Autosport.com has revealed that back in October several Formula 1 team principles agreed to the notion that giving drivers a permanent number throughout their career was a good thing.
Christian Horner (Red Bull), Ross Brawn (then-Mercedes), Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren), Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari), Claire Williams (Williams) and Eric Boullier (Lotus) all discussed the matter at an F1 Strategy Group meeting.
Drivers and riders in NASCAR and MotoGP are associated with their numbers (Jeff Gordon #24, Valentino Rossi #46) and thus are more marketable than F1 drivers who can in theory never have the same number twice in their careers.
The team principles will discuss this plan again at the upcoming strategy meeting on 9 December where if still agreed upon, it will be put forward to the F1 Commission.
If that happens, the FIA World Motorsport Council will vote on its inclusion in the 2014 or 2015 regulations.
I’ve been waiting to hear news like this for many years.
When I began watching F1 in 1996 it was the first season where car numbers were determined – as they still are today – by who won the previous drivers’ championship followed by the finishing order in the previous constructors’ championship.
As a result I never got to see a Williams #0, Tyrrell #3, Lotus #12 or the most famous of them all, a Ferrari #27.
The idea of marrying a driver to a number may seem very un-F1 to some people but you have to admit it does work in NASCAR and MotoGP.
It will also make drivers who constantly change their helmet design easier to identify, particularly for the more casual or much younger viewer.
Apart from Sebastian Vettel – who’ll surely use #1 – I can’t think of which number each driver would pick.
If the teams were going back to their old numbers then the 2014 numbering system would look like this:
- Red Bull: Sebastian Vettel #1 & Daniel Ricciardo #2. Reigning champions.
- Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton #3 & Nico Rosberg #4. The team can be traced back to Tyrrell.
- Williams: Valtteri Bottas #5 & Felipe Massa #6.
- McLaren: Jenson Button #7 & Kevin Magnussen #8.
- Lotus: #11 & #12.
- Toro Rosso: Daniil Kvyat #23 & Jean-Éric Vergne #24. Formerly Minardi.
- Ferrari: Fernando Alonso #27 & Kimi Räikkönen #28.
- Sauber: Sergey Sirotkin #29 & #30.
- Force India: #32 & #33. Traced back to Jordan.
Marussia (Jules Bianchi) and Caterham would have to come up with their own numbers.
Driver numbers based on F1 2014 Wikipedia page and subject to change.