Le Grand Retour
Paul Ricard 2018
French Grand Prix
A look into F1 drivers’ new permanent Race Numbers
Posted By:   |  12 Jan 2014   |  8:58 am GMT  |  335 comments

The FIAs decision to reinstate personal numbers in Formula One has been met with Universal approval, and this week the numbers that will be associated with the current crop of drivers until their final race have been announced.

The decision to bring back permanent race numbers was made in order to create more personality around the driver as well as increasing marketing potential.

Numbers such as the ‘Red 5’ of Nigel Mansell and #27 of Gilles Villeneuve are still remembered today, however a check of the previous year’s Constructor standings is required to find what number Fernando Alonso won his 2005 World Championship under.

And behind each decision is a back-story, many laced with sentimentality and childhood memories.

Sebastian Vettel will use #1 due to winning last year’s Championship, but has secured #5 – his first number as a youth in karting – as his permanent number should he not make it five in a row.

The same is true for Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, who will use their first numbers in racing, #14 and #44 respectively. For Hamilton in particular this number is synonymous with him throughout his early career, having watched him work from the sidelines it was easy to see where his future lay. Watch Hamilton Karting

Jenson Button has opted to run the number that took him to the 2009 World Championship, #22, whilst his new team-mate, Kevin Magnussen, is to use the #20 that took him to the World Series by Renault title in 2013.

Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean are no team mates, but the numbering system still looks like they are! Raikkonen is #7 and Grosjean #8.

Each number has a back-story so please share what you know of them in the comments section.

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull (also #5 reserved)
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
8 Romain Grosjean Lotus
11 Sergio Perez Force India
13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus
14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
17 Jules Bianchi Marussia
19 Felipe Massa Williams
20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren
21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
22 Jenson Button McLaren
25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India
44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
77 Valtteri Bottas Williams
99 Adrian Sutil Sauber

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I hate the new numbering system. It looks messy and cheap. It reminds me of NASCAR or MotoGP. Surely F1 is better than that? And I would have thought having numbers potentially changing each year was good for marketing – merchandise then becomes obsolete sooner.


Is 0 the most successful car number in F1 history? I mean every driver who’s had it (okay, just Jody Sheckter and Damon Hill) went on to win the world title. If I were an F1 driver (and could actually fit in a car) I’d totally want a ducks’ egg on the front


I’d of chosen #01, who had this apart from Dale Earnhart!


Actually, I forgot about the General Lee! Martyn Wayn, Yes maybe they don’t like #01!!!!!!!!!!


I think they made it all wrong. If you change car number every year, actually you sell more t-shirts !! On condition that… numbers are bigger on the cars. With the lack of interest of sponsors for Bernie’s F1 nowadays, don’t tell me it’s impossible ! I think the best solution would be to reshuffle the numbers every year according to the previous year’s drivers championship.

1 Vettel (Red Bull)

2 Alonso (Ferrari)

4 Hamilton (Mercedes)

5 Raikkonen (Ferrari)

6 Rosberg (Mercedes)

7 Grosjean (Lotus)

8 Massa (Ferrari)

9 Button (McLaren)

10 Hulkenberg (Force India)

11 Perez (Force India)

13 Sutil (Sauber)

14 Ricciardo (Red Bull)

15 Vergne (Toro Rosso)

16 Gutierrez (Sauber)

17 Bottas (Williams)

18 Maldonado (Lotus)

19 Bianchi (Marussia)

23 Chilton (Marussia)

24 Magnussen (McLaren)

25 Kyvat (Toro Rosso)

26 Kobayashi (Caterham)

Great grid.


I am happy Kimi chose No.7, My favorite driver choosing my favorite number. Perfect !


Will drivers get to choose the type style and colour, or will it be one size fits all?


James, we won’t have this American type situation where they retire numbers will we?? And what happens if drivers take a sabbatical or do a Kimi for two to three years??


I don’t really swallow Kimis explanation of his number, even tough his story was hellava funny. Number seven is still, as we all know, very popular gambling number and what is gambling if not life as a F1-driver.


I don’t buy it either. Kimi’s cool, but he ain’t that cool.I bet he was doing cartwheels inside.


I prefer this to the system of irrelevant numbers that we have had the last 20 years or so but I still think I would have prefered a return to the old system of team numbers. Perhaps its a ploy to make the drivers more noticeable. Either way I hope they increase the size or do something to make the number more obvious, you can’t see them at racing speed on the TV.

Im still laughing at Maldonado taking 13 it really will be bad luck if you see 13 in your mirrors!

