F1 Winter Break
What’s in a number?
What’s in a number?
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Jan 2010   |  8:07 pm GMT  |  212 comments

Michael Schumacher has swapped his racing number from Four to Three ahead of this season’s world championship. The move was approved by Mercedes, who have had it accepted by the FIA.

Picture 17
“Michael has a preference for odd numbers, ” said a team spokesman. “He asked if he could be the odd number and we were happy to accept.”

Nothing particularly odd about that, one might say. It’s simply a case of Schumacher being superstitious about racing with odd numbers on his car. He did it throughout his Benetton and Ferrari careers.

“Ross [Brawn] knows that I like odd numbers,” Schumacher is quoted as saying.

Three is an immensely significant number for Schumacher for good and bad reasons; he was carrying number three on his car when he had the only serious accident of his F1 career, at Silverstone in 1999. And he was carrying it again a year later when he won Ferrari’s first world championship for 21 years, still what he considers to be the high point of his career.

Schumacher is known for his superstitions. He liked to carry a toy hairbrush his daughter gave him in his overalls pocket and he also had an amulet from his wife he liked to carry. Other drivers have had their superstitions too; for much of his early F1 career David Couthard had a pair of lucky underpants he wore – until they wore out.

In today’s coverage of this story there is no word from Nico Rosberg, who was originally down to race car number three and who is now in car four. There is no quote from him saying that it’s no big deal.

There is no implicit suggestion in this that Schumacher has now become team leader. The only identification of a ‘lead car’ from a team arises in conjunction with the colour coding for the onboard cameras in F1 – the lead car carries an orange camera, the second car a yellow one. In FIA and FOM identification terms therefore, Schumacher’s is the lead car of the Mercedes team.

Is there anything we can take away from this episode? Only that Rosberg has made way for Schumacher’s request. Read into that what you will.

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Same old Michael, nothing new. If Mercedes had 22 and 23 like Brawn did last year would he have gone for the number two 23 car?


Well I guess that's the way things work for sport people, and probably not just for them, many football players and manager do this as well, if it pays out, great.


Ha Ha - point well made. However James who would seriously argue who is going to emerge as No 1 in this team - unless either Michaels return is a massive publicity stunt or there is something still wrong with Michaels neck after all the hype - sorry Nico


If he thinks he's getting number 1 next year he'd better think again 😉


And so Schumacher's mind games begin...


I really doubt Rosberg would see himself above Schumacher in the first place! He knows this and will probably use the partnership as a good time to learn from the master.


Yep, Rosberg is being made to feel junior regardless to whatever Brawn says 🙂


Didn't Schumacher forget the amulet once before a race and had to send someone to the hotel to go get it! Or am I making that up?


And so the games begin. Sorry Nico, you just got the first of many of Michael's hand me downs.


FIA won’t let Peter Sauber change name of his team, though his team doesn’t have anything to do with BMW anymore. But F1 (read FIA)’s son can walk onto grid last moment and get his car number swapped, without hassle go figure.


I don't think that is 100% right, pretty sure Sauber had the chance, but kept the name as is... Don't know why, maybe he has a BMW sponsorship deal in his pocket? Doubt it though, due to the Ferrari engine onboard now.


The FIA won't let the team change their name without the agreement of ALL the other teams, and Peter Sauber, has not asked the other teams. They would all realistically say yes, since it doesn't really affect them, but the point is, he has not asked.

Prisoner Monkeys

The FIA has nothing to do with Sauber's name change. They have to apply to the FIA in order to change it, yes, but the only real condition of it is that the other teams unanimously agree to it. Peter Sauber himself has said that he has not filed to change the team's name because it is not a priority.

Stop reading into things that aren't there.


I don't think Peter Sauber has requested the name change yet. He'll presumably want to wait until he has a title sponsor in place as he will only be able to change the name once.

Remember that it was later than this last year that Honda F1 Racing became Brawn GP.

I don't think the FiA or the other teams will have any issue with him dropping BMW from the team name, I think he just needs to know what he's changing it to before he does so.


I agree on the part that Peter is still trying to cut deal to find Title sponsor logic, and agreement of other teams etc. But that is not what has been making rounds in media. Its already making rounds that the name change couldn't be done on "Technical" grounds. And in F1 the "Technical" grounds are always how FIA wants to interpret it, or rather "who" has made the request to interpret it.


Because when your 7 times, you can do pretty much anything U want buddy ..


Lets not even bring the 7 times thing in this. there is some or other controversy associated with each of the 7 times, and those controversies were more related to off track manipulations, in cahoots with rule makers(rather rule interpreters). Only 2004 where his car was way too superior than competition that his team didn't resort to off track manipulations...


Either stipulate those controversies or do not make these sort of comments. It just makes you appear dumb and lame.


Does Keke Rosberg attend all the races ... i bet he'd now 🙂


I happen to have an aversion to odd numbers perhaps because I'm already odd, and need balance so I prefer even numbers to offset my oddity. Actually I do like 11, but it's 2 #1's so that's kind of an even number. 16 is fav. even though it is one of the unluckiest numbers in Indy 500 history. Yup, I'm a Gemini, I eat in twos. Call me crazy, oh yeah like a Michael Schumacher. Check my weblink in sig if you want more samples of how crazy. Oh yeah, born on 11th because I waited 5 days after 6,6,66. So 11 is special being the only odd number besides 1 that I like, though 3 is ok, works for book titles and comedy.


must stop laughing...great!




Thanks for that odd comment!

Stephen Kellett JAF1

He's just trying to work a devil reference in there. Did you see all those sixes?


That's actually 616 not 666, we watchers of QI know this kind of stuff!

All the same I expect his light switches get more than average use, and his door locks are checked at least 6 times when he leaves his home.

He would be in good company, David Mitchell (of Mitchell and Webb and the Peep Show fame) is just the same and he is a brilliant guy.


Rosberg... be prepared this is the beginning of the end of you having any say on anything ever again..... No wonder there are no quotes....


I think that Nico is spending a lot of time with Rubens these days:-)


Schumacher weaving his magic on the team already!


It will only be for one year anyway 😉

I would not be entirely surprised to see him as WDC next year (and that comes from me as a Hamilton and Button supporter).

