Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013

Drivers to pick ‘career numbers’ next year

2014 F1 seasonPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Formula One drivers will select race numbers which they will retain for the rest of their careers from next season.

Drivers will be given the choice of numbers between 2 and 99 from next year.

The number one will remain for special use of the reigning world champion, if they choose to use it. Where two drivers choose the same number, whoever finished highest in the championship will have first preference.

This is the first change to the numbering system for Formula One cars since 1996, when the current system based on the constructors’ championship finishing positions was introduced.

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Image ?? Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

150 comments on “Drivers to pick ‘career numbers’ next year”

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  1. Hhmm I wonder what number Vettel will use…

    1. Easy, he will have a career no1.

      1. Ben Wilkinson
        10th December 2013, 9:08

        Vettel will be able to choose number 1 simply bcos he is in the red bull of speed

    2. And Webber should choose 13

      1. Why? He’s not running in F1 next season.

        So if your 13 was a joke, it falls a bit flat as Webber having a ‘career number’ in F1 has no relevance.

        1. dw, freaking smartass…

  2. The question on everybody’s minds is… Who will pick 69?

    1. Honorary number reserved for James Hunt.

      1. Nope it’s Maldonad’s, so that we can read it even when he’s turned upside down.

        1. Fantastic suggestion :)

        2. @magon4 Wouldn’t that be Webber?

        3. COTD, anyone? xD

        4. BRAVO.

        5. We have a winner! XD

        6. So very winning.

        7. You Sir, made my day

        8. Hahahahahahaha

        9. Omg, can’t stop laughing at that one!

        10. Or, it could be Grosjean. For the same reason

    2. No, no, no, the most important question is who will pick 42? :)

      1. Mickey Mouse.

      2. You’ll get that answer in 6 million years.

        1. Phew! I was beginning to think no F1 fans read Douglas Adams!

      3. Would be my number, sponsored by Megadodo Publications.

    3. Max Chilton if he is still in and he is holding up all the front runners when they try lapping him

      1. W (@yesyesyesandyesagain)
        9th December 2013, 20:49

        Chilton should get 99

        1. 99 problems but a win ain’t one.

          1. hahahahah +1

          2. A killer! +1 haha

  3. I don’t think this is good idea either, but at least it’s not as bad decision as the double points in the final race.

    1. I actually like it, if you think this will be like motogp, it will be a lot easier to identify the drivers, furthermore, in my point of view if personal sponsors are allowed, numbers will have different colours, and therefore little differences in the livery within the team. So at the moment I like the idea, lets see how it works

      1. Who identifies drivers by unreadable numbers?

        1. Presumably a change in how numbers are displayed on cars will come into effect with this rule. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t

          1. Here in the States, people do identify with the numbers for NASCAR…I see 3, 24, and 88 all over the place, mostly small stickers on the backs of peoples cars. I think that’s Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhart, but I’m not 100% sure, not that into Nascar. I think this is a marketing ploy really. A driver will be identified with a number, and then they can sell stickers and what not to be like NASCAR…Although, the changing numbers don’t really mean anything either, so I don’t really personally care if they change the system.

      2. There’s only 2 drivers per team.
        Most teams have very different livery from other teams.
        Most drivers have very different helmets.
        Who exactly has trouble identifying them?
        More to the point – what good are numbers unless you know which drivers are associated with those numbers anyway?

        All that aside though, not a terrible idea. Certainly not the worst decision they FIA have made of late…

        1. Hi @nick101, lots of people have difficulty identifying things by fine-detail colour patterns. About 8% of white (so called “Caucasian”) males have some degree of colour vision impairment. Personally, I find it very difficult to tell some of the cars apart. Big numbers on them would be great. Dynamic augmented reality overlays would be better (as has been used for many years in some US oval racing TV broadcasts).

    2. I think it’s a good idea. Now I only need to buy a new shirt/hat when my fav. driver changes teams.

      1. That’s what i had in mind

  4. I’m not a huge fan of this, although I still think it’s an improvement of the current system where the numbers potentially change every year. I would’ve preferred to see F1 go back to the pre-1996 system, where the teams kept the same numbers apart from when the championship was won.

