F1 2017 car numbers – old system

THE 2017 Formula 1 season is finally here with the opening round this weekend in Australia.

It will be the first time since 1994 that the reigning World Champion will not be on the grid, courtesy of Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement from the sport less than a week after he won the drivers’ title.

Certainly not a zero: Damon Hill at the wheel of William’s 1993 championship-winning FW15C.

On the last two occasions when the reigning champion has not defended their title (Nigel Mansell in 1993 and Alain Prost in 1994) the number ‘0’ was used by their team, Williams, and carried on both occasions by Damon Hill. The number 2 was carried by Prost in 1993 and by Ayrton Senna, David Coulthard and Nigel Mansell a year later.

Number 0 would have returned for 2017 where it not for drivers now being able to pick a permanent number for their entire career. But if we still used the system where car numbers were determined by the previous year’s constructors’ standings, this is what this year’s numbers would look like.

Number

Driver

Team

0

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes

2

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes

3

Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull

4

Max Verstappen

Red Bull

5

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

6

Kimi Räikkönen

Ferrari

7

Sergio Pérez

Force India

8

Esteban Ocon

Force India

9

Felipe Massa

Williams

10

Lance Stroll

Williams

11

Fernando Alonso

McLaren

12

Stoffel Vandoorne

McLaren

14

Carlos Sainz Jr.

Toro Rosso

15

Daniil Kvyat

Toro Rosso

16

Romain Grosjean

Haas

17

Kevin Magnussen

Haas

18

Jolyon Palmer

Renault

19

Nico Hülkenberg

Renault

20

Marcus Ericsson

Sauber

21

Pascal Wehrlein

Sauber

Bottas is number 0 based on Damon Hill (the then non-champion in the team at the start of 1993 and 1994) using said number. The other drivers who switched teams: Ocon, Magnussen, Hülkenberg and Wehrlein, as well as rookies Stroll and Vandoorne use the higher numbers in their respective teams.

In the instances where a team has retained both their 2016 drivers, the driver who finished higher in the drivers’ championship gets the lowest number.

Coincidently both Ricciardo and Vettel would be using their permanent number under this system.

Fact: Jody Scheckter is the only other driver to have used the number 0 in F1 (1973 Canadian and United States Grands Prix).

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About Alex Crouch 92

I'm a lifelong Formula One fan who also enjoys classic rock/heavy metal music.
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