Under this new system, drivers will choose a race number between #2 and #99, which they will keep throughout their career, with the #1 reserved for use by the current champion, if he chooses to use it.
“Drivers will be asked to choose their race number, between 2 and 99, for the duration of their career in the FIA Formula One World Championship. Number 1 will be reserved for the current World Champion, should he choose to use it,” reads a statement released by the FIA on Monday.
“If more than one driver chooses the same number, priority will be given to the driver who finished highest in the previous year’s championship.”
It was revealed last week that the idea of permanent race numbers would be tabled for discussion by the F1 Strategy Group for the 9th December.
The system will be implemented instantaneously, as a result of the World Motorsport Council’s decision to hand a mandate to change rules to the F1 Strategy Group and the Formula One Commission last week.
This new system is similar to that used by MotoGP, whereby each rider chooses a number which they carry throughout their career, with the #46 and #69 both becoming synonymous with Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden respectively.
Race numbers in Formula One were previously handed out according to the previous season’s constructors’ championship table, with only the #1 and #2 following a different method, as they went to the defending drivers’ champion and his team-mate, regardless of where their current team finished the year before.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.