    1. @jackysteeg most important part, they have to make them readable, whatever the number. You can easily adjust your memory to new number every year and recognize drivers IF you can see the number on their car (not really the case now)

  5. Unlucky ol’ Mark Webber definitely would have definitely deserved #13.

    1. Give #13 to JEV for mechanical failure or to Hulkenberg for being overlooked by top teams. I see some kind of quarrel for numbers before the season.

    2. No, #2 would have been more appropriate.

      1. @david-a

        No, #2 would have been more appropriate.

        That number should have been reserved for Massa.

        1. #2 is honorary number reserved to Barrichello

        2. #2 is for Webber. Cause it’s never too bad for a #2 driver.

      2. No.

        21 would have been appropriate fro Webber had he stayed, because then he could run it ‘multi’ times, lol.

    3. @thrillerwa09 I would so pick #13. I’d start a racing career now and try to get to F1 just to pick #13. If someone picks it, I’ll be rooting for him the rest of my life.

      1. #13 will be used by FdC for testing and for 2015!

    4. Safety cars #13

  6. Love this idea. This is a good one.

  7. I’ll let them keep this idea so long as:

    a) Drivers aren’t EVER allowed to change
    b) They also have to keep the same helmet design

    1. @tonyyeb yes to a) no to b)

      While I don’t like drivers changing their helmet design over and over again (I’m looking at you Seb!), I’d not inforce them not to change it. Maybe now that they’ll be able to use their number forever, they can add it to their design, like Kimi did in the past 2 years.

      1. I like the idea of some specialty one-off helmet designs. Yes they can become atrocious like HAM’s MJ helmet at the USGP this year, but in general, it’s a good thing.

        1. Alonso’s Indian GP helmet :)

  8. Of course, no word on what happens when a driver is out of F1, if someone returns wanting to use an active number (highest in the last driver standings? Does this mean Raikkonen could have 7 in 2013 and Ricciardo could have it in 2014 still?) or what happens with copyright, numbers on cars or entry lists.

    Great stuff. I’m glad the season is over, I’m actually annoyed enough to boycott the next race, but I’ll probably give F1 2014 a chance.

    1. A returning driver with have zero points. In football terms, he wont even have a goal difference. How ever you rank drivers, a returning driver will be behind a current driver. There for current driver keeps the car number.

      1. So when legends like Kimi or Schumacher make comebacks they won’t get their historic numbers back if some other s?

        That seems like something you’d want to fix.

  9. I hope Ferrari choose 27 and 28 again.

    1. What an absolute delusion it will be if they don’t

      1. Could you help enlighten me on the reason behind it please? I am not aware of their history as much as I would like to.

        1. I believe they always had those numbers before, like when Gilles Villeneuve was driving for them.

        2. @evered7
          The numbers 27 & 28 has been Ferrari’s numbers from 1981 to 1995 except in 1990 when Alain Prost the reigning world champion used the n°1 and Nigel Mansel used n°2, well in fact Ferrari didn’t have much choice to change it during these years because they didn’t won the championship since 1983, the number 27 has been carried by Patrick Tombay, Michele Alboreto, Nigel Mansell ,Jean Alesi(an F1 legend for the tifosi) but the driver who has been associated the most with the number 27 is Ferrari’s most popular driver Gilles Villeneuve who carried it until his final days in F1
          Another thing is that when Ferrari used the number 1 & number 2 in 1990 the n° 27 was used by another legend of the sport who was also very popular for the tifosi : Ayrton Senna who won the WDC that year

    2. @Tim-m – The drivers will choose the numbers, not the teams.

      1. Ahh, too bad then.

    3. FlyingLobster27
      9th December 2013, 20:47

      Only it isn’t Ferrari who choose the numbers, it’s the drivers, and the spirit is that they keep those numbers “for life”. If Ferrari want to keep 27 and 28, they’d have to employ rookies forever more once Kimi and Fernando are gone. An IndyCar or NASCAR system, in which the teams book the numbers, would have allowed what you’d like.

    4. They won’t though. Imagine Alonso picks #27; that would mean they would lose the number (for ever?) after next season, probably. Better keep that for a long term prospect. They probably can too – I don’t think any of the current drivers would have the balls to just grab 27.

