How each driver chose their 2014 race number

2014 F1 season preview

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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

Like 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

“I just like that number”

10. Kamui Kobayashi

Kobayashi 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

After 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

“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

Vergne 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

“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

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Images © F1 Fanatic, Caterham/LAT, Marussia, Force India, Red Bull/Getty, Williams/LAT

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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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102 comments on “How each driver chose their 2014 race number”

  1. Will Susie get to choose a number too?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

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

    2. 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. “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

    1. He is bested by Marcus Ericsson though

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

    2. I think both.

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

    4. 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.

    5. 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…

      1. 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?

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

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

    1. A bit like CR7?

  4. I literally wouldn’t expect another answer from Kimi.

    1. Haha…..nothing beats Kimi’s justification!!

  5. 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?”

    1. This is so Kimi! :D

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

    1. @mashiat Yeah I can’t be bothered with that much Caps Lock.

      1. It’s a good way of reminding people how to spell his first name, I have been guilty of only using one T in Valtteri in the past – but not anymore – just remind yourself there’s a 77 in there and you’ll always remember the two Ts in Valtteri:

        VAL77ERI BO77AS!

        1. V4L773R1 B07745, we could be here all day

          1. V4L773R1 807745

            57R0N71U3 =D

          2. It’s like a NASA code!

    2. Stephen McCarthy
      11th March 2014, 17:17

      F3RN4ND0 410N50
      53845714N V377EL
      L3W15 H4M1L70N

      1. Stephen McCarthy
        11th March 2014, 17:19

        I am trying to think of a driver (past or present) you could spell there entire name with numbers……help needed!

      2. J3NS0N 8U770N

  7. 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!

    1. +1 for most authentically excited fan yet this year.

    2. @mashiat I like 7 & 14 normally, and add to that both Ferrari drivers are going to race with those numbers makes me so glad. In fact, I am also born on 14th :)

  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?

    1. @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. 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?

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

  11. 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?)

    1. 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. 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.

    1. Nice one! I guess Button is the more mainstream of the starting grid since the average number of the drivers is 22.2.

      1. Oh… Is 26 the only one ? Has it been proved or is it some conjecture ?

        1. I think i heard it on QI and wikipedia confirms. Maybe not the most reliable sources, but seems possible ;) It’s certainly the ‘lowest’, if not the ‘only’.

  13. 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.

    1. Seems no one wants to be #2 ;)

      1. Pity Webber left F1 then ( not bad for a #2 driver!)

    2. I’m surprised that Daniel didn’t say “Three is a magic number, yes it is.”
      But seriously, tho… There was some rule where drivers would line up according to their number (red flag restart? Aborted qualy, I can’t remember.) I wonder how or if that has changed, maybe Sutil will rue his choice if so.

  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.

    1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      11th March 2014, 23:09

      why would a F1 driver want the number of someone outside F1? you would, ok, but anybody else? dont get your comment

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

    1. :D maaan…great one

  16. What I find disappointing is that despite all the ice cream jokes it’s Sutil, and not Raikkonen, who’s 99.

    1. That would have been awesome haha! But then Sutil is flaky, unlike Raikkonen

    2. That itself is the least annoying Kimi joke I’ve heard in about 5 years.

    3. Kimi could have picked 31, as in 31 flavors at Baskin-Robbins.

    4. or the 88 we used to have :P

  17. Like Kimi, i couldn’t care less about what numbers they have. There’s only ‘1’ that matters

    1. The ‘1’ that has the formula.

      The formula ‘1’.

  18. Car #14 for Alonso is really cool, it hold special meaning. In American racing, especially open wheel racing, car #14 is forever reserved for A.J Foyt or one of his modern day proteges. A.J became the first driver to win the Indy 500 four times and also came to back in 1999 to win it a 5th time as a car owner with Kenny Bräck driving the car #14 to victory.

    1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      12th March 2014, 1:45

      noone cares…

  19. Am surprised there were no conflicts in the choice… Like I wanted that number, but he chose it first

    1. @onebhk you should read more carefully mate. Bianchi didn’t get any of his 3 options. And there were other conflicts. Maldonado only got his 3rd choice for example

  20. I’m surprised nobody went the way Marquez went. Born in 1993, choosing 93.

    My 91 is indeed from 1991 but I’m also a big Porsche 911 fan, but you can’t choose a number above 99.

