How each driver chose their 2014 race number

2014 F1 season preview

The FIA has changed its policy on car numbers for 2014 and allowed each driver to choose their own.

Here’s what each driver chose as their career number and how they picked them.

3. Daniel Ricciardo

“It was the first ever number I raced with, it just got given to me when I was go-karting, and it stuck with me pretty much all throughout my karting career. Once I got the number three, I realised that a hero of mine, the late, great, Dale Earnhardt, was also number three in NASCAR.”

4. Max Chilton

Max Chilton, Marussia, Bahrain, 2014Like Bottas, Chilton chose a number he could incorporate within his name: ‘M4X’.

5. Sebastian Vettel

“[The] first time I won the championship in Formula One I had number five on the car. Generally I think number five was very successful in Formula One: Nigel won the championship, Michael won the championship qith number five. And I have a very good memory to number five on my go-kart, I had a very good season back in 2001 with a lot of wins.”

6. Nico Rosberg

“I chose number six as my race number because my dad wrote me an email saying ‘ah, that was a really lucky number for me, I was world champion with that number, you need to take that’. Then I spoke to my fiancee, she said ‘ah, six is my lucky number, take that”. I also won a championship in Formula BMW with number six, back in 2002.”

7. Kimi Raikkonen

“There’s no particular story linked to it. It’s the number I already had last year and I saw no reason to change it. I like it which is good enough isn’t it?”

8. Romain Grosjean

“Simply I like this number, plus it has some significance to me. My wife was born the 8th of December, we started dating in 2008 and, to my eyes my son is the 8th wonder of the world. That’s why I picked up number 8.”

9. Marcus Ericsson

Marcus Ericsson, Caterham, Jerez, 2014“I just like that number”

10. Kamui Kobayashi

Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham, Jerez, 2014Kobayashi put ’10’ as his first choice and his second choice, and didn’t list a third choice. He pointed out he used the number when he made his F1 debut with Toyota in 2009.

11. Sergio Perez

“It’s the number I’ve been using all my career since karting. I’ve enjoyed having number 11, so I went for it, and luckily I ended up getting it as my first choice. I will be wearing it the rest of my career, except when I win the world championship, when I will be wearing number one!”

13. Pastor Maldonado

“The reason I choose the number 13 is just because I like it. In Venezuela it is not an unlucky number and it actually has a long history in Venezuelan sport.”

14. Fernando Alonso

“It has always brought me luck, dating back to 14th July 1996 when, at the age of 14, I won the world championship in a kart that had the number 14. Let’s see if it will still bring me luck.”

17. Jules Bianchi

Jules Bianchi, Marussia, Jerez, 2014After failing to get any of his first three choices – 7, 27 and 77 were all taken by other drivers – Bianchi settled on 17.

19. Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa, Williams, Bahrain, 2014“It was my number when karting and my uncle also used 19 when he raced. Luckily it was one of our numbers this year anyway!”

20. Kevin Magnussen

“I don’t really have any particular reason why I picked 20 as my number. It’s the number I had last year when I won the World Series [Formula Renault 3.5] championship. I also had it in karting when I won the things I won in karting. It’s just a number that’s followed me a little bit so I thought if we have to go for one number it should be that.”

21. Esteban Gutierrez

“The number 21 has always been my favourite number. I always chose it as a lucky number. It’s also the number of my age when I started Formula One, so it’s quite a special number for me. It was my first priority.”

22. Jenson Button

“22 is a good number for me, it was in 2009 anyway that’s when I won the world championship with it. It’s also the number that McLaren last won the [drivers’] world championship with, in 2008 with Lewis [Hamilton].”

25. Jean-Eric Vergne

Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, Bahrain, 2014Vergne picked number 25 because his birthday is on April 25th.

26. Daniil Kvyat

Kvyat also picked his number because of his birthday – one day (and a few years) later than Vergne’s. “I also competed in my first karting event in Russia with that number. But there’s not much history behind it and I’m looking forward to making something of that number as I start my F1 career.”

27. Nico Hulkenberg

27: Nico Hulkenberg“One, it’s my birthday dates together: 19.8; and two, it’s simply a cool number.”

44. Lewis Hamilton

“When we started racing go-karts it had 44 on the number plate. So that’s where you got 44 from. And it just became my number, and we won our first British championship with it, our first races we won with it. And so it’s been the ‘family number’ since then.”

77. Valtteri Bottas

Bottas chose 77 so he could include it within his surname as ‘BO77AS’.

99. Adrian Sutil

The drivers were given a choice between 2 and 99 and Sutil said he simply went for the highest number available.

Test drivers

Three test drivers have also run in their teams’ cars this year. Here’s which numbers they chose:

34. Daniel Juncadella
40. Felipe Nasr
46. Robin Frijns

2014 F1 season preview

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102 comments on How each driver chose their 2014 race number

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  1. Andrea said on 11th March 2014, 12:50

    Will Susie get to choose a number too?

    • J.Danek said on 12th March 2014, 5:08

      Hopefully not – it would be such a shame to waste a # on a driver w/ no potential to ever actually compete in F1, whose place on the Williams team isn’t on merit anyway.

      • Andrea said on 12th March 2014, 7:47

        While I understand your point of view, one could say it’s a “shame” to “waste” a number for – let’s say – Button too, since he will be leaving F1 in one or two years.
        Also, I checked and I think that Susie will actually geta number since she’ll be driving on some Fridays and rule says each and every driver has to get their own number.

      • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 12th March 2014, 8:50

        Ignoring Mr. Danek over here, yes, I think she will get to choose a number if she runs a session.

    • spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 12th March 2014, 10:02

      Every driver who runs an F1 car must wear a number on his helmet, the same number must be on the car too. So I guess she will pick one, we’ll see :)

  2. Red Lebanese (@redlebanese) said on 11th March 2014, 12:55

    “There’s no particular story linked to it. It’s the number I already had last year and I saw no reason to change it.” Kimi is either very ‘over it’, or he’s a genius that pays no mind to such mundane things :-p

    • Rasmus said on 11th March 2014, 13:08

      He is bested by Marcus Ericsson though

      9. Marcus Ericsson, Caterham, Jerez, 2014 – “I just like that number”

    • Alejandro said on 11th March 2014, 17:55

      I think both.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 11th March 2014, 18:52

      And then you read Bianchi really would have liked that number. I LOL’ed, a bit mean I suppose.

    • Jimmy_D (@jimmy_d) said on 11th March 2014, 20:59

      LOL on thi is one. Kimi is so cool I don’t know how he does it, I don’t think he drinks water and breathes air like us normal people.

    • pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 11th March 2014, 22:17

      So you think somebody completely lacking any kind of creative spirit is cool? Yet again Kimi proves he hasn’t a shred of character – yet many people interpret this aloofness as a good thing? He’s just arrogant and ignorant to boot.

      I bet you anything he’ll milk this cash cow for all it’s worth. That I don’t hold against him but how false his words will be when ‘7’ is plastered all over Kimi merchandise…

      • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 12th March 2014, 12:40

        I don’t understand why people have to beat up on Kimi. It’s not important to him, it’s only a number, it’s not like he’s starting his career now is it?

    • Dave T (@davetea) said on 11th March 2014, 23:01

      I am still surprised he didn’t go with “69”. Seems like something he would find funny…

  3. Metallion (@metallion) said on 11th March 2014, 13:07

    M4X…sounds like something out of a sleazy ad, like: 47 M seeking likeminded M 4 X.

  4. Sam (@dsrt93) said on 11th March 2014, 13:08

    I literally wouldn’t expect another answer from Kimi.

  5. Jan (@yancheelaa) said on 11th March 2014, 13:10

    Raikkonen is the best :)

    you just have to love that guy:

    “There’s no particular story linked to it. It’s the number I already had last year and I saw no reason to change it. I like it which is good enough isn’t it?”

  6. Mashiat (@) said on 11th March 2014, 13:13

    “Bottas chose 77 so he could include it within his surname as ‘BO77AS’.”
    Sorry Keith but its both names: VAL77ERI BO77AS!

  7. Mashiat (@) said on 11th March 2014, 13:14

    As an Alonso fan, it is quite exciting that he has 14. Being 14, with a birthday on the 14th of a month, and it my my best age and year so far!

  8. How will the wider numbering system work with regards to Test and Reserve drivers? I just question whether they should really get a reserved number, given how often most of them are just traded around teams behind-closed-doors as anonymous cannon fodder. Because given the high numbers of them, won’t it mean that a lot of numbers are denied to drivers who actually earn race seats and participate in the Championship?

    More generally also, does a driver have to concede his number upon running the course of a contract and/or leaving the sport for any length of time. For example, what would happen to a Sutil or Kobayashi type figure after 2014 – who leaves the sport for a period, to then return? Is there a minimum stay in the sport to secure the ‘legacy’ of your number, or what?

    • @richyb I read somewhere (it may have been this website?!?!) that each team has specified two different numbers which their reserve drivers can use.

      You raise a very good point. This year the order of allocating numbers was given by championship order, although that isn’t exactly what happened. When the entry list was published, it listed Lotus and Marussia as TBA and this meant that the drivers effectively ‘lost their place in the queue’ to request numbers. The FIA should be careful to protect (admittedly the unlikely) event that a driver has their number taken by another driver solely because their team hasn’t committed to the world championship.

  9. Lotus49 (@lotus49) said on 11th March 2014, 13:28

    It will be interesting to see how long a number remains valid, for a driver, after he is no longer in F1. What I mean is if, for instance, Kimi decided to retire at the end of the season, how long would it be before someone else could use number 7?

    • Dan Brown (@danbrown180) said on 11th March 2014, 13:44

      Straight away I imagine. We’d be in the hundreds before long otherwise. Unless some driver unfortunately dies in which case I suppose they could keep it as a mark of respect, but I can’t see any other reason to reserve a number past retirement.

  10. LookingSpiffy (@lookingspiffy) said on 11th March 2014, 13:36

    Sauber’s Giedo van der Garde also indicated he’d use #55.

  11. Whirl said on 11th March 2014, 13:38

    Jules Bianchi must be very unlucky – the chances of all of his top 3 choices taken by other drivers… Literally 1% I think (does a mathematician who frequent F1F like to check my figures?)

    • Gwan said on 11th March 2014, 19:11

      That assumes a random selection though. 7 is widely considered lucky or significant, so I’d say the odds of 7 or 77 being taken were pretty high.

  12. Keith Campbell (@keithedin) said on 11th March 2014, 13:38

    Is it just me, or was anyone else hoping Kvyat would say “it’s the only integer that lies directly between a square and a cube”?………i’ll go get my coat.

  13. David Margono (@woshidavid95) said on 11th March 2014, 13:50

    Or another reason Ricciardo chose 3 is because he didn’t want to be number 2… :P
    Not that anyone expects him to put up much of a fight against Vettel anyways.

  14. If I was an F1 driver, I would have requested #98 which was the number that Dan Wheldon ran at Indianapolis when he won his final race there in 2011.

  15. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 11th March 2014, 14:03

    The story behind Ericsson’s choice of number is pretty amazing.

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