Remembering that Brawn got away with slowing/stopping dev on the 2009 car in about June, I am expecting something pretty special out of the tech dept again.

Couple that to MS and RB being back together, and a Merc engine in the back, the basic ingredients are there.

I hope McClaren come out on top with the best car, as I cannot wait to see the comp between Jenson and Lewis.

It will be closer than a lot of people think (but I am clearly in the minority on that point so no point replying to my post on that score LOL :0)


Let's not forget that he'll also probably have the referee on his side what with Todt being his and Brawn's best buddy


McClaren? is that a new team no-one has been told about?

surely as a fan of Jenson and Lewis you'd know their team, (the second oldest in F1) is spelt McLaren


Mr Picky or wot


There probably isnt anything to read into this but no doubt this will start a flood of "Schumi is Number 1 driver" talk.

James this wouldnt have anything to do with the fact he has been 3 years out of the sport? Probably not! He should have picked Zero like Damon Hill 🙂


That was only available when the world champion didn't defend his title, 1993 - Mansell was in USA, 1994 - Prost had retired


Funny how that happened in two consecutive years, but to my knowledge hasn't happened prior (could be wrong here) and in 16 years onward hasn't happened again...

Keeping with the theme, what is in a number. Why in so many other premier motorsports around the world, your number is your number. Yet all FIA sanctioned events, they are in finishing order?

In early years Ferrari was known if not the champions, that they ran with 27 and 28, end of story, same with Williams and the 5 (red if mansell) and 6.

In Nascar, teams have an opportunity to build a brand around a number. eg. Jack Daniels OLD number 7, was used on that particular car number. The weird thing is the number 1 is reserved for/was for Martin Truex Jnr's ride, even though he has never been a champ. And of course champion or not the Late Barry Sheene and master Rossi using 7 and 46 in MotoGp...

What are your thoughts, do you not think F1 is a bit too set in its ways?

And one last thought... the T BAR cameras.. huge and cumbersome. Not recording in HD. NASCAR(in HD too)/MOTOGP/WRC tiny cameras which are hardly noticeable, and in the American versions, the cameras actually spin around on command to see side on views when a pass is happening. I remember seeing many years back, maybe mid 90's one of the f1 cars had a camera at the footwell to see the drivers braking and throttling, and then never again, so the technology has even been used before, but never again...

Anything happening in F1 like this, the onboard stuff is pretty much the same for the last 10 years in F1. And most other series have overtaken F1 in terms of creativity as a TV show.

Also on cameras. Why at Spa, did we see two measly angles of the 1st lap accident. And there were at least 7 cars with cameras forward and backward to see what happened who were involved in the accident. We know its there, but wasn't shown to us. Its 'reserved' for the end of year DVD... which is locked down to just region 2 (euro) and is an import for everyone out of that zone at ridiculous prices. Why??

It's time for FOTA to take their finger out don't you think??

They should travel to the States and see how a Nascar race is produced! Didn't think I would ever say that, but it is what it is!


Jody Schekter raced number 0 in a few races I do believe.

Could have also seen Raikonnen take Number 0 in 2007 had Schumacher won the title that year...


I agree, even BTCC has swivelling cameras, driver links to the commentator (who can talk to the driver during safety car sessions) and animated driver logos on the on-screen identifier.

But no doubt Bernie's company (one or some, of the many) who supply the cameras and tv feeds has not invested in new tech.

I would also like the timing graphics changed back to how ITV had them orignally, they are not "old git" friendly now, the previous layout was much easier to see and to take in the time gaps.


Maybe half the camera pods are empty, just like many red light cameras on the road. Saves cash and nobody's any the wiser until we discover there's no footage.


Ah, but you do get some marvellous shots of wheels going round on a bit of tarmac and suspension bars flexing. With these, why on earth should anyone want to watch the actual racing?!!?


Poor Rosberg, I'm sure he'll understand. Working for the right team at the wrong time. He'll never be a priority to Mercedes, 🙁


With the words coming from Brawn's direction at the moment, I think it's obvious.


Nico needs to get out of that team (Schumacher's team), as soon as possible.


Anyone seen a number on a car recently? They used to be prominent on centre of the nose, but now they are almost invisible, though the rules say they must be on the car.

If we had all known about Shumi's superstition he may have seemed a bit more human some years back. Mind you a toy hairbrush in a crash could be the thing that circumvents the safety cell environment and kills you as it stabs you at 6G.


i much preferred it back in the day, when you could see car numbers large on the side, and drivers wore simple and easily identifiable helmets.

now, the numbers are tiny, helmets are forgetable multicoloured fancy designs, and my 30 year old eyes have trouble picking picking up whether it's a yellow or orange t-piece on a car that flashing round at 150mph...!


30! Hardly out of nappies! Just wait until you're 60 odd, Us old gits have first dibs on complaining.

So as I understand it, the only time a car number is actually visible is either when you are super rich or lucky and get to go in the pit lane, or just before it runs you over.

I agree with most above that numbers should be visible from the sides too.


Red 5 is alive


It is in the rules that the number must be on the nose, visible from the front.. If you stand in front of the cars you will see it, but from most camera angles it's hard to see. It used to be on the side of the car too, normally the rear-wing endplates, but that seems to have gone out of fassion since the late 90s...

They should bring it back really, since with the high side cockpits it's hard to see the drivers helmet most of the time, and personally, remembering which 13 drivers have a red camera rather than yellow is not easy.


thanks for the image! 😀 death by hairbrush...i suppose at 6G and the much higher G's experienced during deceleration in a crash though it would probably hit you with the force of a grenade..


Thanks, I aim to please, or if not, then to stimulate replies. 😉


It's equally possible that Nico didn't make way, but that when pressed, Ross Brawn backed down on his "no favourites" mantra from last year.

If I were Nico, I'd be making for the door.


And go where exactly ❓


Well he can't go anywhere this year, but he left Williams to start winning races and championships, ie not to be "held back". All he's going to get from now on is "held back" by Mr. S. Since he's been effectively dropped by Merc PR, and has been requested to roll over and give Mr S what he wants, even if it's trivial and unimportant, he now has a choice: Make a hard decision to move (probably back to Williams) or end up like Rubens, who has no shortage of bad feelings about his time at Ferrari.