  21. Kobayashi put ’10′ as his first choice and his second choice, and didn’t list a third choice.

    Hehe, that’s determination !

    1. @gwenouille @fixy Determination only gets you so far. When I went to my army service 11 yrs ago I chose a particular unit as my 1st, 2nd and 3rd options out of three. Haven’t got any of them :)

    2. Probably there’s no need to overrate Kamui’s “determination”. After all he only had himself to compete with at the time.

  22. I like the ones with a bit of history behind them, like Massa’s, Ricciardo, Button and particularly Rosberg who brings a few different stories together with his number 6.
    And I’m not sure why exactly, but the 14 looks great on the front of Alonso’s Ferrari.

    1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      12th March 2014, 1:50

      agree! history behind is cooler. the idea of choosing numbers because they look like letters in the name is a little stupid isnt it M4X…

    2. Didn’t anyone notice that 14 is also in the name of the Ferrari F1 car for this year?
      It’s curious that the F14T will have the number 14 in it!

  23. Can somebody please explain what’s the logic behind BO77AS and M4X? I still can’t get it. I mean it could easily have been BO88AS or M2X!

      1. hahaha Bobbas xD

    1. Well the idea is that a 7 roughly resembles a T, and a 4 roughly resembles an A.

  24. Magnussen said no reason then gave a relatively in depth reason?

  25. Kobayashi put ’10′ as his first choice and his second choice, and didn’t list a third choice.

    Thats’ what I call determination! Good luck Kamui!

    1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      12th March 2014, 1:53

      actually id call it stupidity! he is given three choices and only takes two with them being the same choice!!! had someone picked up ten, he would have still have to choose a new number! thats not determination!

  26. I like it that my favorite F1 number 27 went to a really deserving driver. Hope NH finally proves it this year that he deserves a place in a top team. #27 for WDC soon hopefully!

  27. Not a lot of drivers picked a high number (>30), maybe because there’s no history behind numbers above 28.

  28. I’m still a bit disappointed the FIA didn’t allow them to pick “0”.

    1. @geemac: Or “00” for all you Dick Dastardly fans :-)

    2. @geemac I’m even more disappointed they weren’t allowed to pick irrational numbers, like pi or e…

      1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
        12th March 2014, 1:58


    3. Damon Hill and Jody Scheckter raced with the number 0. :)

  29. I like Kamui’s “all or nothing” attitude – much like his driving :-)

  30. In Venezuela, 13 is a good number.
    But then again, crashing is considered lucky there as well.

    1. Is it really considered lucky to crash there?! Might explain some of Walldonado’s behavior. Regarding the 13 number, it’s a superstition that’s strictly European(and by extension north american too). For Jews 13 is a lucky number. The Japanese couldn’t care less, but for them the dreaded number is 4. It’s all cultural remnants of a bygone age

  31. Surprising that Sergio picked 11, which also seems to be his favorite finishing position. :)

  32. Considering that the idea was the have numbers that were more identifiable with each driver, the numbers are still not that visible on the cars that much really. I think in the same way that in the premier league there is a standard font for the numbers on the back of palyer’s shirts, the FIA could provide the teams with a distinctive / standout standard graphic / decal that should, under the sporting regulations have to be potitioned within a mandated ares, such as one on the nose and on on each rear wing endplate.

  33. I would have thought Maldonado may have picked 69 considering it makes no difference to what position the car ends up!

  34. Bottas and Grosjean have the best reasons. The rest are ridiculously cliche and predictable.
    Grosjean’s is sute, and Bottas’ is just funny

  35. Raikkonen and Stig are brothers lololol

  36. That must have annoyed Bianchi, I get wound up enough when somebody has my number on iRacing!

    ‘0’ will always be Damon Hill’s though, which I quite like. iRacing wont let me have ‘0’ sadly…

  37. dissapointing no one chose 69

  38. Great to see a rule that is common sense (and already successful in NASCAR and MotoGP, in various forms) finally take hold in Formula 1. My favorite part was the bit about Riccardo having Earnhardt Sr. as one of his heroes…who says NASCAR doesn’t have global reach? ;)
    Although with the way Dale Jr. is racing this season, Riccardo may have been better with 88 as his number!

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