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Number crunching at the FIA

THE Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) has published its official entry list for the 1996 Formula 1 World Championship and those with an eye for tradition are going to be upset.

Next year F1 cars will have a completely new numbering system, based on the Constructors' World Championship results of 1995. Traditionally the winning driver has taken number 1 but the other teams have kept the same numbers. But in 1996 Tyrrell will no longer be numbers 3 and 4 - numbers which the Tyrrells have run since 1974 - and Ligier, the proud owners of numbers 25 and 26 throughout the team's entire history, will also have to get used to new numbers.

The full entry list is as follows. It should be noted, however, that the drivers can be changed up until 6pm Thursday March 7.

1 Michael Schumacher (D) Scuderia Ferrari

2 Eddie Irvine (GB) Scuderia Ferrari

3 Jean Alesi (F) Mild Seven Benetton-Renault

4 Gerhard Berger (A) Mild Seven Benetton-Renault

5 Damon Hill (GB) Rothmans Williams-Renault

6 Jacques Villeneuve (CDN) Rothmans Williams-Renault

7 Mika Hakkinen (SF) Marlboro McLaren-Mercedes

8 David Coulthard (GB) Marlboro McLaren-Mercedes

9 To be nominated Equipe Ligier Gauloises Blondes

10 To be nominated Equipe Ligier Gauloises Blondes

11 Rubens Barrichello (BR) Total Jordan Peugeot

12 Martin Brundle (GB) Total Jordan Peugeot

14 To be nominated Red Bull Sauber-Ford

15 Heinz-Harald Frentzen (D) Red Bull Sauber-Ford

16 To be nominated (Sponsor) Footwork (Engine)

17 To be nominated (Sponsor) Footwork (Engine)

18 To be announced Tyrrell-Yamaha

19 Mika Salo (SF) Tyrrell-Yamaha

20 To be announced Minardi Scuderia Italia

21 To be announced Minardi Scuderia Italia

22 To be announced Forti Grand Prix Racing

23 To be announced Forti Grand Prix Racing

It is worth noting that Tyrrell has dropped Nokia from its title sponsorship, suggesting that the Finnish telecommunications company is not putting in as much sponsorship money in 1996 as they did this year. There is a similar suggestion in Forti switching from Parmalat Forti Ford to Forti Grand Prix Racing.

Arrows which still has to be known as Footwork, despite the fact that the Japanese company is no longer involved, has not revealed its engine supplier, although we know that a deal is done with Brian Hart. This suggests that the team is hoping to secure an engine-badging deal with a motor manufacturer. The team is also hoping to announce a title sponsor for the team.

Another point of interest is that Minardi has retained its Scuderia Italia tag, despite the fact that Scuderia Italia's Beppe╩Lucchini is no longer involved in the operation.

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