Schumacher has only ever raced once in a car bearing an even number .... and he didn't complete the first lap (it was his debut, carrying the #32 for Jordan).


rosberg has to beat him clearly if he doesnt want to end up like barrichello


Don't think he's that good 🙂


Only way he can do it is switch of the pit radio and drive on same set of tyres till checkered flag. Coz even if he beats Michael on race start , the "Master tactician" can change things under him by "strategy switch" .. Remember Barca'09 😀


Good point about Barca 09 Williams. Barrichello got stuffed over big time from the team. He simply had to cover Button's strategy to finish in front of Button. But the team sneakily changed Button's strategy to give him the edge over Rubens.

If Button had the technical problems that Barrichello had last year, and was given the shafted treatment by Brawn, then he would not have been champion. Simple. Barca '09 best demonstrates this.


MIght Schumacher be doing this to try and see if he can get his own way with Mercedes?


Duh... Superstitions.. Now i hope he doesnt add an extra 'R' at the end of his name or an extra 'S' at the beginning before the season starts.. !



Not at all surprised by this. Schumi's getting his own way even before a wheel has been turned.

Even though it's a petty and unimportant issue, if I were Rosberg, I'd be feeling a little bit disgruntled nonetheless.


"Only that Rosberg has made way for Schumacher’s request. Read into that what you will."

Rosberg knows this is his sink or swim moment. If he says he'll win and subsequently loses, his chances of a(nother) top drive are gone. If he says, "I'll learn from the man himself" then he'll have a shred of a chance to win the WDC when Schumacher re-retires.


LOL. He prefers odd numbers in the range 1-12, and would prefer even numbers in the range 14-upwards, if that ever arose.


good one:-)




I find it difficult to believe Schumacher has a preference for odd numbers for any other reason than it implying he is the lead driver.


A bit more on this subject:

M Schumacher's numbers and F1:

Ran #32 Jordan Ford to an impressive 7th on the grid at Belgian GP 1991. Clutch broke at Eau Rouge on opening lap after stunning start.

Drove #19 Benetton Ford in late 1991 and 1992. Took this number to his first win.

Drove #5 Benetton Ford in 1993 and 1994. Took this number (the same he used in F3) to his first World Title.

Drove #1 Benetton in 1995, then a #1 Ferrari in 1996.

Took back his lucky #5 in 1997. Went on to be disqualified from the World Championship after the last race.

Entered the next three years driving a #3 Ferrari. Lost the championship at the last race in 1998, broke his legs in 1999, before finaly clinching the championship in 2000.

He would subsequently enter the next five championships driving a #1 Ferrari.

The final year of his first Formula One career saw MS driving a #5 Ferrari (as in 1997). He took the championship race to the final races.


Seems a tad convenient that his superstition automatically means he has to be given the lead car (unless the team had finished outside the top 6, in which case I don't think we'd have seen Schuey return to F1 anyway!)

Means nothing to me, its inevitable anyway. Anyone (including Rosberg) kidding themselves that Schuey won't be the number 1 and preferred driver by Brawn is dillusional!


I think everyone in the world besides Nico's mum and dad accept that he is now the firm #2 at Merc. He has not earned the right to parity.

In my opinion Nico will take it in good grace and try to learn as much as he can. It's hardly a massive hit to the ego to be second to Michael.


Tell that to Rubens.

To be honest I don't think that this is a major issue, and the whole idea of lead cars and number one drivers is all a bit pointless.

The number one driver is going to be the guy who is consistently beating the other one. I hope that is what Nico is focusing on as anything else is a petty distraction.

If it's superstition and lucky charms that make the difference then expect Nico to have a brace of Rabbit feet around his neck. He is going to need them


good comments - James why didn't you put anything in your book about Michael's superstitions? because it was a sign of weakness maybe?

But dont some of the others have similar things - Vettels coin in shoe disclosed by Martin Brundle to Seb's obvious discomfort - Jenson (I think) only getting in the car on one side another driver had odd shoes on either foot - (any others you can disclose James?)


It's in there about the hairbrush etc


I suppose he would really have liked No 1 !


It's the only one that actually matters.


Great article James. I was never a Schumacher fan, but I am excited about his return and the extra buzz there is around f1 as a consequence. However, this I think is just the start of him flexing his muscles within the team. How long until Nico drops a place due to a "long brake pedal" and allows Michael to pass?


Respect for the elderly.


That is equally tongue-in-cheek as the request that starte this article


nice one young man!!


I read into it that Rosberg has enough brains to realise that the number stuck on his car will neither help nor hinder him.

(Who's in car 22 this year, by the way?)


If it's a british driver in a Merc powered car then the championship will be decided in Brazil...

...oh, doesn't look like it is so I guess that pattern is out the window!!



I love it! A wheel hasn't been turned yet and Schumacher is already stamping his authority. Of course he likes odd numbers because it will mean he will always be one ahead of his team mate. Call it attention to detail or even gamesmanship if you like but please do not consider it to be superstition.

This is the first concession Rosberg has had to make and I wonder how many more there will be over the season?


First is the number, next will be pit strategy and qualifying position. It'll all come to a head when they ask "Britney" to pull over for Michael on the rare occasions that Rosberg is ahead... 😀


Everyone is saying that Nico will have to pull over for MS. recall that Massa might have won the Chamspionship in O8 if he had not "pulled over" for kimi several times when Ferrari thought Kimi was sure bet for the WDC. James any comment?


James, the term the commentator used (I think it was yourself and Martin Brundle) was that Ferrari "switched" the cars during refuelling. if you recall at the last Brazillian GP of the season after Lewis had won the WDC, the commentator said if Ferrari had concentrated more on Massa at the beginning/middle of the season, maybe he would have earned the extra points needed.

I can't prove that Ferrari switched the cars (unlike the MS & Barachello last lap incident) then.

Anyway, I'm a MS fan and will not miss a single race this season (hopefully).


Don't see the former happening, and as for the latter - what examples would you give of Massa pulling over for Kimi?


Mind games:

Schumacher 1 V 0 Rosberg


surely only if Nico lets it get to him

Stephen Kellett JAF1

Its only mind games if you are foolish to think it is important.


