungarian GP (Budapest)

29 August: Belgian GP (Spa-Francorchamps)

12 September: Italian GP (Monza)

26 September: European GP (Nurburgring)

17 October: Malaysian GP (Kuala Lumpur)

31 October: Japanese GP (Suzuka)

*Argentinian GP cancelled