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A Formula One car number is the number on a car used to identify a car and its driver. Currently, drivers are allowed to pick their own number for their career between 2 and 99, and the World Champion is allowed to use number 1. This number cannot be reallocated unless the driver has not driven in the sport for two seasons.

Until 2013, the numbers were allocated with two rules: the previous season's World Champion used the number 1; following the Champion and his team-mate (car number 2), the teams were ordered by their position in the previous season's Constructors' Championship.

Up to 1973, the numbers were given out by the race organisers. But midway through 1973, permanent numbers were trialled, and in 1974, permanent numbers were issued based on the Constructors' Championship positions in 1973. Since the 1973 World Champion, Jackie Stewart, left F1 at the end of 1973, the team leader for the constructors champion (Ronnie Peterson) drove the No. 1 car in 1974.

Teams only changed numbers when the Drivers' Champion was not driving for the previous No. 1 holder, or when teams left F1 and left gaps in the numbers. These permanent numbers lasted until 1995, when a lack of teams forced a change to the current standards.

These permanent numbers lead to a few quirks, namely Tyrrell holding onto numbers 3 and 4 for all 21 years, and the numbers 27 and 28 becoming iconic Ferrari numbers.

The number 13 was not used, as per racing tradition. In fact, only one race pre-2014 featured a number 13 car starting in Formula One history: the 1963 Mexican Grand Prix. It was also used in the 1976 British Grand Prix, but was not qualified. As a result of this, the number 14 was often used by a one-car team or a third driver. In 2014, the number was selected by Pastor Maldonado.

The number 0 has been used on a few occaisions, mainly by Damon Hill in 1993 and 1994 after Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost, the 1992 and 1993 World Champions, left the sport. It will most likely never see any post-2013 use.

The number 6 has been used the most, with 931 races. The highest number is active use is number 8, used in 919 races. The highest number is 208, in a Radio Luxembourg-sponsored car for Lella Lombardi at the 1974 British Grand Prix.[1] She did not qualify. It was also used in five non-championship races.[2]

Following the death of Jules Bianchi, the FIA decided to permanently retire the number 17 he drove with before his accident.

RegulationsEdit

The car number is included as part of the FIA Sporting Regulations, under the "car livery" section. It is written as follows:[3]

21) CAR LIVERY

21.2 Each car will carry the race number of its driver as published by the FIA at the beginning of the season or the race number that has been allocated to his replacement under Article 19.1(b)(iii). This number must be clearly visible from the front of the car and on the driver's crash helmet.
Prior to the start of the 2014 World Championship season race numbers will be permanently allocated to drivers by ballot, such numbers must then be used by that driver during every Formula One World Championship Event he takes part in throughout his career.
Any new drivers, either at the start of or during a season, will also be allocated a permanent number in the same way.
The only exception to this allocation process will be for the reigning World Champion who will have the option to use the number one. The number that was previously allocated to him will be reserved for him in subsequent seasons if he does not retain the title of World Champion.

Additionally, Article 19.1(b)(iii) is as follows:[4]

19) CHANGES OF DRIVER

19.1 b) In addition to the above each team will be permitted to run additional drivers during P1 and P2 provided:
iii) They carry the race number that has been allocated to them.

Summary of systems by yearEdit

1950–1973 Numbers allocated by event organisers. Number system and method of allocation different for each event.
1973 Permanent numbers trialed in second half of season, roughly based on Constructor standings.
1974–1995 Permanent team numbers were fully implemented, initially based on the 1973 World Constructors' Championship placings. No. 1 was allocated to the World Drivers' Champion, and the only way numbers moved about was through the changing of the team for whom the World Champion drove for, or with a reallocation of spare numbers.
1996–2013 Team numbers ordered by World Constructors' Championship position of the previous season, with No. 1 still going to the World Drivers' Champion.
2014–present Drivers allowed to choose their own, permanent numbers between 2 and 99, and the World Drivers' Champion is allowed to use No. 1 (though this is not compulsory). In allocating out the numbers, drivers with a higher Championship position in the previous season are given higher preference.

