F1 drivers have been allowed to choose the numbers they will use for the rest of their careers for the coming season. The new rules will also require drivers to carry their number on their helmet.
Here’s a closer look at what they have chosen picks and the significance – if any – of their preferred numbers.
When each number last appeared
Here are the numbers chosen by each of the drivers so far and when they were last used in a round of the world championship.
|Number||Driver||Last appearance in a race|
|1||Current world champion (Vettel)||Sebastian Vettel, 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Fernando Alonso, 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Jenson Button, 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|6||Nico Rosberg||Sergio Perez, 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|7||Kimi Raikkonen||Heikki Kovalainen, 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|8||Romain Grosjean||Romain Grosjean,2013 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|11||Sergio Perez||Nico Hulkenberg, 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|13||Pastor Maldonado||Moises Solana, 1963 Mexican Grand Prix|
|14||Fernando Alonso||Paul di Resta, 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|17||Jules Bianchi||Valtteri Bottas, 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|19||Felipe Massa||Daniel Ricciardo, 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|20||Kevin Magnussen||Charles Pic, 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|21||Esteban Gutierrez||Gi edo van der Garde, 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|22||Jenson Button||Jules Bianchi, 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|25||Jean-Eric Vergne||Charles Pic, 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|26||Daniil Kvyat||Olivier Panis, 1995 Australian Grand Prix|
|27||Nico Hulkenberg||Jean Alesi, 1995 Australian Grand Prix|
|44||Lewis Hamilton||Jack Brabham, 1970 Italian Grand Prix|
|77||Valtteri Bottas||Rolf Stommelen, 1976 German Grand Prix|
|99||Adrian Sutil||Paul Goldsmith, 1960 Indianapolis 500|
The numbers to be used by Max Chilton and Caterham’s two drivers have not yet been confirmed.
1 and 5: Sebastian Vettel
Number of races won: 181 (#1), 130 (#5)
Last race wins Sebastian Vettel, 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix (#1); Fernando Alonso, 2012 German Grand Prix (#5)
Most starts: Michael Schumacher, 120 (#1); Nigel Mansell, 93 (#5)
There are two outcomes to this year’s world championship for Sebastian Vettel: he will either win title number five or become number five.
As world champion, Vettel gets to continue using the number one this year. But should anyone take the title off him this year he will switch to his chosen career number – five – in 2015. Appropriately for the driver who won an incredible nine races in a row at the end of last season, one and five are the two most successful numbers of all time in F1, accounting for more than two-thirds of all grand prix victories.
The number one has regularly been used by the reigning world champion for the last four decades. The last non-champion to start a race with the number was John Watson at the 1985 European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch when he substituted for the injured Niki Lauda.
Fittingly, Vettel had both numbers on his car when he won his first race for Toro Rosso in 2008 and when he moved to Red Bull the following year – on each occasion he was number 15. He won his first world championship in 2010 as number five.
3: Daniel Ricciardo
Number of races won: 55
Last race win: Fernando Alonso, 2013 Spanish Grand Prix
Most race entries: Michael Schumacher, 62
Ricciardo’s choice was inspired in part by a number which was famously associated with a great driver in another series. It was the number used by seven-times NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt, who died in a crash at Daytona in 2001. “Dale Earnhardt was a hero of mine as a kid,” said Ricciardo in 2011. “I loved watching NASCAR and he was ‘The Intimidator’.”
Ricciardo himself used the number in karting and during his 2011 Formula Renault 3.5 campaign before it was interrupted by his promotion to Formula One.
6: Nico Rosberg
Number of races won: 55
Last race win: Mark Webber, 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix
Most race entries: Riccardo Patrese, 111
Nico Rosberg chose number six as it was what his father Keke had on his Williams when he won the world championship in 1982.
7: Kimi Raikkonen
Number of races won: 27
Last race win: Kimi Raikkonen, 2013 Australian Grand Prix
Most race entries: John Watson, 91
Raikkonen will continue to use the number he had on his car last year. He wasn’t the only driver who wanted number seven – Jules Bianchi also expressed a preference for it, but first call on it went to the driver who finished ahead in last year’s championship.
