Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Interlagos, 2019

Latifi takes over Rosberg’s old F1 number for debut

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi will take over the number six last used by Nico Rosberg when he makes debut in the series this year.

But the Williams rookie has not chosen the career number because of its connection to the 2016 champion or his father Keke Rosberg,who took it to the championship in 1982.

The Torontonian chose to race with number six because of its links to his Canadian home city.

“Toronto is widely referred to as ‘The 6’, which is partly down to Drake, who’s also from Toronto,” Latifi explained in a post on his official website.”He mentions the name in one of his early songs, and one of his albums was originally called ‘Views from the 6’.

“Other 6 links are that Toronto was one divided into six districts, and that the two telephone area codes for Toronto start or finish with a six.

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2016
Rosberg won the 2016 title with number six
“For all these reasons the name has just stuck,” he added. “Anyone who’s from North America knows what ‘the six’ is – especially if they listen to Drake.”

Rosberg’s six has become available for selection as drivers’ career numbers are reserved for their up to two years after leaving the championship.

Latifi previously raced with the number six his 2016 GP2 campaign, and again in 2018 and 2019 when the category had become Formula 2. “That was more by chance, as DAMS was given five and six because of the finishing positions in the championship. But as soon as we had those numbers, I knew immediately which one I wanted!”

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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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20 comments on “Latifi takes over Rosberg’s old F1 number for debut”

  1. There’s only one Drake in F1 history

  2. Cool reason for choosing a number, now I learned something new on geography, and I won’t forget his number.

  3. So here’s my thing. If, when he had the choice of five or six in 2016, it was obvious which he wanted, why did he have five instead of six for two years running at Arden in Formula Renault 3.5?

    1. Because Drake released his album in April 2016 maybe? Don’t know, a race number chosen upon a singer’s song is new to me.

      1. @m-bagattini See that’s the kind of thing I wouldn’t know!

        1. As someone living about 60km north of Toronto I can add a bit to this discussion. I also watched a clip of Drake on Jimmy Fallon explaining it. Indeed the six is derived mainly from what has been Toronto’s main area code for decades…416. It also used to be a city of 6 districts that have now been amalgamated into one. They do now have a second area code and it is 647, but Drake doesn’t mention that one on Fallon. Drake used ‘the six,’ aka ‘the 6,’ aka ‘the 6ix’ in his album from 2016 which started the ball rolling, but what really solidified the term for the City of Toronto is that Drake is very well known as the NBA basketball team Toronto Raptors’ ambassador, courtside at as many games as he can get to, and they having just won the World Championship last year, and the resultant parade with 2 million people attending it in downtown Toronto, have really gotten virtually everyone in the city using it or at least certainly knowing what one means when one refers to The 6.

          Just as a fun aside, if you also hear Latifi say ‘We the North’ that is another phrase that I’m quite sure Drake coined for us Toronto Raptors fans and for the team and indeed the country. The Raptors are the only NBA basketball team outside of the US, and since Canada and Toronto are to the north the phrase was coined ‘We the North.’ It was an incredible season last year culminating in Toronto winning their first NBA title, and as the only Canadian team and the only non-US team in the NBA it was really the whole country of Canada, coast to coast, that was glued to their sets for their incredible and successful run through the playoffs and finally the Championship series.

          1. I’ve lived all my live in the province of Quebec — first half in Quebec City, and in Montreal for the last 24 years.
            I’m not a basketball fan. I’m not a Drake fan — probably couldn’t recognize any of his songs.
            I know what “We the North” is, but had never heard of Toronto being referred to as ‘The 6’.
            So I totally disagree that “everyone in North America” knows that Toronto is ‘The 6’.
            Every knows Toronto as “Tee Ohh”, “Hogtown”, or even “Hollywood North”. Knowing it “The 6” is a resident-of-Toronto thing, imo.

          2. @mtlracer Lol Fair comment. Latifi does say everyone in NA “especially if you listen to Drake.” Not that I do, but if you’re a Raptors fan, you tend to learn a few things about Drake along the way. And he’s a Toronto boy, so…no real surprise. I do wonder if when Latifi says everyone in NA he is perhaps considering the Drake/Toronto Raptors tie-in as I think it is fair to say that every city in the US that has an NBA team would likely know of Toronto as the six through their teams playing ours. And through the Raptors going through the whole playoffs and winning the title in 2019. I’m sure when Indycar comes to town they come to The Six too.

  4. ”Rosberg’s six has become available for selection as drivers’ career numbers are reserved for their up to two years after leaving the championship.”
    – A number stays reserved for a specific driver for ‘one’ full-year after leaving F1, though. I’ve lived to that knowledge/understanding. For example, Brendon Hartley chose #28 as his designated F1 race-number at the tail-end of 2017 even though two full-years hadn’t yet had passed since Will Stevens, the previous #28-occupant had left F1.

    1. Lewisham Milton
      20th January 2020, 13:17

      Hartley should have got a grid penalty for that then…

      Good to see 6 back on a Williams.

  5. Another reason might be because of the 6 figure sum he paid to get his drive. Well no I tell a lie, it’s more like a 7 figure sum, but I guess Raikkonen already took that ;)

    1. It’s probably more like 8 figures, but RoGro has 8…

  6. Nicolas isn’t fooling anyone, he’s choosing the famous Williams “White 6” because he is a massive Riccardo Patrese fan. ;)

  7. Why is it a trend that newcomers (or returnees in Kubica’s case) take a number that had been previously used by other drivers?

    Take a different number; Forge your own legacy and all the rest of that malarkey.

    1. To be fair, nobody is expecting a Latifi legacy. I mean I hope he does well but not counting much on it.

    2. There is no legacy to be had. Nobody thinks of Nico Rosberg and thinks “his legendary number 6”. You can count the number of drivers who will actually be mentally associated with a number once their career is done on one hand, disregarding asinine Twitter hashtags.

      1. @klon Yeah for me it is Gilles #27.

      2. @klon Yep, along with Gilles as mentioned by Robbie, the only three I can think of off the top of my head are Mansell’s 5, Hamilton’s 44 and Schumacher’s 1. MotoGP racers are much more strongly linked to their numbers in my mind.

  8. The only justification a driver needs to give for a racing number is that he can’t have #1 unless he’s defending champion. Period. :)

  9. 6 stands for the number of race he will win this year!

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