F1 drivers to choose bespoke number to be used for entire career at the top

Gilles Villeneuve in the number 27 Ferrari at Monaco during the 1981 season

Gilles Villeneuve in the number 27 Ferrari at Monaco during the 1981 season

Among a wide range of major changes to Formula 1, the FIA has announced a change to the system of driver numbers, with drivers in future carrying their bespoke number throughout their career at the pinnacle of the sport rather than taking a new one every year depending on where they finished in the championship.

The number one will be reserved for the World Champion, should he decide to use it the year after his title triumph and thereafter revert to his chosen number.

During the initial number selection process, should more than one driver choose the same number, preference will be given to the driver who finished highest in the previous year’s championship.

Although this is a novelty to Formula 1, in the past drivers such as Gilles Villeneuve will forever be remembered for his use of number 27 in 1981 and 1982 until his death during qualifying for the Belgian GP.

Nigel Mansell drives the famous red five Williams during the 1992 Italian GP at Imola

Nigel Mansell drives the famous red five Williams during the 1992 Italian GP at Imola

Nigel Mansell made the ‘Red Five’ a Formula 1 staple during his years with Williams.

The concept is already used in MotoGP, with Italian Valentino Rossi famed for his number 46.

Bespoke numbers have been a fixture throughout the history of NASCAR with the sport’s top drivers always associated to their numbers such as: Richard Petty (43), Dale Earnhardt (3), Jimmie Johnson (48), Jeff Gordon (24) and Dale Earnhardt Junior (8).

The FIA did not explain what would happen to a number when a driver drops out of Formula 1 or whether certain particularly evocative numbers might be retired. (Reuters & Apex)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Butterfly

    Is the FIA charging the drivers for the numbers?

  • iBerrie

    Why don’t they just use the old numbering system. I want to see the legendary 27 – 28 back on a Ferrari F1!

  • Tamburello_1994

    Damon had his own number. :)

    Kidding aside, You can barely see the numbers to begin with. . . Seems pointless, But whatever.

  • the fan

    im sure the bashers and haters will come in full force for whoever picks the Number “1″

  • gilgen

    @the fan. Read the thread!

  • McLarenfan

    I note that Damon Hill’s 0 is not available either. I bet there will be a charge for these numbers and what is the betting 69 is not on the list

  • AUB

    Everyone should just take the mickey from this proposal and use their names in numbers like its on a phone 1-800-838835 (Vettel)

  • Red Bull Cheats

    Mark Webber will want to take his #2 with him to Le Mans.

  • jeff

    13 works.