Hard to interpret this news! but definetely Nico Rosberg is getting sidelined by the team.

as you can see from their press statements / interviews.


It was Schumi who first took the coveted number 1 with him after winning the championship at Benetton in the 90s. You could say that the number 1 status is equally coveted now by sponsors and drivers alike.

Some top athletes are notoriously superstitious although Schumi is one of the few with the on track record to suggest it helped make a difference.

Spare a thought for Damon Hill, one of only 2 drivers to sport ‘zero’ on the nose of the car. The other driver being Jody Scheckter.

It is perhaps significant that for all the talk of team play/orders and the constructors championship it is Button who next season retains number 1 status. Does anyone know what number Vettel will have as reward for runner up position last year?

James, does the 3rd driver automatically take over the number of the second driver when required? Just wondering what would happen if Luca Badoer was called up to stand in for Button. Admittedly very unlikely.


I think Gary Paffett is slightly more likely to stand in for one of the McLaren drivers than Ferraris fourth driver?!!?!?


Vettel will have number 5 I believe, and Webber 6, unless they switch.


The third driver take the number of the guy he replaces


Hang on a minute James - I thought the racing numbers were dictated by the previous year's finishing positions? Surely Rubens should be number 3?


No, 1 is the world champ, then the rest follow in Constructors' Championship order.


Has it always been that way? I seem to remember it being different in the 1990s.



I know that now it goes in championship order, but what happened to the WDC having number one, then the champion team (assuming the WDC isn't with them) had the choice? I remember when Ferrari always had 27 & 28, I think McLaren tended to go for 11 & 12 unless Ferrari were champs, in which case they took 27 & 28..

I want to see the 27 & 28 back on the scarlet ferraris. Lets get rid of that corporate Marlboro red!!!

Stephen Kellett JAF1

Does that mean you could have:

#1 Alonso, Ferrari,

#2 Hamilton, McLaren

#3 Button, McLaren,

#4 Massa, Ferrari,

#5 Schumacher, Mercedes

#5 Rosberg, Mercedes

... etc

Not saying anything with the above, just is that possible? From what you say, it is.


I yearn for the days gone by when the World Champion was number 1, his team mate number 2, and everyone else was essentially random. In that time a drivers number was almost like his helmet design - immediately identifiable. Senna had 12 through the Lotus days and took it to McLaren, Villeneuve was synonymous with 27, Mansell with 5 and so on (just as we see in other sports, such as cricket , basketball etc)

Is it the teams preference to have this new, sterile system? Far from making the numbers have more value, I feel that they are now pretty meaningless.


I disagree that a driver’s number was identifiable.

Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, teams kept the same numbers – except that the team of the world champion driver would always have 1 & 2, and they would swap numbers with the team that succeeded them. For example, Tyrrell had 3 & 4 for years, Lotus had 11 & 12, Ferrari had 27 & 28, etc. So a driver’s number was identifiable if he didn’t become world champion and if he stayed at the same team. Mansell had 5 at Williams, because Williams had 5 & 6 all that time. But at Lotus he drove 43 & 12 and at Ferrari he drove 27 & 2. Senna had 12 at Lotus (the 12 that Mansell had previously had) and took 12 to McLaren because the reigning world champion Nelson Piquet took the No 1 to Lotus and they had to swap numbers with McLaren.

I always find the Villeneuve and 27 link quite amazing. Yes, they are forever associated in my mind, too, but actually he drove the No 27 for less than a season and a half. In 1978 and 1979 I think he had No 12 and in 1980 No 2. It was only 1981 and 1982 until his untimely death that he drove 27. But I guess it was the miracles he worked with that ungainly 1981 Ferrari that cemented the legend of Villeneuve and 27.

(The other question is: why on earth can I remember this stuff? I'm sure there are more useful things I ought to remember instead…)


Maybe I should have more correctly said that the numbers have a more identifiable relationship with a team, rather than driver, as you rightly point out. That still gives the old system value, in my opinion, because like you - after all this time - I still remember Williams 5/6, Lotus 11/12, Ligier 25/26, Ferrari 26/27....

Now they change virtually every year, I have no association with numbers (besides #1, of course)


I agree with champion's team getting 1-2 but rest should stay constant. As for cameras Indycar and CART before had awesome camera in HD, sidepod articulating cameras sweep from front to back, and the Paul Tracy helmet cam, and the more rediculous Danica foot cam.

In F1 we'll need a Schuey chin cam.


I wonder if the conversation between Ross Brawn and Nico about the number swap was spoken in present tense or past tense, or whether he found out by reading the papers.


Superstition, eh? My, my... Do we fans really seem so naive, Herr Schumacher?

Schumacher didn't win his titles because he had a certain number written on his car, did he?

Does a 41 year old man (who won the F1 world championship title 7 times) really need to play these kind of power games with his younger team mate? He has achieved everything in the sport, why is it so hard to show a little respect towards his team mate? What does Schumacher want to prove with this whole "I want your racing number!" thing???

I've been supporting the Brackley based team for years. While I hope, they can repeat the success of the 2009 dream season this year, I also fear, that Schumacher's arrival will change the team in a negative way. It would be more than disappointing to see the team favouring one driver over the other in the same way Ferrari favoured Schumacher in the past.


This brings me back to my favorite point..

How could you have supported the Brackley based team for many years?

According to ALL reviews the brackley based team was a NEW team for last year!?!? What rubbbish!!

Brawn was Honda, Honda was BAR, BAR was Tyrrell, and Tyrrell started racing in 1968.

Ok you could say there was a substantial change in 1999 when BAR started in Brackely, but there was still a substantial part of Tyrrell in the team.

What constitutes a new team? new Boss, new Name, new engine supplier? to me neither Honda NOR Brawn are new teams, they may have changed ownership, but they were the same team.

did Liverpool become a new Football team when the american bought the team? did Arsenal become a new team when they moved to the emirates stadium?

To me, same people, same location, SAME TEAM!!!


Well to be fair, Nico has taken over Rubens side of the garage, so he is stepping into what would have been the number 2 car.