    5. Alonso will probably choose 14 as his personal number.
      The numbers belongs to the driver for their entire F1 career so, little probability to see Ferrari with the 27 & 28 numbers on their cars.

  10. Brilliant decision, I’ve been saying they should do this for years.

    It’s rare these days drivers are allowed to express themselves. Hopefully we’ll see numbers become synonymous with drivers again, adding a little more mystique, like Valentino Rossi’s #46, and some interesting and fun visual designs associated with them. Plus it’ll make the drivers easier to recognise and differentiate between.

    I wonder if Fernando or Kimi will choose #27… I’d love to see it on a modern Ferrari.

    1. I wonder if Vettel will choose 27 (but keep using 1) just to wind them up…

      It would come in handy if he ever decides to go to Ferrari, of course.

  11. Don’t particularly like this either but compared to the farce regarding double points this seems completely sane and uncontroversial.

  12. Wonderfull news, never really cared about this before but it works fine in motorcycle racing so why shouldn’t it work in F1. I’m more shocked about the dummy rules concerning double points for the last race.

  13. Why people are complaining is beyond me, it gives more to the driver, take Rossi for example, first thing you think of when you think of Rossi is 46 and also the other way around well at least for me I think of Rossi when I hear 46. Good move unlike double points for the last race which is just ridiculous

    1. I don’t get it either. As near as I can tell, the biggest problem people have is that drivers like Adrian Sutil might not be able to keep their favourite numbers if they leave the sport and then return.

      There are 22 drivers and 98 numbers available. I doubt Sutil is losing sleep over which number he picks.

    2. I like motoGP and have watched “the Doctor” since his 125 days but the only number in MotoGP I remember belongs to the Kentucky Kid.

      1. @HoHum – It’s one of the more evocative (and provocative) numbers.

  14. Vettel will have monopoly on 1, who are we kidding

  15. This is another bad decision by the FIA, but it isn’t in the same league as… I can’t bring myself to say it… Double Points. I can see it becoming a mess with some drivers retiring numbers. What if one driver comes back and their number is taken? There are no issues whatsoever with the former system. There was no need to change it, but the FIA seem to like changing things for change’s sake.

    I’m royally hacked off after hearing what the FIA have done today.

    1. @deej92 – I would imagine that if a driver left the sport and returned to find their number taken, then that’s tough luck. It begs the question of why they left in the first place; if it’s a driver like Chilton, then it’s not worth getting worked up over. If it’s a driver like Raikkonen and his number is that important to him, then he should not have left in the first place, and it speaks volumes to his character if he makes a fuss over it.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys That’s very true. My main point is just that the old system was so easy and I don’t think a change was necessary. I always thought personal numbers were a bit naff. I liked seeing the lower numbers being rewarded to the teams who earnt it. It’ll just take some time for me to warm to this system.

        1. @deej92 – It might seem like a minor thing to change the number system, but I think it could be exactly what the sport needs. One of the bigger complaints in recent years has been that the drivers lack personality, and so a personalised number gives the drivers the chance to project some of themselves into the car. I suspect most drivers will pick a number that is important to them; like, for example, the number that was on the first go-kart that they raced. That can only be a good thing.

      2. Or if it’s a driver like Hulkenberg, it’s because he has no sponsors behind him.

        @deej92 I completely agree :(

  16. This is a good thing, but frankly, if the numbers on the cars are as small as they currently are, this really makes no difference.

  17. How often is it possible for those actually attending a race to see a number on the side of a car? Not very from my experience.
    There should be a minimum size for them.

    1. @ragwort – The FIA has pushed for that, but there has been no word as to whether it is happening. The teams don’t like it because it means losing space that could go to sponsors.

  18. This has great scope to really annoy someone like Hamilton who might lose out on a Senna number to someone in a better car.

    I wholeheartedly agree, but only if drivers have the option to look at the final list and switch numbers to annoy someone else.

    1. There is only Vettel and Fernando who can take a potential number choice away from him (these are the only two current drivers who finished ahead of him).

  19. I’m not really too pleased about this. As I said in the forum, I’ve never had any trouble identifying drivers, and even if for some reason, I do, then the commentary team or on-screen graphics are quick enough to tell me. There is just no need for this, and there are plenty more significant issues to address than something as trivial as this.

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