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Until very recently, the English Football Premier League has been dominated by 'the big four', Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. It now seems that Formula One, for 2010 at least, will be led by four frontrunning teams. In the first of a three-part season preview, we take a look at the drivers competing for the title.

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
McLaren will be looking to return to their former glory after a difficult 2009 season. It recovered well from a nightmare start. The team has looked more promising in testing, and has brought in world champion Jenson Button to replace Heikki Kovalainen.

1. Jenson Button
In order to retain his crown, Jenson will have to beat his teammate, which won't be easy seeing as he is the newcomer into the team. He will be consistent, but could lack the outright speed to keep his title. Prediction: 4th

2. Lewis Hamilon
Lewis was proud of the way he and the team bounced back from the poor start to 2009 to take two victories before the end of the season, and will have improved as a driver as a result. The fact that Lewis is settled in at McLaren will give him an advantage. Prediction: 1st

Mercedes GP Petronas
Mercedes has bought last year's championship winning team Brawn GP, giving it the much needed investment to proceed. Theoretically there should be no reason why it can't retain its titles, despite a change of drivers, but the competition has raised the bar.

3. Michael Schumacher
What do I say? As much as it's nice to see Schumacher back, he will have to work hard to return to his winning ways, with the level of competition having improved considerably since his retirement. Prediction: 5th

4. Nico Rosberg
Rosberg has always been expected to replace Barrichello at Brawn, but wouldn't have expected to be overshadowed by a fellow German. Nonetheless, it is a step up from Williams and has the opportunity to fulfill his potential. Prediction: 8th

Red Bull Racing
The team made great strides last year, being the only team to consistently challenge Brawn. This year, Red Bull will be looking to take the championship crown and cement their position as a leading team. They are the only team with an unchanged driver line-up from this time last year.

5. Sebastian Vettel
The young German showed last year that he is one of the best drivers out there. This year the target from the start will be to win the title. He has gained experience and should be right there at the end of the season. Prediction: 3rd

6. Mark Webber
Webber finally won races last year, but this year he must make a quick start or risk becoming support for his younger teammate. Is he on the same level as the Alonsos, Hamiltons and Massas? Prediction: 7th

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
Ferrari gave up on 2009 after a poor start, in order to gain an advantage for 2010, and so it must show this on the track and win races from the off. People will be looking to see how the Alonso-Massa pairing will work.

7. Felipe Massa
Felipe showed himself to be faster than his old teammate Raikkonen in 2008 and the start of 2009, before he was taken out of action by his Hungary accident. His primary concern at the start of the season will be getting the better of his new teammate. Prediction: 5th

8. Fernando Alonso
The man considered by many to be the best driver on the grid makes a return to a competitive car after two years spent mostly in the midfield with Renault. It looks like he has already settled well into the team. Prediction: 2nd

Part Two of the season preview will take a look at the midfield battle.

Picture Credit: Slitz
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