F1 drivers to choose bespoke number to be used for entire career at the top
10 December, 2013
Among a wide range of major changes to Formula 1, the FIA has announced a change to the system of driver numbers, with drivers in future carrying their bespoke number throughout their career at the pinnacle of the sport rather than taking a new one every year depending on where they finished in the championship.
The number one will be reserved for the World Champion, should he decide to use it the year after his title triumph and thereafter revert to his chosen number.
During the initial number selection process, should more than one driver choose the same number, preference will be given to the driver who finished highest in the previous year’s championship.
Although this is a novelty to Formula 1, in the past drivers such as Gilles Villeneuve will forever be remembered for his use of number 27 in 1981 and 1982 until his death during qualifying for the Belgian GP.
Nigel Mansell made the ‘Red Five’ a Formula 1 staple during his years with Williams.
The concept is already used in MotoGP, with Italian Valentino Rossi famed for his number 46.
Bespoke numbers have been a fixture throughout the history of NASCAR with the sport’s top drivers always associated to their numbers such as: Richard Petty (43), Dale Earnhardt (3), Jimmie Johnson (48), Jeff Gordon (24) and Dale Earnhardt Junior (8).
The FIA did not explain what would happen to a number when a driver drops out of Formula 1 or whether certain particularly evocative numbers might be retired. (Reuters & Apex)
Subbed by AJN.