Interesting to see so many of them take numbers from earlier in their career, the numbers obviously still hold some meaning to the drivers.

I wonder if Webber would have gone for 2 if he was still around?!


I’d hope so! 2 has a helluva pedigree: Prost(won the title as a 2), Senna, Ascari, Fangio, Mansell, Hakkinen, Moss, every Hill bar Damon, Berger, Coulthard, Surtees, Clark, Rindt and er, Pedro Diniz. Shame to see it going to waste these days


I love Kimi’s “had it last year, can’t be bothered to change” reason. That’s him to a tee 🙂

I’m guessing no-one will ever dare to take No.2 for obvious reasons.


We’re into the 3rd week for Schumi…agonizing.


I’m glad Ricciardo has gone for #3, it’s a lovely number


It’s the magic number.


“Incident involving car number 13 to be investigated after the race”

At least we’ll know exactly who it is from now on 🙂


Bang on 🙂


James, are there any restrictions on what color the number must be displayed in?

Drivers should be able to cash in on merchandise with new numbers, a-la,

Valentino Rossi yellow 46!


I think the numbers should have been given to the teams rather, with the historical teams allowed to pick first. Most comments on here relate to certain drivers using a number while at a specific team.

More history could have been created with drivers possibly feeling a sense of pride at being allocated at a classic number. Take Ferrari for example: 1 of the strongest driver line ups possibly since Senna & Prost, think how awesome it would be seeing them race in 27 & 28, introducing a new generation to the story behind those iconic numbers.


Not surprised one bit that no driver chose no. 2. Associated with no.2 driver, first of the losers. Massa could have chosen it as an amusing poke at his Ferrari past.


Stirling Moss raced number seven.

Imagin him in a Ferrari!


As well as reviving the #44 from his karting days, has Lewis Hamilton also been given a new lucky conker by his mum…?



Vettel may be 5, but they’ll only ever be one Red 5!!

I remember Schumacher tried ‘Red 5’ once in Spain 1994 and had a mechanical breakdown so never used it again!


Vettel won the 2010 WDC using a red number five.


Well he might do blue 5!


Im not fussed about driver no.s: Surprised Kimi got what many consider “lucky no 7”. But then again “some say” he drives with the luck of a drunk lol.. Then theres the perfect union of Finns with Bottas on 77.

Its been 7 years for Kimi lets hope hes got the itch back! All suggestions are he has.

As for Fernando – I wouldnt be surprised if he waited till Kimi got 7!just to suggest hes twice the driver with14. Perhaps the mind games have just started.

I love the no 5 -Seb couldnt have done any better really


0 – Damon Hill replaced Nigel Mansell in 1993 at Williams. Mansell was 1992 World Champion so because No. 1 was reserved for the Champion it wasn’t available for Hill. He drove as 0 till the end of the season, then because Prost, the new Champion, stayed in F1,the number 5 became available and was Hill’s for his remaining three years at Williams.

27 – you people who bang on about Gilles Villeneuve are showing your age 🙂 but it’s far too late to “reserve” it! To me it will always be Jean Alesi’s number from his stint at Ferrari in partnership with Gerhard Berger.


That’s not correct. Prost also retired at the end of 93 so Hill used 0 again in 94. Williams swapped with Benetton for 95 that’s when Hill used the number 5. They kept these numbers for 96 by coincidence as Schumacher took the number 1 with him to Ferrari and Benetton had 3 & 4 as conductors champions.


Thanks for setting the record straight 🙂 It’s all getting to be a long time ago…


Stirling Moss must be disappointed to see his famous #7 go to a man who is the very definition of charisn’tma.


Stirling Moss once said “quite frankly Raikkonen is the fastest man on the planet” before Kimis sabbatical. I somehow dont think he will mind.


….and it’s nice to see that Felipe is not #2 this year!


I can understand why Ricciardo picked number 3.

Vettel – seen as the number 1 for the team.

Webber – “not bad for a no. 2 driver”

Ricciardo – number 3 is next in line.




I guess Hulk choose the 27 in order to be an extra appeal for a possible Ferrari seat in the future.


I think we’ll see Ferrari #27 in the future.


It was also Senna’s number

Shows a feeling for F1 history


Shows a business acumen more like.

His future in F1 being as uncertain as it is is slightly helped by that number as opposed to a random number.

Hulkenberg is one of the drivers I’ve never ever heard tslk about the history of F1.


Another much sadly admired driver was the late Michele Alboreto, who interestingly retained the famous 27 longer than anybody.

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