Drivers to pick ‘career numbers’ next year

2014 F1 season

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

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  1. carbon_fibre (@carbon_fibre) said on 9th December 2013, 19:25

    Hhmm I wonder what number Vettel will use…

  2. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 9th December 2013, 19:25

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

  3. Diceman (@diceman) said on 9th December 2013, 19:26

    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.

    • 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

      • mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 9th December 2013, 21:41

        Who identifies drivers by unreadable numbers?

        • cjpdk (@cjpdk) said on 9th December 2013, 23:19

          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

          • 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.

      • Nick (@nick101) said on 9th December 2013, 23:36

        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…

        • TribalTalker (@tribaltalker) said on 10th December 2013, 13:05

          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).

    • Lou (@l-ciamp) said on 12th December 2013, 3:57

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

  4. JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 9th December 2013, 19:26

    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.

    • Jeanrien (@jeanrien) said on 10th December 2013, 14:46

      @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. ThrillerWA09 (@thrillerwa09) said on 9th December 2013, 19:27

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

  6. magon4 (@magon4) said on 9th December 2013, 19:28

    Love this idea. This is a good one.

  7. tonyyeb (@tonyyeb) said on 9th December 2013, 19:31

    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

  8. Nick (@npf1) said on 9th December 2013, 19:31

    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.

    • 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.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 10th December 2013, 1:13

        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. Tim M (@tim-m) said on 9th December 2013, 19:37

    I hope Ferrari choose 27 and 28 again.

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 9th December 2013, 20:04

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

      • evered7 (@evered7) said on 9th December 2013, 21:03

        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.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 9th December 2013, 21:16

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

        • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 9th December 2013, 22:37

          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

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th December 2013, 20:13

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

    • FlyingLobster27 said on 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.

    • Meander (@meander) said on 9th December 2013, 21:34

      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.

    • IDR (@idr) said on 10th December 2013, 7:32

      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. Zazeems (@zazeems) said on 9th December 2013, 19:38

    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.

  11. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 9th December 2013, 19:39

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

  12. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 9th December 2013, 19:43

    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. bezza695 (@bezza695) said on 9th December 2013, 20:00

    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

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

  15. Deej92 (@deej92) said on 9th December 2013, 20:13

    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.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th December 2013, 21:43

      @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.

      • Deej92 (@deej92) said on 9th December 2013, 23:47

        @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.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th December 2013, 23:54

          @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.

      • Strontium (@strontium) said on 10th December 2013, 20:24

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

        @deej92 I completely agree :(

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