Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monaco, 2021

Verstappen will “absolutely” swap 33 for number one on his car if he wins title

2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

[raceweekendpromotion]Max Verstappen will leap at the opportunity to carry the number one on his Formula 1 car if he wins the world championship this year.

The Red Bull driver has used the number 33 since he made his grand prix debut with Toro Rosso in 2015. Under rules introduced the year before, only the reigning world champion is permitted to use the number one instead of their chosen career number.

As a result, no driver has raced with the number one on their car since 2014, when reigning champion Sebastian Vettel had it.

Lewis Hamilton has been entitled to use it for several seasons during that time, but has preferred to stick with his usual number 44 instead. He has occasionally had an additional number one added to his car at practice sessions for the final race of the season.

However when asked by RaceFans today Verstappen made it clear he will swap his usual number 33 for number one if he gets the chance.

“Absolutely,” he said. “How many times to you have the opportunity to drive with number one?

“And it’s good for merchandise as well so it’s smart to do that.”

Verstappen leads the championship by 19 points with four races remaining but pointed out he cannot take anything for granted at this stage.

“In four races a lot of things can happen,” he said. “We are looking good but things can change very quickly. I said it after the race in Mexico, I’ve had a bigger lead already in the championship and that disappeared within two races.

“So we have to again try to do the best we can here and again after this weekend we’ll try again to try and win the race. My approach every weekend is the same, we will not change it.”

He insisted he isn’t allowing himself to consider the possibility of winning the world championship yet. “It’s very simple, to be honest, if you don’t think about it, you don’t have any dreams or whatever. So I’m just really focused.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

Browse all 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix articles

16 comments on “Verstappen will “absolutely” swap 33 for number one on his car if he wins title”

  1. I prefer LH’s approach of using 44 all the time. It becomes your identity.

    Wonder if Lewis will race with #1 in the last race of the season, just in case he isn’t eligible for it next year.

    1. I don’t think he is allowed to change numbers mid-season. There was one FP1 exception but that was for photographs.

  2. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    11th November 2021, 18:31

    “And it’s good for merchandise as well so it’s smart to do that.”

    If that prevents you from having to move to Renault, I’d say that’s worth every single dime too!

  3. Another reason for me to cheer for him this season. I so much prefer the number 1 on last season’s winner in all series.

    Anyways, a useless addition to this: that would make Red Bull a single number team again with Perez being number 11. (Ricciardo-Verstappen was 3-33)

  4. Well, I guess that he’d be the first new, ie. first time, champion to defend his title since the driver-numbers got in right? In fact, he’d be the first to defend his first title since Vettel defended his 2010 title in 2011 more than a decade ago (time flies, he’d be the first new champion since 5 years if he wins this season).

    Anyway, my point is, it clearly is a bit more special for him in that sense than it has been for Hamilton, and the 2015 was also the 1st season where a driver could choose to use his own number rather than that 1, so in that sense, not doing it at the time was special. So, good for Verstappen then.

  5. Why don’t put both on the car. I like to see their own number as well as who is the defending champion.

    Should not be to hard to arrange that.

    Or maybe as in cycling, where the Olympic champion or national champions have different flags on their sleeve’s.

    There is enough space on the car to just place any number/sign/etc.

    Just be proud to show that you won last year. To me it is like Lewis is superstitious or something.

    1. Superstition in a sense maybe but he stated that he see’s every season as a brand new challenge and didn’t want a constant reminder that he was already champion as he felt it would affect his hunger. Solid and humble reasoning if you ask me.

  6. Till this day I didn’t digest this nascarish/motogp-ish move of identifying drivers by numbers when I believe the most sensible approach is to permanently mark the cars, as they are almost everlasting whereas drivers come and go all the time.

    I mean, who the hell is gonna remember m4x chilton or ni6olas latifi?! Also those Val77777eri, Carlo55ainz, H44444milton, V33rstapp33n… it is so corny that is of a bad taste.

    Probably a lonely voice here but, whatever.

    1. Till this day I didn’t digest this nascarish/motogp-ish move of identifying drivers by numbers

      ok, edit: “…move of drivers retaining numbers.’

  7. If Max becomes WDC and swap number to 1 can a rookie take number 33 or is that number reserved for Max if he loses the WDC let say the year after?

    1. RandomMallard (@)
      11th November 2021, 22:22

      @kavu A number has to be unused for two full seasons (I think) before it can be picked by a new driver. Hence why Latifi could pick number 6, as it had been more than 2 years since Rosberg retired, but Russell, Norris or Albon could not have picked number 22 (Button’s number) when they joined in 2019 because it hadn’t been two full seasons since Button’s last appearance in Monaco in 2017. The same reason I don’t think anyone can pick 27 (Hulkenberg) until 2023, as he last appeared in the 2020 season.

      Additionally, I believe the Champion’s normal race number is reserved indefinitely while/if they’re using the number 1, so I don’t think a rookie would be able to take it

      1. My understanding is this.

        Should Verstappen win the championship this year: in 2022 he can use #1 (reigning world champion’s right) or #33 that he has now.

        Regarding the 2022 championship…
        > He wins, can use #1 or #33 in 2023
        > He doesn’t win, can only use #33 in 2023

  8. This reminds me of the famous Kevin Keegan interview in 1996…

  9. There’s nothing like having no. 1 on your car. I’ve never understood why Hamilton didn’t want to change his. No. 1 is numero uno – you’ve worked so hard to become champion so why not parade it around with the No. 1? I miss the old rules that governed F1 since its inception (I guess) where the World Champion gets no. 1 by default and his team-mate gets no. 2 and the team gets the first garage in the pit lane. Schumacher took the no. 1 to Ferrari from Benetton, Alonso took the no. 1 to McLaren from Renault, Hill took the no. 1 to Arrows from Williams. In all these cases the teams the drivers went to were gifted 1 – 2 by the World Champion drivers who went there, having done all the effort in their previous teams.

  10. What does it mean “if he wins a title”? He already won it.

    1. He already deserves it, counting his unforced dnf’s.
      But still has te receive it and beating his opponent to do that.

Comments are closed.