This would not need to be decided if the FIA assigned each team's pair of numbers according to each drivers' championship position in the previous season, rather than letting the teams and/or drivers choose who gets which number (drivers' champion excepted). Assigning the number pairs to each team according to the constructors' championship results is very sensible - much better than the illogical mess of many racing series - but it leaves the job half done because the teams' choices sometimes fail to reflect the drivers' standings, as in this case.


on a completely irrelevant note, this link shows pictures of the official Ferrari 2010 livery whilst alonso was driving for a Santander tv ad


Oh Dear, it reminds me of the hopelessly slow and unreliable Ferrari of 1993. Terrible looking...they should have kept the car red and just the decals white it would have much easier on the eye. The teams spend all that money on the car then (seem to)totally neglect the same effort on the livery...


Is this photo for real??

The barcodes are pretty much gone!!

More importantly under with all F1 teams under a testing ban until the end of the month how have Ferrari managed to get Alonso in the car already?? let the cheating begin....


Jon, it's not the 2010 car.


That back wing is an eyesore, red and white...no....


is that really it - its just Santander - where are the rest of the sponsors logos?

Stephen Kellett JAF1


One of the things that Ferraris have that no other team has is really ugly wing mirror supports. Whenever I look at them I always wonder why they are done like that. They look bad and do not look particularly aerodynamic.

No other team has wing mirror supports like this.

I haven't seen any commentary on this anywhere.

Do you have any insight on this? I know is seems trivial in one aspect, but I'm puzzled that Ferrari haven't gone in a similar direction to the other teams, or vice versa.


They are actually air guides, the mirror is more or less incidental and is only there to enable the air guides to be called mirror supports.


Rosberg should n't have allowed this. Especially given that Mr. R Brawn prefers to have a lead driver. This is a battle he could've easily won as everybody knew that he was number 3. This would have told MS and Brawn that he would n't be walk-over. Or possibly he traded something.

I am sure Alonso would've loved the number 7 on his car but Massa would kill him if he even hinted.


Funnily enough, unless you are in a team that has numbers assigned below the dreaded number 13, the lead car is ALWAYS the one with the odd number. Schumacher would know this, so would Rosberg and so would Brawn.

What's Rosberg going to do? Complain and have himself potrayed as a spoilt brat? It's just a number, so he's probably going to let it slide and let people make their own judgements about Schumacher, not about him.


It's becomming clearer by the day that this team is "Team Michael and Michael" in all but name.

Nico may as well start scouring the market for a new drive in 2011 as it appears he'll be getting no change from Brawn and co. Pity.


yeah! Looks like Nico is getting lined up to be the next Barichello!! Already there is a talk of getting Vettel over to Mercedes once his contract with Redbull runs out which will coincide with Michael finally retiring with 10 world titles and 125 GP wins!!


If Nick Heidfeld is really who Renault are most interested in, then if I were Nico Rosberg I'd be on the phone to Mercedes and Renault to try and negotiate a swap.

You've got to wonder whether the interests of all parties would be better served in the long term with that kind of arrangement, because it looks like Ross and Michael are well on the way to replicating the Ferrari of old at Mercedes.


And so it starts....Poor Nico, he is gonna get shafted all the way.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Yep. Eddie Irvine said that being Schuey's team mate was like being constantly being hit over the head by a cricket bat.

Nico....please look at the Gray Nicholls website...I believe they do an excellent line in helmets!


Eddie Irvine is a very fast racing driver. One of the best. He made that comment more in relation to how fast Michael Schumacher is as a racing driver.

All we know is that Jenson Button got favoured last year at Brawn. But, credit to Brawn, without him Rubens would have been left driveless for 2009. Let's wait for the evidence before we jump to conclusions that Brawn is going to again, this year, favour one driver over the other.


Other than number 1, I don't think there is really a lot in a number for drivers in F1. Well, that's how I see it! If you're not first, you're last!


Nico probably doesn't give a thrupenny bit what number is on his car. I certainly don't think he sat in the Mercedes factory bleating to Norbert about the big bad Micheal stealing his number.

Indeed he's probably got a little smirk that something so small can be enough for Schumacher to feel that it has to be remedied.


Thank you for being one of the very few to write any sense about this puffed-up tripe. Who is the main man will be decided on the race track and tht's that. Admittedly Schumi starts with a huge advantage there, but Nico has youth on his side and Schumi has been playing away for three years, which is a big disadvantage, even for him.

IMHO I have to say that the old firm of Brawn and Schumi need to be considered the front runner, simply on their past form. The new Merc will build on the design of one of the fastest non-KERS cars out there and it's backed by the builder of the best F1 engine out there. What more can you say?


In recent days Ross Brawn had declared that he is convinced Michael will be world champion next year. I think it's obvious who is number one driver...


@ GP

Brawn was asked who he thought will be WDC among the current WDCs, Michael, Alonso, Hamilton and Button? Strange that part - the question to which he answered Michael - somehow didn't make it into the news.


Yes, obviously I missed the question part. Thanks



I think you should read the question asked of Ross Brawn – you may then like to recomment as I don't believe Nico has ever been a world champion....

Do you need help fining the actual interview with the questions asked.....

Stephen Kellett JAF1

Anyone that thinks Rosberg is the teams lead driver is living in Cloud Cuckoo Land. Rosberg knows that and so does everyone else. The number and colour of the cameras/wing mirrors is meaningless. Schu is clearly the superior of the two drivers.


Surely the number a driver is assigned is a management decision. Unless it was specified in Rosberg's Brawn-era contract he has no say in the matter. Given that it's his perogative, why would Ross even raise the subject when disagreement could only create friction? And why would Nico raise it when no good can come from it? Even Keke should hold his tongue - save it for the disputes of greater consequence which will appear soon enough.


I wonder if Michael's insistence on having an odd number but also a lower number than his team mate was the reason Ferrari abandoned the traditional 27 and 28 on their cars in 1997 (They had 1 and 2 in 1996, but that was to be expected as MS had won the title. In the past, if they did not have 1 and 2 they always had 27 and 28).


I also recall that he did away with the 27 / 28 tradition at Ferrari upon his arrival there in 1996. Clearly there is a number hierarchy at play here otherwise he would have settled for 27 wouldn't he?


Would be interested in a further article from you James, analysing what the mood might be like at Mercedes next year.

