Hamilton won’t have number one on his car in 2015

2015 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton says he intends to continue using the number 44 on his car in 2015 instead of switching to the number 1 commonly used by reigning world champions.

“I’ll always be number 44,” he told the BBC in an interview. “I’ll keep number 44 on the car. That’s my number since I started, so I want to keep that.”

The FIA allowed drivers to choose their own unique career numbers from this season. However the reigning world champion also has the option of using the number one. Sebastian Vettel, who had the number one this year, will use his career number five next season.

It raises the possibility of there being no number one car in the field for the first time since the 1994 season, when reigning champions Alain Prost had retired from the sport. Using the number one has been the champion’s prerogative since 1975.

Hamilton was also asked whether he wanted Formula One to retain the controversial double points rule for 2015. The new champion, who won F1’s first ever double points race on Sunday and has given differing views on the subject during the season, answered with an unequivocal “no”.

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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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72 comments on “Hamilton won’t have number one on his car in 2015”

  1. good to hear. number one is overrated.

    1. It’s better than number 2. That’s a bit poo…

      I’ll get my coat.

  2. It’s an interesting decision, but good for him. However there may not be too many chances to race with the number 1 on your car in F1, and I know I certainly would take it if I was champion! I guess every driver has there own agenda on these types of things.

    1. @robocat Running it in 2009 didn’t give him much luck so perhaps he didn’t want a repeat of that.

      1. Dropping the yellow helmet also seems to have brought him some luck

        1. Also having the fastest car by far.

          1. Yeah I think that was more important than the number on the car or the color of the helmet.

      2. he was champion using the number 22 then 44 the next for him should be 88

  3. Oeiiiiiiiiiiii! (another davidnotcoulthard account) (@)
    25th November 2014, 8:44

    Personally I’ve always sort of associated VET with the number 15 (all but 1 of his non-reigning years were spent driving car number 15). Oh, well – his career, his choice.

    1. @davidnotcoulthard2 In 2010 he drove with number 5 and won his first championship. Also in his karting days he usually used nr.5

      1. Oeiiiiiiiiiiii! (another davidnotcoulthard account) (@)
        25th November 2014, 10:11

        @gdewilde Which is why I wrote “all but 1 of his non-reigning years”

        Didn’t know about his karting years, though – and I guess the last time he used #15 he lost the title – and not in the best way (16th in qualy before Jenson took the title).

        1. Hahah, didn’t read that thoroughly enough ;-)
          Yeah, I read about the karting number in a previous article about the personal numbers a few month ago, can’t find it though.

    2. He’s always had a 1 or a 5 on his car in full seasons of F1:
      2008: 15
      2009: 15
      2010: 5
      2011-14: 1

  4. Why not, 44 is better number than 1. Great decision Lewis! For me its more unique and atttactive

    1. Are there any numbers that aren’t unique?

    2. Wouldn’t number 1 be the most unique of them all? After all there is only 1.

      1. Patrick Traille
        26th November 2014, 16:10

        Every number is unique since there is only one of them. All of the number/driver combination is unique except #1. It would be like borrowing it from Vettel. I like the look of 44 though, I am tempted to say it is unique lol, I suppose the pattern is unique or more attractive.

    3. Of course, +44 is the International Telephone Country Code for the U.K…..

  5. Great! I think it is the right decision. I have already got used to the number 44. I have a poster with Hamilton’s #44 car (the number is really BIG) on the wall and now there is definitely a link between the number 44 and Hamilton in my mind. As you see, I have also integrated this number into my avatar! I would not be happy if I had to change all of that :)

    I believe that rule 21.2 in the F1 sporting regulations is a great example of how easy making the sport better can sometimes be.

    1. @Girts

      At least this means we don’t have to go through the hassle of changing our display pictures! :P

  6. It’s a good decision in terms of brand association.

  7. On the forum some people didnt like his descision, but I think its good. 44 has become part of Hamiltons brand, he even has the number tattooed behind his ear. Im sure his management team want to make the number 44 as famous as Rossi’s 46. The number means something to him so its understandable he wants to keep it.

    1. He doesn’t have a manager at the moment, he may manage himself. Good decision to use 44 I like it.

  8. I don’t like it. The champion should use number 1 just to let everyone know he is the champion.(I mean those who do not follow a series regularly) I also don’t like that in other series number 1 can be given to a non-champion driver. (eg. in Porsche Supercup)

    1. Perhaps they could paint the camera mount gold instead of the usual black / red. That’d be indicative enough, no?

  9. That’s great. Build you #44 brand.

  10. For Hamilton I think it’s a good decision to stick with 44 and also good for his PR and branding. However, I’m somewhat surprised that Mercedes didn’t push him to put number 1 on the car as I’m sure that’s something they would want to promote their brand. Perhaps they did and Hamilton won the argument, or has Hamilton not discussed it with the bosses yet?

    1. @jerseyf1

      When he left Mclaren a big part of the decision was said to be about leaving the corporate and restrictive environment at Mclaren. One way in which we are led to believe Mercedes lured him in was with promises of more freedom, which getting to choose his own number would represent.

  11. If Mercedes let him because of commercial reasons of course.
    While we are speaking about numbers: Who Does Number Two Work For? :)

    1. Fernando Alonso.

    2. You are Number Six! :)

      1. I am not a number! I am a free man! Sorry my Iron Maiden fandom kicked in a little there…

        1. Patrick McGoohan fandom surely…

          1. Both, Iron Maiden used it as a soundbite on “prisoner” :)

  12. Makes sense – if you have fixed numbers then switching from your regular number to 1 may cause some marketing issues and deludes the branding and recognition, which was the reason they went for fixed numbers in the first place.

