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. I like this change, it will greatly increase the marketing power and opportunities for F1, the teams, and the driver.

  2. So if Fernando and Kimi become 27 and 28, the numbers will move with them if they move teams…

    Would have preferred the numbers to be allocated to teams, not drivers (NASCAR and Indycar style).

  3. I, for the life of me, can’t see why people have a problem with this. The number thing can become part of a legends story. Rossi will forever be associated with 46 for example. But he changed his helmets to reflect his personality, his sense of humour, his creativity, or what was happening in his life at the time. But 46 always stayed true, I think that this worked in perfect harmony.

  4. Can I assume that last year’s championship order will be the order current drivers pick there numbers in? Constructor order for rookies?
    Also if Vettel chooses 1 will he also pick his “normal” number now or wait until he needs it.
    To make it worthwhile they need to get a large enough number on either side of the car, the nose and possibly the drivers surname on the back of the rear wing beam. As im guessing this is to try and aide recognisability of drivers.

    1. Vettel will probably pick his normal number at the same time as he decides whether to use the number 1 or not. The FIA would need to know what number to put in reserve for him.

  5. Surprised people are so against this. I think it’s a great idea and gives drivers more of an identity. When I think of Nigel Mansell, I think of a red number 5. When I think of Hamilton, there isn’t anything iconic that springs to mind.

    When Hamilton moved from McLaren to Mercedes, there was nothing of Hamilton on the car. If his number moved with him, there would be something that marked him apart.

    The FIA need to take this further IMO and stipulate that the numbers have to be a minimum size. They need to be visible on the cars.

  6. I Hope Hamilton or Button pick 22.

    1. @harvs Hamilton has the priority here (chooses the one with most points). He would try to repeat “the history of the number” when he went from 22 to 1 in 2008.

      1. Maybe they will chose #22 or #12..

        #22 – champions number;
        #12 – a “Senna” number for Hamilton;
        #12 – 1st victory number for Button

  7. I can’t really give a flying fig one way or the other about the virtually invisible numbers but this is just another example of FIA/FOM looking to copy something from other series as a quick fix but as usual they ignore the real reason for the other series popularity – good wheel to wheel racing.

    With the help of PDVSA Maldonado will buy a better number than he deserves, assuming Lotus can maintain their current form.

    1. @hohum – Read the article again. It clearly says that drivers will choose their numbers in WDC order, not WCC. And you are also assuming that Maldonado would want a number that another driver would want.

      You claim that this is a specious move by the FIA, but to be perfectly honest, that argument that you made is just as specious.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys, you are assuming that Maldonado wouldn’t score any more points driving a Lotus than he would a Caterham, which is where he could expect to be if he did not have PDVSA backing, read my comment again.

        1. No, @prisoner-monkeys is right. Maldonado picks his number NOW for next year so he is 18th on the list. It doesn’t matter how much money he gets next year. He is third to bottom this year, and thats what counts for number choice.

  8. Well good idea…. for marketing. As I Ferrari fan I would like a cap with the permanent number of Kimi or Alonso.

  9. This is OK, especially compared to other proposed changes. I like this idea, kind of a throwback.

  10. It’s a silly change but who cares anyway, it doesn’t make any real difference.

    The sad thing is that purists will think “oh wow a romantic throwback to when Ferrari had 27/28 and Villeneuve and curly driver writing and red 5 and everything…” Realists meanwhile will know that drivers won’t give a hoot, Alonso will take 3. Why? Because Santander’s new 3-2-1 account lets you blah, blah…

    1. @joshgeake – I think that’s a bit cynical. I see no reason why drivers would pick numbers related to their sponsors before any other.

  11. I think this is a brilliant idea from the FIA. At least you know what number each driver will take because of the number

  12. I hope Vettel chooses 1 ^^

  13. Are these numbers going to be shown on the side of the cars where you can actually see them? The sides of the rear-wing for example?

    Would be useful for drivers that change their helmet designs, or for teams where both drivers have yellow helmets!

  14. Michael Brown (@)
    9th December 2013, 21:41

    Personally I liked he idea of the current numbering system, but I don’t think it will take long for me to get used to this one.

    What would be really awful is if drivers would only have one helmet design for their career. I know people hate that Vettel does it, but special and one-off helmet designs shouldn’t be discouraged.

  15. I’ve always liked the moto gp numbering idea so I’m happy with this, even if it is essentially a marketing ploy… it’s good to give a driver more of a ‘signature’ though (especially with the helmet roulette of recent years).

  16. I like the existing system, it’s kind of neat to see a team get a set of lower numbers after a good season. Slightly sad to see it go.

    It’s not a huge deal though, and the new one will work. In particular, it’ll make those messages from race control easier to understand.

  17. I kinda like it. Wondering if they will be able to retire a drivers number?

  18. I hope those numbers are at leat visible, not in a hidden place behind the sidepods or something. You see the cars in F1 and the number is the smallest thing in the front, and nowhere to be seen on the sides.

  19. but will the numbers be chosen by the team or by the driver??? for example, football player cristiano ronaldo has the number 7 as HIS signature. drivers might like a number they can associate to them as a marketing tool or identification. the teams on the other hand might, like for example ferrari an historic number…

    1. The article makes it pretty clear that the drivers will pick, and that the number will stay with them throughout their career. When they leave a team, they take their number with them.

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