Free from Ferrari's shackles, Brawn managed to build up a strong brand with a loyal fanbase. But now its Mercedes and Schumacher has returned to his side, are we going to see another Ron-Hakkinen relationship here? It's well known Ron couldn't help himself but support Mika over DC, as much as he said he treated both drivers equally (DC said as much in his autobiography).

How intense was the relationship between Brawn and Schuey at Ferrari? I admired Brawn greatly for the way he treated Button and Barrichello last season when both were in strong contention for the championship, especially when Barrichello started criticising the team in the media. Will Schumacher being in his team skew his judgement going forwards?

Would be interested to hear your take on it given the amount of research you've done on Schuey in the past...


No I think the tone at Ferrari was set by Jean Todt. Ross is in charge here and although his relationship with MS is far closer than with NR, I think he'll treat them fairly. But there will be times when the driver in the stronger position will need to be favoured in a race situation as we saw last year. Then it will be really interesting if that driver is NR..


It is an interesting issue.

I wonder how many times Rubens was actually moved aside for Michael. More than most but DC was moved over (or had a "gentlemans agreement" about who would win) for Mika on more than one occasion.

Any idea about this James?


James have you had chance to speak to Michael since his decision to return? What exactly is his state of mind now?

From interviews and footage I've seen he seems to be more "serene" and relaxed than Michael of old. Clearly the passion and the drive is there, but I'm wondering if he'll be less "angry" and more magnanimous in defeat.

I remember a very interesting interview with Damon Hill one year after winning a Grand Prix and he said "it's hard to get too carried away with yourself if when you come home you have a three year old climbing all over you with crayons who doesn't give a stuff you just won a grand prix". I contrasted that at the time to MS who wasn't married and had no kids... just an entourage who were constantly telling him how great he was. Personally I think Michael matured a little after becoming a father (the odd incident aside!) and I'm wondering if three years away from the constant a*** kissing might have made him the man to match the driver.


i think its a little pressure to scuhmacher by giving him ZERO excuses not to deliver...


and nico on the other hand.. is letting all the expectation go to schumis side... and if he looses everybody expects it.. but if he beat him?


Just had a thought (yeh, doesnt happen to often)...

Didnt Ferrari ask the FIA to swap Kimi and Felipe's numbers last year, so Kimi got 3 and Felipe got 4, only to then have this request rejected? What was the reasoning for that?


I believe it was a little bit different. On the first FIA registration list of the drivers and teams including numbers, Kimi got 3 and Felipe 4. This was strange as Felipe had outscored Kimi. Later on this was corrected and Felipe got number 3 and Kimi number 4.


I thought the inter-team numbers were dictated by the the driver's championship standings the previous year - whoever finishes higher in the championship gets the lower number...


Normally they are, but I think Ferrari tried to swap their numbers or Kimi put in a request to be which ever number.


Not superstitious at all, but... for many years I lived very happily only a block away from the Albert park circuit in Melbourne. In the spring of 2002 I remember walking with my wife around the lake and cutting home towards our apartment she found several 4 leaved clovers...never found them before or since - the location?? where the gravel trap had been that Michael had barrel rolled through a few months before in practice!! Thought about picking one & sending it to him but never got around to it.


edit: I meant 2003.


Why is everyone saying poor Nico?

I like the guy, im sure his the future. but he didnt really earn anything yet.

If you were the CEO of Benz-GP, wont you prefer to put your eggs with MS ??


What's the big deal here?? I thought leadership is obtained on the track?? So whoever is at the front...consistently....is the leader, regardless of the number on the car!
So, it's up to Nico to earn that title.

Ultimately, as much as this is a sport, it's also a business. I don't know about you all, but if I was a team owner, I'd put my money on 7 time WC to give me best return on investment rather than a son of a WC, who hasn't even won an F1 race yet. And if this son starts beating Schuey, well then, we'll have to cut our losses and put my money


on the other guy.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I can forsee Keke Rosberg throwing a fit early in the season. He is known to be no fan of Schuey.

Rosberg must have felt that he was literally Mercedes blue eyed boy when he signed the contract. He bought their sales pitch that he was the future and that they wanted him to step up and lead the team to its next world championship.....and then along came Michael Schumacher!!

Schuey is flexing his muscle at the moment and Ross seems to have no problem with it whatsoever. Ross Brawn knows that what won him 7 world championships between 1994-2004 was forming a team around a No. 1 driver and focusing all of your best resources towards him.

Come the February tests I would not be surprised to hear of Nico having to get used to a nervous front-edgy car.

Classic Schuey all of this!

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Poor Nico...what about when he's racing in Shanghai? 4 is the unluckiest number in Chinese culture I believe!


so what if MS wants no 3 ?? big deal !

I think too much is being over-analyzed for nothing here ...


Imagine this. If you are a team boss responsible for millions or money, hundreds of employees, would you allow the number 2 to take points off number one?

Should there be any number one before the start of the championship?

Well, it depends. But proven winners are always priortized no matter how you look at it.

Mikka was No1 by default so was Alonso. There was a reason Lewis finished behind Alonso in his debut and you all know what I am talking about.

But then everything changed once he showed what he is capable off.

IF Nico can repeat what Lewis did, yes the team will surely let him race agaisnt Michael.

If not, he should take Masssa's route if he is smart enough.


People, people! No need to get upset over it! Who would you make your no.1 driver? The legend that is Michael Schumacher or Nico Rosberg? Plus Schumacher to be fair is always checking up on how his car is by visiting Brackley a couple of times already. Dedication like that is ALWAYS re paid by the team itself!


I bet Ruben's is laughing "Sucker... Been there done that, guess who's number one at Williams"


Probably Nico has a thing with even numbers. So its all well.

I have seen people wanting certain numbers on their car, and some even pay (a whole lot) to get that number. So, I am not suprised with Schumi wanting odd numbers.


Poor Nico... one can almost see the pre race briefing at the first gp - 'zis is ze button you press when you need to overtake Michael backwards'


Fantastic, mind games already.

I'm surprised at how many people are upset about this and using it as "proof" that MS is number 1 - hilarious


He never gives anything away to his competitors, except unlucky numbers of course 🙂


In Chinese culture, four is an unlucky number. Michael is trying to have all bases covered.