8: Romain Grosjean
Number of races won: 47
Last race win: Nico Rosberg, 2012 Chinese Grand Prix
Most race entries: Fernando Alonso, 83
Raikkonen’s former team mate will also have the same number as last year.
11: Sergio Perez
Number of races won: 36
Last race win: Giancarlo Fisichella, 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix
Most race entries: Elio de Angelis, 77
Perez is one of several drivers to have chosen a number he had on his kart when he started out in motor racing.
“I always had 11 when I was a kid in karting,” he said. “I have no idea why but since I was a kid I always identified myself with that number.”
13: Pastor Maldonado
Number of races won: 0
Most race entries: Moises Solana and Divina Galica – 1
Teams could choose the numbers they wanted until 1996, when the FIA decided to allocate them based on constructors’ championship finishing position. The sport’s governing body also decided to withhold the number 13, due to the superstitious belief held by some that it is unlucky.
But no sooner did the FIA lift the restriction that the number was snapped up by Pastor Maldonado. It was not his first choice of number (like Ricciardo, he also wanted three) but Red Bull test driver Antonio Felix da Costa also expressed a desire to use 13 if he had the chance.
It has only been used in a race once, when Moises Solana drove a BRM at his home race in Mexico in 1963. He was classified 11th, his car having broken down eight laps from home. That was his first of eight grand prix appearances but the only time he used number 13. Divina Galica also failed to qualify a Surtees bearing number 13 at Brands Hatch.
14: Fernando Alonso
Number of races won: 11
Last race win: Mark Webber, 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix
Most race entries: David Coulthard, 54
Alonso used 14 in his karting days and more recently at Felipe Massa’s Desafio Internacional des Estrelas kart race last year (pictured).
17: Jules Bianchi
Number of races won: 5
Last race win: Johnny Herbert, 1999 European Grand Prix
Most race entries: Jean-Pierre Jarier, 45
Bianchi didn’t get any of his first three choices of number – 7, 27 and 77 – each of which were taken by drivers who finished higher than him in the championship last year.
19: Felipe Massa
Number of races won: 2
Last race win: Michael Schumacher, 1992 Belgian Grand Prix
Most race entries: Alessandro Nannini, 46
Massa used number 19 when he won the 2001 Euro Formula 3000 championship before moving up to Formula One with Sauber the following year.
The only driver besides Schumacher to win a race in a car with the number 19 is Nannini, who started the most races with the number. He won the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix with it following Ayrton Senna’s controversial disqualification.
20: Kevin Magnussen
Number of races won: 13
Last race win: Nelson Piquet, 1990 Canadian Grand Prix (pictured)
Most race entries: Adrian Sutil, 52
Kevin Magnussen won the Formula Renault 3.5 championship last year in car number 20 and will continue to use the same number for his first season of F1. Father Jan Magnussen used 18 and 19 in his last two years of F1 in 1997 and 1998 respectively.
21: Esteban Gutierrez
Number of races won: 1
Last race win: Jackie Stewart, 1972 Argentinian Grand Prix
Most race entries: Giancarlo Fisichella, 38
Gutierrez considers 21 his lucky number but it is the lowest number only to have won a single race. Fisichella used it in his first and last seasons.
22: Jenson Button
Number of races won: 14
Last race win: Jenson Button, 2009 Turkish Grand Prix
Most race entries: Andrea de Cesaris, 81
The number 22 has obvious significance for Button – it’s the number he had on his car when he won the world championship in 2009.
Coincidentally, Hamilton had the same number on his car when he won the championship the year before. Unusual circumstances explained why the pair acquired those numbers. McLaren’s 2007 exclusion from the constructors’ championship over the ‘Spygate’ affair meant they took numbers 22 and 23 for the following season. Button took Hamilton’s number the following year after Honda’s abrupt withdrawal from the championship and the team’s consequent change of identity to Brawn.
