Does anybody know why did drivers choose such car numbers as “12” or “27” in the past, especially Villeneuve(“12” – 1978-1979, “27” – 1981-1982) & Senna (“12” – 1985-1988, “27” – 1990). Any connection between them? What was so special with these numbers?
And why the number “27” was so special for Ferrari till 1996 (before the changes in regulations)?
Drivers are assigned a number from the two that are assigned to the team they are with. First the current WDC gets the #1 and his team mate #2. This applies before the ranking. The rest corresponds to the place the team finished the previous season.
So, for instance, now Redbull was nr. 1 so get 1 & 2, Mclaren was 2nd so get 3 & 4, Ferrari was 3rd – 5 & 6 etc. etc.
The exeption is with the WDC leaves the sport in which case the best team uses 0 & 2. I’m not 100% sure this is official, but it is the solution Williams used twice in the early nineties after respectively Mansell and then Prost retired as WDC.
For a long time this was not the case. New teams were assigned new numbers or filled empty spots. Teams fighting for the championship traded numbers, for instance, if the team with #11 and #12 won, they would get #1 and #2 and the previous championship team would instead switch to #11 and #12.
Because often the same teams fought at the front, this resulted in numbers becoming traditional. These were mainly 1/2, 5/6, 11/12 and 27/28 (but it depends on the era).
Numbers 27/28 were special for Ferrari because these were the numbers they used the most often. In their long dry spell from ’79 to ’89 they were “stuck” with them. When Prost joined them from McLaren as ’89 WDC, Ferrari got 1/2 and McLaren instead drove as 27/28 (for a year, before getting #1 back).
@meander, thank you
Does anyone know why no-one uses the number 13? Is it just dismal superstition or is there a real reason?
Pure superstition, same applies in many other sports although a lot are now starting to use 13 again. When football (English football this is) teams used to wear numbers according to position rather than having a designated number 13 wasn’t normally used.
Random fact: Other than Moises Solana, no one has used #13 in F1.
I liked the “traditional” numbering system, it added a bit of character to the sport. I know it is silly, but I’ll always associate 3 & 4 with Tyrrell, 5 & 6 with Williams, 9 & 10 with Arrows/Footwork, 11 & 12 with Lotus, 19 & 20 with Benetton, 25 & 26 with Ligier and 27 and 28 with Ferrari.
@geemac – the problem is that most of those teams are dead.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind drivers choosing their own numbers and using them for the duration of their career.
Very true @prisonermonkeys . It’s more a case of looking at the grid with rose tinted specs in my case that actually wanting them to go back to the “traditional” numbers. I do actually like the idea of allocating a driver a number for their career. It makes the driver instantly recognisable, even to casual viewers. Case in point: My mum, who loves F1 (because of me) but who has never really taken to MotoGP can still tell you exactly where Rossi is in a race because she knows all she has to do is look out for #46.
We could get into the debate about the “roots” various teams, but (a) this isn’t really the place, and (b) I don’t have the energy to get that debate going again!
i think the current numbering system is lame. i propose:
1,2,3 – assigned to the previous year’s 1,2,3 drivers. if vacant, the number goes unused.
4,5 – reserved
each team selects 3 or 4 consecutive numbers between 6 and 99 for the duration of their participation. 1st choice goes to the team with longest continuous participation, and so forth.
also, car numbers must be displayed more prominently than they currently are. aco/fia sports cars have an excellent spec number panel.
3:30 am, b.s. post coming up ;)
I actually prefer the traditional numbers myself, but assigned to the teams, not the drivers. I think a driver called to Ferrari would love to wear the #27 cap.
My personal choice would be to keep the 1/2 rules, and distribute the “normal” numbers as follows: Red Bull 22/23 (original Stewart numbers), McLaren 7/8, Ferrari 27/28, Lotus 11/12, Williams 5/6, Mercedes 3/4 (Tyrrell, right?), Sauber 29/30 (orig ’93), Force India 32/33 (Jordan ’91), Toro Rosso 23/24 (Minardi) and fill in the rest in between. This is *totally* arbitrary and based on good seasons and good photos, stuck in memory.
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