No big deal, he prefers odd numbers ( superstitious ), he is human being afterall, & even if that means he is a lead driver, so be it. He deserves to be, given his status, calibre, & track records. It will only be for this season, because the next one he will have # 1


Oh yawn, "Shumacher changed his number, he's taking over the team", get over yourselves... It's the most insignificant things that people latch on to to try and bring MS down - in a similar vane to how the drivers attackeed him in the media, latch on to something and make a veritable sh** storm of it.

What's next, Schumacher outqualifies his team mate, and he's getting superior equipment?


You heard it here first.


Just thought I'd share this with you: "There are now 147 'complete biographies' of Michael Schumacher that are not complete at all."


But surely you could update yours in due time James (let's say in the 2010 Winter break)?

Then your book may feature heavily on top of this 147-book pile? 😉


Well I'd like to think it is the closest to being definitive.


Dun think either of your books on Schumacher were Biographies?? Unlike the other books that have tended to overly focus on his personal life, yours has been entirely focussed on the action on track and behind the scene politics. Thank you so much - T'was worth every rupee spent!

When you do come out with your next Schumacher book, kindly don't be so harsh on him as you were in The "Edge Of Greatness." People buying Schumi books are die-hard fans of his and look forward to more of the "DRIVEN TO EXTREMES" kinda stuff.



If Rosberg is smart he will ask Schumacher to take him under his wing and teach him everything he knows, like the maestro teaching the protege.

Rosberg has the potential of being a champion, if he can establish a good relationship with Schumacher and become his protege there is no doubt with the assistance of Schumacher and Brawn he can go far.


Hi James,

I thought Brawn would be #1 and #2 fo this season. But with Button taking his #1, as is customary,wouldn't Brawn have #2 and #3 at their disposal?


I believe this is just a witch hunt in the search of sensational. MichaelS has the potential to generate controversy.. I wonder what would've been generated if it was the other way around (i.e. NicoR to have this request.. and have it his way)?


Being number 2 to Michael never did Massa any harm did it?

James, have you heard anything on how Nico and Michael get on?

If Nico has any sense, he'll be doing everything he can to learn as much as he can from Schumi and trying to make sure that he can inherit the number 1 status within the team when Schumi re-retires.


Hi James, Slightly off topic we have heard from Michael a lot about the Fuel Shell provide them. And Alonso has started harping about it even before he has started driving a Ferrari. Can you sometime in the near future give us an insight into the fuels that are used in F1 and give us an insight into mixtures and grades amongst various vendors? Cos I am sure we are going to hear a lot of it this season and from the race commentators


shell have a massive tie up and investment into F1, with v-power 'ferrari fuel for the road' stuff. schumacher was an ambassador for shell, as alonso will have to be now. it's just marketing value. every manufacturer work closely with a fuel company who develop their fuel side by side with the engine for maximum performance.


Thanks for that. I will do that, of course.


How about a competition for what Rubens said to Nico when Nico asked him ro swap places for this year?


Ross Brawn has operated at no.1 driver system for all the years I have been watching, and he has shown he knows how to get-r-done!!!

Even when there has been no official "no.1 strategy" there always seems to have been some unusual long pit stops, or mysterious other things. Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist!

In the old Schumacher/Brawn days I think Michael made it pretty easy to choose the no.1, but Ross is there to win titles, and as much as he likes Michael, he isn't going to make him no.1 if Rosberg beats him.

So Rosberg can save his talking for the race track. If he beats Michael in the first third of the season then he will be the no.1 Mercedes driver.

It's going to be so interesting to see if Rosberg is in the same class as the top guys, and to see if Schumacher is still has it.

Can't wait!


Relax, it's just a number. We begin when the first race kicks off.

2010 will be an awesome season, reading from all the fans comments and bickering going on, love it. 49 days to the countdown. Who knows, number 5 might be the WDC, or number 8.


If Nico is smart he will let all this wash over him. Why upset yourself over a number. If interviewed say that it is silly to get hung up over numerology.


I read somewhere on a F1 site that No 4 is the unluckiest number in F1 and is one of 4 numbers to never have figured in any wins/championship stuff. 'Micky Shu' will know this & will have consigned this monkey to Nico's back.

I hope he therefore comes second in the 2010 championship so we can think of his return as a great big No2.


Kimi won in Spa last year with Number 4


Since 1973, when drivers were given numbers for the entire season, nobody has started as No4 and won the championship, that's what Shuey knows and doesn't want to be in that bag.


and look what happened to him! - only joking


Who knows, if Rosberg does an 'Alonso V Hamilton' on Schu, then Nico (and his dad) will have the last laugh.

Seriously, I really liked Michael on his first carrier, but I think he's about to get a nasty surprise.


Can't see it myself, but it might be worth a tenner at the bookies. You just never know.


The number 4 is considered as being very inauspicious - for example, by the Japanese:


"The number four is considered inauspicious because it is pronounced the same as the word for death (shi). Therefore, one should not make presents that consist of four pieces, etc. In some hotels and hospitals the room number four is skipped."


It's funny how the media is able to stir up such big emotions with such a meaningless thing. You can see already that nothing will be new under the Sun on their part either: every move Schumacher does (no matter how meaningless that is) will be looked at with suspicion.

It's not like the number is the indication of who will be favoured, if anybody will at all. Häkkinen and Alonso got favoured by McLaren and Renault despite of having the higher Nr (8) on their cars in 1998 and 2005, respectively.

I don't even think it's a psychological warfare on Schumacher's part, just like I don't think it will have any psycholoical effect on Nico. But the media likes to stir it as usual, and many people go along with that, as usual.


… oh come'on, Rosberg will present the car AND have the first test drive.

So, it'll be 2-1 in favour of Rosberg?

These mind games are just plain silly. Of course there's something special between Michael & Ross. It adds to the magic of Michaels return. But they have to provide Rossberg with the same equipment if they want to win both championships.

Rossberg is not in the same league of Hamilton, Alonso and Schumacher. He is a close match to Button and Webber though.


There might not be a definitive answer for this...

When a new guy steps up to F1 is there a particular area that they find difficult when driving the car? ie, do they struggle to brake as well as an experienced driver at first?

Is a new guy (a decent one) normally on the pace right away, or do they tend to be off?

Rossi was three seconds slower than Kimi's lap record. No good right?