Andrea de Cesaris used this number for six seasons and started more than twice as many races as any other driver with 22 on his car.
25: Jean-Eric Vergne
Number of races won: 2
Last race win: Didier Pironi, 1980 Belgian Grand Prix
Most race entries: Rene Arnoux, 64
So far the only team whose cars will continue to have consecutive numbers are Toro Rosso, whose drivers have picked 25 and 26. This pair of numbers was commonly used by the Ligier team and both the races won with number 25 were achieved by their drivers (the first being Patrick Depailler at Jarama in 1979).
Vergne used number 25 when he was karting.
26: Daniil Kvyat
Number of races won: 9
Last race win: Jacques Laffite, 1981 Canadian Grand Prix
Most race entries: Jacques Laffite, 132
This is the first of the numbers which hasn’t been seen in a race since 1995, which was both the last season to see a full grid of cars and the year before the numbering system was changed.
Jacques Laffite had 26 on his car for most of his F1 career. Associated for a long time with the Ligier team, he first used the number when he joined the team in 1976 and it was still on his car ten years later when he crashed badly at Brands Hatch, leaving him with leg injuries that ended his career.
27: Nico Hulkenberg
Number of races won: 25
Last race win: Jean Alesi, 1995 Canadian Grand Prix
Most race entries: Michele Alboreto, 80
If any number demonstrates the power of association with a particular driver it’s 27: the number used by the venerated Gilles Villeneuve at the time of his death in 1982, which his fans continued to bear on flags around the world for years to come.
Despite the connection between Villeneuve and the number 27 his later Ferrari successor Michele Alboreto started more races using it, as did Alan Jones, Patrick Tambay and Jean Alesi. The latter scored an emotional win for Ferrari with the number at the track named after Villeneuve in 1995. That year was the last appearance to date for this number, which was also used by Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna (pictured) and Nigel Mansell.
Hulkenberg isn’t the only driver who wanted the historic figure on his car, and he must be aware he’s inviting comparison with the best the sport has ever seen by choosing it.
44: Lewis Hamilton
Number of races won: 1
Last race win: Maurice Trintignant, 1955 Monaco Grand Prix
Most race entries: Roy Salvadori, 4
Hamilton joins the ranks of drivers who have returned to their old karting numbers with the distinctive choice of 44. Here he is using the number earlier in his career:
The number 44 has only appeared on a winning Formula One car once, back when Hamilton’s Mercedes team made its original appearance in the sport. But it wasn’t on one of their cars – Ferrari’s Maurice Trintignant ended a four-race winning streak for the three-pointed star at the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix.
77: Valtteri Bottas
Number of races won: 0
Most race entries: Mike Magill, 3
The appeal of the number 77 to Williams’ sophomore driver is that it gives him a distinctive way of writing his name is block capitals – BO77AS. It last appeared on an F1 car when Rolf Stommelen lined up on the grid at the Nurburgring Nordschleife for the start of the fateful 1976 German Grand Prix.
99: Adrian Sutil
Number of races won: 1
Last race win: Lee Wallard, 1951 Indianapolis 500
Most race entries: Paul Goldsmith, Lee Wallard amd Tony Bettenhausen – 2
‘career numbers’ next year”>allowed them to choose from 2 to 99. The highest number previously seen in an F1 race is 136, used by Rudolf Krause at the 1952 German Grand Prix.
Although the number 99 has been used to win a round of the world championship – by Lee Wallard at Indianapolis – it has never appeared on an F1 car at a world championship race (the Indianapolis 500 was not run to F1 rules when it counted towards the title). So Sutil will make a small piece of history when he takes to the grid is his number 99 Sauber in Melbourne in two months’ time.
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Images © Honda, Williams/LAT, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Ford.com, McLaren/Hoch Zwei, IndyCar
48 comments on “F1 drivers’ 2014 numbers in stats”
13th January 2014, 12:30
Very interesting! Most race entries’ stat is a great reminder. That’s clever.