    1. The thing is though, there’s no reason to buy new stuff if you already have something from this season. Same team, same number. So from a marketing standpoint, it’s not the best decision. In the long haul, possibly.

      1. It makes perfect sense from a marketing standpoint for him to keep the same number. It adds to the brand,mystique and “legend” of the driver. Most people with an interest in motorsport know that Valentino Rossi is number 46. And Gilles Villeneuve was number 27. And Dale Earnhardt was number 3 in NASCAR. That is what Hamilton is trying to achieve, that when people think of number 44 they automatically think of him.

  13. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
    25th November 2014, 9:40

    It seems a pretty humble thing to do – he’ll still be the same old 44 next season, the second title hasn’t changed him. I think it reflects well on him.

  14. Ready yourselves for the compulsory, ‘Has this man no respect for tradition! I’m absolutely outraged!’ backlash. :roll eyes:

    1. Oeiiiiiiiiiiii! (another davidnotcoulthard account) (@)
      25th November 2014, 9:49

      @f1bobby Don’t worry about that. I mean, name 2 such commenters – I’ve only seen 1.

    2. Lewisham Milton
      25th November 2014, 13:59

      Not everybody agrees with you.
      Get used to it.

      1. It’s the hyperbole that amuses me. That chap on the forum seemed ready to burst as gasket at the very notion.

        1. Which is rather ironic given that the only reason why a driver automatically got to use No. 1 if he was the defending champion was because the regulations explicitly stated that when they switched to the fixed number system in the 1970’s, not because of any established tradition.

  15. Fair enough. So nobody will be using number 1? It’ll be like 1993 when Mansell left.

    1. Or the following year.

  16. petebaldwin (@)
    25th November 2014, 9:51

    His call but personally, I would have gone with number 1! How often do you get to drive an F1 car with 1 on it!?

    1. Oeiiiiiiiiiiii! (another davidnotcoulthard account) (@)
      25th November 2014, 11:37

      @petebaldwin When involved in liegate might be a pretty good answer (and why Lewis opted against it).

    2. John Watson managed it once, when Niki Lauda was injured…
      Better to have no number 1 at all than give it to someone who hasn’t earned it. Number one’s appeared on some undeserving cars as well – Damon Hill’s Arrows, Jacques Villeneuve’s red Williams, the 1980 Ferrari.

      1. The RB10…

  17. Good decision! He has a chance to emulate Giles’s no.27 now!

  18. Nigel Mansell became synonymous with red 5, I see no reason why Hamilton cannot emulate that. I think its a good choice to keep the 44. Everyone knows he’s number one so I don’t see the fuss

  19. There’s potential for a LEW1S brand, but it’s very risky should he end up not winning next year… I don’t think there’s any problem with keeping 44. I certainly associate it with him now so it must be working to some extent

    1. @keeleyobsessed

      I have a Mclaren hat from 2009 which says LEW1S on it! :D :D

      1. @calum

        HAMILT-1 is another one I like the look of…

  20. Hamilton will surely keep his 44, everyone knows he’s 2014 WDC.
    I’d do that if i were him as it’s a personal kind of a lucky charm and it helps psychologically.

  21. Maybe Mercedes will make a limited edition coffee or something called ‘1’ and use the branding on Hamilton’s car so he can have both.

  22. What do you mean “it raises the possibility”? This CONFIRMS that there will be no number 1 next year, since no one else is entitled to it. Please proofread moar.

    1. As far as I’m concerned the final entry list hasn’t published so nothing is ‘confirmed’.

      It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where Mercedes, eager to gain the marketing value of having the number one on their car, make overtures to him about taking it.

      His career number could always be incorporated in some unofficial way. After all, it wasn’t as if he used it in the first seven years of his eight-year F1 career, or for several seasons in his junior categories before that.

  23. That’s the whole point of having personal numbers. Those who are dedicated to theirs (I’d think Hamilton, Alonso, maybe Massa) will keep it; those who don’t give a damn (Kimi above all!) will go with 1 as it’s more representative.

  24. He should push to use 144. Best of both worlds. :-)

    Or 441.

    1. @djrlife He can’t under the rules – the highest number available is 99 (which Sutil used this year, of course).

  25. If Hamilton has the same number of race wins in 2015, he’ll be on 44 career wins. It’s a sign! Maybe.

  26. I’d take the #1 but who really cares what # is on a drivers car?

  27. I think the champion moving to #1 is great tradition and I would have liked to see it followed. Will be shame not to see it on Lewis’ car next season, but it’s his choice.

  28. I like the number 1 but I also really like the number 44. I don’t mind which number Lewis chooses.

  29. The whole point of career numbers was so the driver could pick a number that meant something to him. If I could choose, it would be 13.
    And if a number means something to you, above 97 other numbers, why would you even consider changing it?

  30. Pure guess, but I think that if Vettel ends up winning another championship, he will take number 1 back. After all, he has spent the most of his career with the number 1. Could it be that Vettel is the only driver in F1 history with this stat?

  31. If Lewis were a real man, he would use “44,2” until next title, when he would start using “44,3”.
    He needs to man up, me thinks.

  32. Equivalent to not wearing the yellow jumper in the Tour de France?

  33. Bah, humbug. I miss the previous numbering system, reflecting the team’s achievements.

  34. Chris Grohmann
    21st July 2015, 14:08

    Surely, you are wrong about the year the number 1 not being used since Alain Prost retired. I believe when Nigel Mansell won the world championship and moved straight to Indy cars there was no number 1 the following season and Damon Hill had the number 0. both of these events were after Prost retired.

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