2009 F1 driver and car numbers

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With the final F1 drivers’ and constructors’ points settled we can now work out who will carry which numbers in 2009.

As the titles have been won by different teams, this means next year the number ‘1’ will not be on the constructors’ championship-winning car for the first time since 2007, when Fernando Alonso sported it.

Williams will use numbers 16 and 17 next year, as they did last year. To find the time they last used higher number you have to go back before 1996, when car numbers were last issued based on championship finishing position, to 1980. That year Alan Jones and Carlos Reutemann used 27 and 28.

Luca di Montezemolo vowed to get the number 1 back for 2010:

[Lewis Hamilton will] have the number 1 on his car next season, but he can rest assured of one thing: we’ll be doing our very best to put it back on a Ferrari.

Full list of expected 2009 F1 team and car numbers: 2009 F1 drivers and teams

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “2009 F1 driver and car numbers”

  1. Obviously the champion gets the number 1 plate for his car but do the higher numbers get allocated on last years results too or are the teams able to chose who gets which number ?

    Vettel would get the 14 over Webber & Felipe would get 3 over Kimi if it’s on this season’s results, if the teams get to decide though it could be a point of tension for those drivers.

    Strangely Vettel will also be getting a higher number at Red Bull than he would have got staying at Toro Rosso even though it’s meant to be a “promotion”.

    1. someone may of pointed this out, but didnt williams have 7 and 8 last year?

  2. The number 1 was on Alonso’s McLaren in 2007…

    1. wy can’t they choose they’re own number. Everyone choose they’re number one after the other starting whit the one that got the higher point last year

  3. Alonso brought the number 1 to McLaren last year despite winning the 2006 title with a Renault.

  4. Actually, Ferrari first ran 27 and 28 in 1981, ‘borrowing’ the numbers Jones and Reutemann had run in 1980.

    Jones and Reutemann ran 1 and 2 in 1981, as a result of Jones’s championship win in 1980.

    Ferrari had never run 27 and 28 before 1981. Scheckter and Villeneuve ran 11 and 12 on their Ferraris in 1979, just as Reutemann and Villeneuve had run 11 and 12 on their Ferraris in 1978 and Lauda and Reutemann had run 11 and 12 on their Ferraris in 1977. These numbers, 11 and 12, had been inherited from Hunt and Mass, who ran them on their McLarens in 1976.

    Williams first ran 27 in 1978, when Jones ran the team’s only car (Williams was a one-car team that year). Regazzoni joined him at Williams, running 28, in 1979, and Reutemann inherited 28 when he replaced Regazzoni at Williams for 1980.

  5. remember when poor old Damo had a big fat ZERO on his nose cone… I always thought that was a rotten thing to do.

  6. Nick & Matt – Silly mistakes by me, I clearly didn’t have my head together when I wrote this. Fixed now, thanks.

  7. the old system b4 ’96 was rather simple, the winning team swapped thier # with the team that had #1 and #2
    Red Bull have #14 and #15, as they did in every year they have exsisted bar this year! and Jaguar had those #’s the previous 2 years also!
    seems 7th is the place kept aside special for them

  8. That year Alan Jones and Carlos Reutemann used 27 and 28, the numbers ‘borrowed’ from Ferrari, as Jody Scheckter has won the world title the previous year and thus bore the number 1.

    Ferrari actually had 11 and 12 in 1979, while Williams had 27 and 28 during both ’79 and ’80. Thus, Ferrari eventually ‘borrowed’ their close-to-legendary 27-28 combination from Williams, and subsequently had to stick with them, because they didn’t win the title for the next 21 years.

  9. By the way, I remember reading something about a concept-entry list for 1981 with Ferrari and Tyrrell switching numbers. Thus, Ferrari would have had 3+4, while Tyrrell would have had 27+28.

  10. Obviously the champion gets the number 1 plate for his car but do the higher numbers get allocated on last years results too or are the teams able to chose who gets which number ?

    I’m not sure, but I think it’s up to the team to allocate the numbers to whichever of their drivers. Didn’t Button let Rubens have the lower number in 2006 as it held some special meaning to him despite Rubens being new to the team…(though surely Rubens finished above Jenson in the 05 championship…)

    NB: A quick search on Wikipedia confirms that he beat Button by 1 point in 2005 (given JB had a slower car and had results excluded for 3 races, that’s not bad by JB)…

  11. I prefer them mixing it up NBA style – bring back 27 + 28 also 2 legendary numbers.

    Hill’s 0 was weird surprised they stuck with it for 2 years in 93-94. Oh woe, F1 was more casual and less pedantic during the 90s

  12. I believe that the FIA determine the starting numbers per team, but that the teams appoint first and second drivers. So the team decides which driver gets which number.

    Barrichello having 16 in stead of 17, some year, I thought had something to do with ’17’ being associated with homosexuality in Brazil. But correct me if I’m wrong.

  13. What does 1 stand for then, the biggest ego in the field? If so then it should be on his car.

    So as Alonso finished 5th in the championship but renault finished 4th will Alonso have a number 5 or 7 on his car?
    And as for Heikki, he finished 7th but will get a number 2!!

  14. Amy – presumably Alonso will have seven. The drivers’ champion gets one, his team mate gets two, and the rest are ranked in orders of the constructors’ championship.

  15. Ok thanks Kieth.

  16. So a question for the statisticians out there, how many championships have been won by the driver with the number 1 plate ?

    And how many, if any, champions have chosen not to race with the number 1 plate ?

  17. Who Gets the first pit garage? Ferrari or Mclaren? Does it go to the World Champion or the Constructor’s champions?

  18. Has anyone actually driven with the no. 1 without being reigning champion? I heard that John Watson did once, when standing in for Nikki Lauda.

    Also – re. Damon and 0. I thought that was rotten too. Especially after Williams offered Prost first choice of numbers, and he chose 2 because he said he wasn’t a nobody. Surely the FIA could’ve just given Williams 2 and 3 that year, and worked up from there? And, given that the number allocation system has changed since then, what happens next time someone wins the championship and doesn’t race the following year?

  19. Post no. 16 – by that, you mean how many reigning champions have retained their title the following season, right?

    The answer is: eight drivers have done this.
    They are: Ascari, Fangio, Brabham, Prost, Senna, Schumacher, Hakkinen, Alonso.

    The first three on that list would not have driven with the number one the following year, though, as the custom of the previous year’s champion being the no. 1 driver did not start until the late 1960s or early 70s. Before then, numbers changed with each race.

  20. michael counsell
    6th November 2008, 20:10

    17 is bad luck in many countries becuase in Roman numerals it can be arranged to appear like “I am dead” I think.

  21. XVII? How do you pronounce that?

  22. Thanks Nick !

  23. Hi Keith, the Roman number XVII is your 17th. Michael Counsell is right, XVII has the same letters of VIXI the latin word wich means “I lived” (I am dead).
    There are many other popular superstitions due to Christianity.
    Greetings from Italy.

  24. Dario – Ah I get it. Thanks!

  25. the numbers are decided by who finishes where in the constructors so say frerrari was 1st they would get 1,2 and if maclaren was 2nd it would be 3,4 ect thats why they had 19,20 this year as they had all the constructor points deducted

  26. It will be nice to see number 1 on Lewis’s car in 2009

  27. wy can’t they choose they’re own number. Everyone choose they’re number one after the other starting whit the one that got the higher point last year

  28. If the champion doesn’t enter the next championship, what happens to the number 1 car?

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