Troy Longstaff (@troylongstaff)
13th January 2014, 12:33
Another excellent article @keithcollantine! I’m only nit-picking, but in Vettel’s blurb it says Alonso won the 2013 German Grand Prix, it should be 2012 :)
Fer no.65 (@fer-no65)
13th January 2014, 22:14
Excellent indeed. I find it brilliant that Ricciardo decided to use a number very famous on another series !
Fer no.65 (@fer-no65)
13th January 2014, 23:51
Also, funny that most of the times each number has been used it was one driver from the past 20 years or so. Schumacher with 3, Fisichella with 21, Alonso with 8, Coulthard with 14… Even Sutil with 20, they all kept using the same number even if it wasn’t of their choice.
Sri Harsha (@harsha)
13th January 2014, 13:01
Number of races won: 181 (#1), 130 (#5)
Last race wins Sebastian Vettel, 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix (#1); Fernando Alonso, 2013 German Grand Prix (#5)
You mean 2012 German Grand Prix?
13th January 2014, 13:19
Why not use a picture of Button’s Brawn with 22 rather than a picture of lewis McLaren?
13th January 2014, 13:46
Sebastian Vettel: he will either win title number five or become number five.
Don’t you mean title No. 1 Keith?
13th January 2014, 14:08
Title number five = Vettel’s fifth title.
13th January 2014, 16:25
Sorry I misunderstood. I thought he was talking about the TITLE WINNER’S NO. 1. My bad.
13th January 2014, 14:14
@mashiat if Vettel wins this year he stays number 1. If he doesn’t he will go to number 5.
The Abbinator (@abbinator)
13th January 2014, 23:28
I’ll bet Vettel looked up the second most successful number other than #1 when he chose 5 as his non-championship regular number… It’s so like something he would do ( fastest lap, video game mentality).
14th January 2014, 6:59
Not really. His number in his first two complete seasons were 15, a combo of both being the tens and ones digits. His number in 2010, his championship winning year was 5 and he’s been 1 ever since
13th January 2014, 13:53
“The appeal of the number 77 to Williams’ sophomore driver is that it gives him a distinctive way of writing his name is block capitals – BO77AS.”
Actually Keith, It is VAL77ERI BO77AS, not just BO77AS.
13th January 2014, 13:57
Funny how Vettel has managed to claim the single 2 most successful numbers in F1 history. Given his knowledge of F1, I wouldn’t be surprised that is on purpose!
Interesting article Keith!
One other point worth mentioning (i read that in an article here) is that when we put both Williams next to eachother we get 19 77 – the year the team (as team Williams Ldt) first entered F1!
13th January 2014, 14:38
13th January 2014, 14:09
Great piece Keith, I was actually hoping for such article ever since the numbers have been published.
A question to all, does anyone have a clue why Grosjean chose 8? (and I’m not going to ask for Raikkonen’s, as he probably didn’t care much ;)).
13th January 2014, 14:15
Schumacher has won races with at least four numbers, has anyone won more races than him with different numbers @keithcollantine?
13th January 2014, 14:30
Lewis Hamilton, for example.
13th January 2014, 14:44
All of those numbers adding up to…. 44!
13th January 2014, 15:25
Sorry to spoil the party, but it’s 42.. which in itself is also kinda creepy..
13th January 2014, 15:27
Ah yes, I meant to include the number 2 for 2010.
13th January 2014, 15:32
In that case: very nice!
13th January 2014, 15:29
Awesome… But creepy!
13th January 2014, 20:21
By the way, Lewis put on a show winning from back from the video posted by Keith.
Craig Woollard (@craig-o)
13th January 2014, 14:53
Hamilton won 3 races in 2010, where he drove #2
13th January 2014, 15:39
That isn’t mentioned because he won with #2 in 2007.
