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2023 F1 driver race numbers: which number to use and why? All Formula 1 drivers choose a permanent race number to use throughout their F1 career, and only the current world champion is allowed to change the number. But which drivers use which numbers and what’s the story behind their choices?
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In Formula 1, all drivers use a fixed race number The championship launched the concept in 2014 to increase driver status on track for fans. In previous years, numbers were awarded based on final rankings in the previous World Championship standings.
Now only the world champion of the new season can choose to change his number: he has the offer to replace the permanent number with #1. All other drivers must remain in their designated number
Many drivers have a story behind every driver choice It may be their lucky number or they have a special memory about this number This article lists all the numbers and the explanations behind them for the 2023 Formula 1 season.
As the current world champion, Max Verstappen has opted to stay with #1 for the 2023 Formula 1 season. The Red Bull driver has already announced that he will change his usual #33 as soon as he wins the championship in the final in Abu Dhabi in 2021 – and has chosen it again after winning his second title.
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Verstappen said, “How many times in your Formula 1 career do you get the chance to drive with driver number 1? You never know.”
If I am no longer world champion, I can always go to number 33. As long as I am world champion, I will use number 1 every year.
Sebastian Vettel was the last driver to use #1 in 2014 In later years, the title went to Lewis Hamilton, who stuck with his #44, or Nico Rosberg. The German hung up his helmet immediately after his world title and so no driver can use the #1 in 2017.
Max Verstappen drove the #33 in Formula 1 to his first world title. The story behind this choice is very simple: in his youth the Dutchman had #3 as his lucky number. He wanted to use it in F1, but that number had already been taken by Daniel Ricciardo, so Verstappen then chose to use #33 “for double the happiness”.
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“I raced with this number as a kid, so I thought it would be fun to use #33 in Formula 1,” he explained on social media, alongside a photo of the electric toy car driving around the family garden.
At other times in his career he has driven with the #3, but the Dutchman ran as the #30 in the European Formula 3 Championship and used the #38 on his debut for Toro Rosso.
Lando Norris gave #4 to his McLaren: “The story is no story. It fits well with the #L4ndo hashtag, but not the number I’ve used in all racing classes.” Norris is a big fan of Moto GP legend Valentino Rossi and considered using his #46, but said he didn’t want to be ‘copied’ so opted for the #4.
Alfa Romeo driver Pierre Gasly has the #10 The Frenchman won the 2013 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup with that number and is a big fan of footballer Zinedine Zidane, who played with the number 10 in the French team.
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Sergio Perez uses the number 11 on his car The origins are not in motorsport, but in football Mexico is a big fan of Club America, especially former player Ivan Zamorano. “I loved how Bam-Bam played, how he scored. I became his fan and decided to race with that number. To this day I always use #11, right down to my email address!” Perez said.
Alpine F1 driver Fernando Alonso uses #14 On 14 July 1999, at the age of 14, he became the world champion in karting with the #14. “From that moment I knew #14 was my number,” he said
Charles Leclerc competes in Formula 1 with #16 The Ferrari driver was born on 16 October 1997 His choice was initially the lucky number seven, but it has already been taken by Kimi Raikkonen Next, Leclerc wanted the #10, but it was already driven by his good friend Pierre Gasly. After some simple math, he settled on #16: “Because one plus six is seven.”
Lance Stroll drives his Aston Martin #18 In the early days of his career he won the Italian Formula 4 championship with this race number. Furthermore, after his 18th birthday, he made his Formula 1 debut with Williams. “A bit superstitious, but I like to hold on to the little things that are important to me. I don’t want to change them.”
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Kevin Magnussen ran the #20 in F1 as he won the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series title, making his Grand Prix debut with McLaren.
Alexander Alban will stick with the #23, which he used in the early stages of his F1 career. It is an iconic number in the world of sports Basketball players LeBron James and Michael Jordan played with this number for part of their careers, as did soccer player David Beckham. Alban is a big fan of Valentino Rossi, as is colleague Lando Norris. In his karting days, the Brit competed with his #46, but decided to opt for half the numbers in F1.
Chosen for Joe Guanu #24 The number was last used by Timo Gluck in 2012 The Chinese driver chose the number as a tribute to basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who is one of his biggest fans. Bryant wore No. 24 in his final year with the Lakers
Nico Hulkenberg returns to the #27 used in the early part of his F1 career The number is quite famous in F1, used with great success by Gilles Villeneuve and occasionally by other stars including Ayrton Senna and Jean Alessi. But, according to reports, the German’s reason behind choosing #27 has nothing to do with it, as it coincides with the date and month of his birthday: 19 August.
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Esteban Ocon uses #31 In 2007 the Alpine F1 driver took his first title in karting with that number. He still considers it the best year of his career He made his Formula 1 test driving debut in Lotus service with the #31 in October 2014.
Yuki Tsunoda chose the #22 for his F1 debut at Alfatori The Japanese driver drove #11 in his early karting days and wanted to use that number in Formula 1 as well, but that starting number was already occupied by Sergio Perez. Tsunoda just doubled the number, ending up with #22
Race with seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton #44 The Brit ran his first kart race with this number, but didn’t know what race number to choose at the time, so he took the number from his father’s car license plate: F44. With that number he laid the foundation for his successful career and therefore wanted to use it in Formula One. During the year he qualified for the race with the #1 as world champion, the Brit stuck to his #44.
Carlos Sainz contributes his Ferrari #55 “The S in my first name is 5 and the S in my last name is the same, which makes #55”. Furthermore, #5 is his favorite number, but it is already taken by Sebastian Vettel He reached #55 with this self-invented word game
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George Russell uses #63 “My brother used to go kart with number 63, so it is our family number,” he said. With some creativity, 63 can also be read as GR, which is the initials of Mercedes Driver. Others see it as GB, which stands for Great Britain
Valtteri Bottas races with the #77 Finn, like many other drivers, wanted the lucky seven However, this number has already been taken by his compatriot Kimi Raikkonen. So Bottas chose #77, which he cleverly applied to his personal merch with the Bo77as logo.
Oscar Piastre has announced that he will drive the #81 in F1 after using the number in his junior career. Starting with #11 while karting in Australia, Piastre switched to #81 as a competitor had a previous race number as he climbed the karting ladder. He used different numbers when he began competing in Europe but reverted to the #81 when competing in both British F4 and the Formula Renault North European Cup.
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