Do you expect Schumi to be right on the pace right away or is it going to take him time to make up for his three years of gardening?


Sounds like the good old days of Michael to me.

I feel sorry for Rosberg and I hope his career isn't ruined by this. We all know his dad told him not to go to McLaren because he feared he wouldn't thrive against Lewis - how must they be feeling now against Schumi?


When will F1/FIA realise that whilst there are a lot of Schumacher fans they are alienating the rest of us.

I thought Kimi already tried this last year and was turned down (by massa?) More fool Rosberg if he actually had a say in this.


Nico seems a nice chap and he may not care too much about numbers. So he let the older guy get his number he wanted and keep a nice relationship.

Anybody though that it could be that simple?

Anyway, if Button stayed at Merc, Nico would have been n.2. If Kimi was going instead, Nico would still have been n.2. Finally Michael Schumacher showed up, what anybody would expect Nico to be?

Probably even Nico did not expect anything but being n.2 or just not being n.1, when he joined the team. He is not that he won races or championships since he boarded on the Formula 1 club? Or am I missing something?

nothing changed for him.


Operation barbarossa has started.

And the father of the bride, must be thinking, the plan was perfect, trying to give him a shot at the championship, and then this german shows up out of the blue.

Is also a form of retaliation, for all the comments keke made about the parking-gate.


I read this story in the paper on the train this mornig and had a little chuckle to myself! Same old michael, anything to get an edge. Shows he hasn't lost his competitive streak.

I remember when he did a similar thing at the Race of Champions a year ago. He wanted the car that the other driver (I forget which)had won the last race in, even though the two cars were the same models!


that's numberwang !


I think a lot of people need to take a step back and take a wider view of this situation. I think Massa benefited from the partnership even if Rubens didn't, Michael agreed to come back to a Dog of a Car out of his friendship with Massa (so he said), I do agree that this situation can make or break Nico, I think Schumacher has matured into a good person, and even Murray Walker in an interview spoke of Schumacher as being a "cracking bloke" and a "Top bloke." I think that unless Nico has a personality problem he will gain from this relationship and come out a better driver, in fact i can see a relationship building up where Schumacher will guide him like a older brother, unless Nico's Dad throws a spanner in the works.

Schumacher maybe considered borderline evil on the race track, but would any true racer be any different? I wouldnt.


If Rosberg doesn't want to be thought of as a number 2 then he can quite easily rectify the situation. All he has to do is simply beat Michael Schumacher. won't really matter what numbers are are on the car after that.


I`m just curious. What is # on car that won most World Driver Championships in history? In 2005. Alonso had #5 on his car as did Schumacher in 1994, and Mansel in 1992. Last year Button had #22 as did Lewis in 2008. Senna had #12 in 1988. and Kimi had #6 on his car in 2007. But I'm wondering which number is from point of statistics most lucky one?


Well you had better be quick Michael ........ because Nico is laid back and quick .... and just might make you look .......... old ?


It was very clear on the Brawns last year and on the previous two Hondas. Little advertising on those cars but those numbers on the rear wing endplates of the 2007 Honda were huge. Bring them back



so because I had a typo on my response (iPhone autospell) I can't be a genuine fan? Rubbish.

Please forgive me I'm not worthy.


I think the most exciting thing is that after last season, Rosberg looked like a driver with a tremendous upside. He was all set to get his chance to race in a top car. He already had a point to prove. Now I suspect he's really looking to prove a point with Schumacher coming back to F1. The number situation probably just adds a little extra spice.


This is what happens when F1 takes too long a break, we start talking about car numbers instead of lap times, wins and outright performance...


In past years didn't Schumacher's helmet have some Chinese characters on it for the names of his family members? If he still uses those, it would be rather insensitive and even disrespectful to his Chinese fans to be associated with the number '4' which is so inauspicious.

I think it is a tremendous opportunity for Rosberg to learn a lot quickly from Schumacher and from his relationship with Brawn. Since testing is so restricted everybody's work will count and Rosberg will be pushed to a higher level very quickly.


Although Nico Rosberg does appear to be getting the short end of the stick, it is important that he does not let this distract him. The way I see it, this kind of mind games will either destroy Rosberg or embolden him.

Take Felipe Massa for instance! He used his short time as Schumacher's team mate as a positive, and grew in standing because of it. Rosberg has a great yardstick with which to guage his career, going up against the most decorated driver in series history. He has to knuckle down, keep his thoughts to himself, and drum out the results. If he gets beat, so be it, as long as he is competitive and scores points, people will take notice.


I think people are reading too much into this. Big Norbert Haug has played down the issue too. Granted he would, but he would know if there was any discontent in the Mercedes camp. I'm not Schumacher's biggest fan, but here he's asked Rosberg if he can have the number and Nico said yes! Plus Mercedes have given Rosberg the nod to drive the the first laps in Valencia.


People are backing the wrong horse here as well. I think Rosberg will out-qualify and out-race Schumacher this year.

No launch or traction control for Michael this season! :o)


James, found this on PlanetF1, allegedly an extract from Michael's personal blog...

"My prickle is already coming after the false alarm with Felipe and so I was more than fully motivated for a return. My batteries were loaded and I was ready to fire them. Quite honestly and obviously my biggest problem was not my neck or the worry to be the old gunslinger in town waiting on the street corner to be gunned down by the young guns, no. It was the people I would disappoint in moving to a different team. How would my beloved tifosis react? What would Luca and Stefano say? And would Jenson mind being my No.2 at Mercedes?"

That last line's a bit telling...so even before Jenson went to McLaren, and was assumed to still be a Merc driver for 2010, Michael was worried about how he'd feel being his No. 2

Presumably Michael has exactly same assumption now, and it's just Nico in the other car as his 'No. 2'. What's your take on this James?


SteveB, haha, that's a spoof! From planetf1's "Michael Schumacher's Sekret Tagebuch-Blog".

On his real website, Schumacher does say, rather memorably, among other things:

"... I really notice how the prickle is coming, how motivated I am because I so much look forward to this competition. It is about time to start this whole thing."


Well I've not looked into it, but it doesn't sound like the kind of thing he'd write or even say. I'll speak to Sabine Kehm, his assistant, about it

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