13th January 2014, 20:18
Indeed. He has won races every single year :)
13th January 2014, 16:34
Alonso also won races with 4 different numbers
2005 & 2008 & 2011 & 2012: #5
2006 & 2007: #1
13th January 2014, 17:09
Michael Schumacher won a race in 1992 with the 19. With 5 in 1993, 1994, 1997 and 2006. 3 in 1998, 1999 and 2000. 1 in 1995, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and Indy 2005…
So it’s ‘only’ those four. Did I miss one?
13th January 2014, 17:31
I imagine there are loads. All it takes is a driver to win in several seasons, as the chances are they will have had a variety of numbers in those years- from the ’50s in particular when numbers changed one race to the next even more frequently than they did the following decade.
13th January 2014, 20:20
Didn’t know about the crazy 1950s.
bull mello (@bullmello)
13th January 2014, 15:24
Interesting history in the numbers, now the drivers must make a new history of their own.
Not big on numerology, but my favorite drivers for the 2014 season will be easy to find, they all have 7.
7, 17, 27, 77
Lewis McMurray (@celicadion23)
13th January 2014, 15:53
Vettel should have chosen 21
13th January 2014, 20:07
Ah, I see what you did there…
13th January 2014, 16:22
I have a couple of questions about the new number scheme and what happens with new drivers which I don’t think I’ve seen answered anywhere (apologies if they have).
How is this going to work with new drivers getting numbers? How long is a driver going to have to be out of F1 before their number becomes available again? For instance if Hulkenberg had chosen 27 in 2010, would it still have been his until he came back in 2012 or could one of the 2011 rookies have taken it? Drivers do drop in and out of the sport a lot and it would be nice to know how this is going to be worked.
With regards to this, how many years is it necessary to go back before there have been 99 unique drivers in F1? i.e. until the numbers would have run out if there was no replacement?
13th January 2014, 16:27
vettel’s a cocky one isn’t he? he probably is so confident on wining title number 5 that he selects #5 as his career number. next year he can then put 5 on his car instead of 1.
13th January 2014, 16:31
Well, if he indeed wins title number five then he’ll be still eligible to retain number one.
13th January 2014, 18:21
Oh come on, stop trying so hard to make him look bad. He isn’t the only one taking the number which he won his first WDC in.
And what if he would ever get to 6 titles? Choosing a career number towards a single event that can be surpassed the year afterwould not be very clever.
Max Jacobson (@vettel1)
13th January 2014, 16:28
That is ridiculous. Equally though, fantastic choice again Pastor!
13th January 2014, 16:35
That only 6 of the 18 announced numbers could be considered unusual – in that they were not in use in 2012-2013 – despite the freedom of choice, illustrates what was disappointing for me in this process.
I’m very glad for the idea of own numbers in itself, I’m just a bit down that most drivers chose a somewhat usual number.
13th January 2014, 17:12
No one took 69? I am disappointed.
16th January 2014, 3:17
13th January 2014, 17:29
Piquet won Canadian GP in 1991, not 1990.
13th January 2014, 18:41
he will either win title number five or become number five
13th January 2014, 19:11
I’m slightly confused as to why Max Chilton still doesn’t have an allocated number. Surely if it had been fixed then it would have been published, if it hasn’t been fixed yet then that suggests he could still choose, for example, number 20 – which he could have as he would have precedence over Magnussen?
dutch in sweden (@dutch-in-sweden)
13th January 2014, 21:30
Good point. There are some other drivers from last year that can land the seat at Caterham and claim numbers that Magnussen or Kyvat have choosen.
14th January 2014, 2:56
Apparently he chose #4 There was the deadline set by FIA. I guess if you missed it, because you wasn’t able to sort out your contracts quick enough, then tough luck. It’d be unfair to force other teams to wait forever for a couple of drivers who may or may not get a seat eventually. In worst cases, driver seat decisions can be finalized a few days before the season start. Teams would prefer to have some time for arrangements things like merchandiser production order, etc.
16th January 2014, 3:14
Totally unfair if you ask me.
Comments are closed.