Car number historyEdit

1974–1979Edit

No. 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1 Lotus McLaren Ferrari McLaren Brabham Lotus
2
3 Tyrrell
4
5 McLaren Lotus Brabham
6
7 Brabham McLaren
8
9 March ATS   
10 not issued
11 Ferrari McLaren Ferrari
12
13 not issued Surtees* not issued
14 BRM BRM BRM
McLaren
Penske*
Fittipaldi
15 Lotus
Tyrrell
Tyrrell* Renault Renault
16 Shadow
17 Shadow
18 Surtees
19 Fittipaldi
20 Iso-Marlboro Williams Wolf Wolf Wolf
21 Brabham
Ferrari
not issued
22 Ensign Hill
Lola*
Ensign
23 Trojan
McLaren*
Surtees*
not issued Ensign* Ensign
Ensign*
not issued
24 Hesketh
March*
Hesketh Merzario
25 Maki Hesketh
Hesketh*
Hesketh
Williams*
Hesketh Lotus* Ligier
26 Lola* Hesketh* Ligier
27 Parnelli Ligier
March*
Williams Williams
28 Brabham* Penske
March*
Penske Fittipaldi McLaren*
29 Trojan
Lotus*
March not issued Fittipaldi
BRM
McLaren* Arrows
30 Amon
Lyncar
Lotus*
Surtees*
Fittipaldi Fittipaldi March*
McLaren*
31 Lotus
Hesketh
Brabham*
Ensign
McLaren*
LEC Martini Rebaque
Lotus*
32 Brabham
Tyrrell*
Hesketh
Ensign
Lyncar
Tyrrell*
Brabham* March* Theodore
March*
not issued
33 McLaren Ensign
Lotus*
March*
Penske*
McLaren Tyrrell
34 Brabham
Token
Brabham*
Hesketh
Lotus
March Penske* Merzario not issued
35 Token
March*
Maki March
Ferrari
Penske* Arrows Alfa Romeo
36 not issued McLaren* Alfa Romeo
Kauhsen
37 BRM not issued Boro
Tyrrell*
March* Merzario not issued
38 not issued Surtees* Boro
March*
not issued
39 not issued Tyrrell*
Penske*
Tyrrell*
Hesketh Shadow* not issued
40 not issued Shadow
Tyrrell*
McLaren
BRM
McLaren* not issued
41 Trojan not issued Apollon not issued
42 Token
Brabham*
not issued
43 Surtees*
Brabham*
not issued
44 Surtees* not issued Surtees* not issued
45 not issued McGuire not issued
50 Brabham* not issued Tyrrell* not issued
51 not issued Kojima not issued
52 not issued Tyrrell* Kojima* not issued
54 not issued Maki not issued
55 Parnelli not issued Lotus not issued
66 Penske not issued Brabham not issued
77 not issued Brabham not issued
208 Brabham* not issued
No. 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979

* Non-works entry. The entrant is these cases is not noted here.

1980–1989Edit

No. 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1 Ferrari Williams Brabham Williams Brabham McLaren Lotus McLaren
2
3 Tyrrell
4
5 Brabham Williams Brabham Williams
6
7 McLaren Brabham not issued Brabham
8
9 ATS ATS RAM not issued Zakspeed Arrows
10 not issued
11 Lotus McLaren Lotus
12
13 not issued
14 Ensign not issued ATS Renault Zakspeed AGS not issued
15 Renault Lola not issued March
16 March
17 Shadow March March Arrows Osella
18
19 not issued not issued Toleman Benetton
20 Fittipaldi Fittipaldi not issued
21 not issued Spirit Osella Osella Dallara
22 Alfa Romeo Rial
23 Minardi
24 not issued Osella
25 Ligier
26
27 Williams Ferrari
28
29 Arrows not issued Minardi Zakspeed Lola
30 Osella Zakspeed not issued
31 Osella Osella ATS not issued AGS Benetton* Coloni Coloni
32 not issued not issued not issued Coloni EuroBrun
33 not issued Theodore Theodore Renault Lola not issued EuroBrun
34 not issued not issued Zakspeed
35 not issued Toleman not issued not issued
36 not issued Dallara Onyx
37 not issued
38 not issued Rial
39
40 not issued Spirit not issued AGS
41 Ensign not issued
42 not issued Williams not issued FIRST
43 Lotus
Tyrrell
Williams*
not issued
50 Williams* not issued
51
No. 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989

* Non-works entry. The entrant is these cases is not noted here.

Did not compete in any races.

1990–1999Edit

No. 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
0 not issued Williams not issued
1 Ferrari McLaren not issued Benetton Ferrari Arrows Williams McLaren
2 Williams
3 Tyrrell Benetton Williams Ferrari
4
5 Williams Benetton Williams Ferrari Benetton Williams
6
7 Brabham McLaren Benetton McLaren Jordan
8
9 Arrows Footwork Ligier McLaren Jordan Benetton
10
11 Lotus Simtek Jordan Prost Sauber
12
13 not issued
14 Osella Fondmetal Fondmetal Jordan Sauber Prost Sauber Arrows
15 Leyton House
16 March not issued Pacific Footwork Sauber Arrows Stewart
17 AGS
18 not issued not issued Tyrrell Stewart Prost
19 Benetton Larrousse Larrousse
20 Minardi Tyrrell Minardi
21 Dallara Lola not issued Forti
22 Forti Stewart Minardi BAR
23 Minardi
24 not issued Lola not issued
25 Ligier
26 not issued
27 McLaren Ferrari
28 not issued
29 Lola Venturi Sauber
30 not issued
31 Coloni not issued Simtek not issued
32 not issued Jordan not issued not issued
33 EuroBrun Pacific not issued
34 Lambo Andrea Moda not issued not issued
35 Onyx not issued
36 not issued
37 not issued
38
39 Life not issued
No. 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999

Did not compete in any races.

2000–2009Edit

No. 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
1 McLaren Ferrari Renault McLaren Ferrari McLaren
2
3 Ferrari McLaren Williams BAR McLaren Renault BMW Sauber Ferrari
4
5 Jordan Williams McLaren Renault Ferrari Renault BMW Sauber
6
7 Jaguar Benetton Sauber Renault Williams Toyota Honda Williams Renault
8
9 Williams BAR Jordan Sauber BAR McLaren Williams BMW Sauber Red Bull Toyota
10
11 Benetton Jordan BAR Jordan Sauber Honda Toyota Toro Rosso
12
13 not issued
14 Prost Arrows Renault Jaguar Red Bull Toro Rosso Red Bull
15
16 Sauber Jaguar BAR Toyota BMW Sauber Williams Honda Williams
17
18 Arrows Jaguar not issued Minardi Jordan Midland Toro Rosso Super Aguri not issued
19
20 Minardi Arrows Toyota Minardi Toro Rosso Spyker Force India
21
22 BAR Prost Minardi not issued Super Aguri McLaren Brawn
23
24 not issued Toyota not issued
25
No. 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

2010–2013Edit

No. 2010 2011 2012 2013
1 McLaren Red Bull
2
3 Mercedes McLaren Ferrari
4
5 Red Bull Ferrari McLaren
6
7 Ferrari Mercedes Lotus
8
9 Williams Renault Lotus Mercedes
10
11 Renault Williams Force India Sauber
12
13 not issued
14 Force India Sauber Force India
15
16 Toro Rosso Sauber Toro Rosso Williams
17
18 Lotus Toro Rosso Williams Toro Rosso
19
20 HRT Lotus Caterham
21
22 BMW Sauber HRT Marussia
23
24 Virgin Marussia not issued
25
No. 2010 2011 2012 2013

2014–2019Edit

Notes: Only includes numbers given to race drivers. The effects of the ruling that a permanent number cannot be reallocated if a driver has driven in the past two seasons is denoted by a dash in the respective seasons and numbers. Some numbers are given on a temporary basis and can be reallocated, uses of these number are denoted with an asterisk (*).

Car Number 17 was retired in July 2015 after the death of Jules Bianchi.

No. 2014 2015 2016 2017
1 Vettel reserved for WDC
2 not issued Vandoorne
3 Ricciardo
4 Chilton not issued
5 reserved Vettel
6 Rosberg
7 Räikkönen
8 Grosjean
9 Ericsson
10 Kobayashi not issued
11 Pérez
12 not issued Nasr
13 Maldonado
14 Alonso
17 Bianchi number retired
18 not issued Stroll
19 Massa
20 Magnussen
21 Gutiérrez Gutiérrez
22 Button
25 Vergne not issued
26 Kvyat
27 Hülkenberg
28 not issued Stevens
30 not issued Palmer
31 not issued Ocon
33 not issued Verstappen
36 not issued Giovinazzi*
42 Rossi* not issued
44 Hamilton
45 Lotterer* not issued
46 Stevens* not issued
47 not issued Vandoorne* not issued
53 not issued Rossi
55 not issued Sainz, Jr.
77 Bottas
88 not issued Haryanto
94 not issued Wehrlein
98 not issued Merhi
99 Sutil not issued
No. 2014 2015 2016 2017

Rossi was issued the number 42 in two races in 2014, but never raced in either.

NotesEdit

  1. Hayhoe, David; Holland, David (2006). Grand Prix Data Book. Yeovil, Somerset, UK: Haynes Publishing. p. 719. ISBN 1 84425 223 X.
  2. Davies, Jonathan. "Car 208 - ChicaneF1.com". Chicane F1. http://www.chicanef1.com/indiv.pl?name=208&type=N&nc=1. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  3. "Inside F1 – Rules and Regulations – Car livery". Formula 1. http://www.formula1.com/inside_f1/rules_and_regulations/sporting_regulations/8693/fia.html. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  4. "Inside F1 – Rules and Regulations – Driver changes and additional drivers". Formula 1. http://www.formula1.com/inside_f1/rules_and_regulations/sporting_regulations/8694/fia.html. Retrieved 3 March 2015.

External linksEdit

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