The FIA announced the new regulation earlier this month before it was later added to next year’s regulations. Number one will be reserved for the champion, should he want to use it, and the remainder of the grid have been left to choose their preferred option between two and 99. Also, they must now be clearly visible on the car as well as being positioned on the driver’s helmet as well.
It has created a new off-track battle over the winter break, with drivers’ first submitting three options to motorsport’s governing body. The numbers will then be allocated in championship order, with Sebastian Vettel getting the first pick if he doesn’t want to go with number one.
For example, Jules Bianchi has confirmed that his first choice is number seven. However, this is also reported to be Kimi Raikkonen’s favourite and because the Finn finished higher than the Marussia racer in the 2013 championship, he will get priority.
Some of the 2014 grid has already confirmed their choices for next season, while others are keeping it quiet until the New Year.
Valtteri Bottas shared his options on Twitter, saying he has gone for 77 as his first choice, 17 as his second and 11 as his third. The previously mentioned Bianchi will go for 27 if he can’t get his first choice, with 77 as his third option.
Jean-Eric Vergne has also requested the number 27 – made iconic by Gilles Villeneuve at Ferrari – but it is only his third option, with 25 and 21 coming before it. His 2014 team-mate Daniil Kvyat wanted number seven, which was taken, so he looks set to use number 26.
Elsewhere Nico Rosberg revealed his top choice to be the number six. This was the number that his father Keke Rosberg sported when he won his world title in 1982. If it isn’t available, his other options are five and nine.
Ferrari’s 2013 duo have also made their options clear. Felipe Massa, who will race for the Williams F1 Team next year after being replaced by Kimi Raikkonen, looks set to run the number 19. Meanwhile Fernando Alonso told reporters in Madrid recently that he will run with the number 14, which he used in his karting days.
Sergio Perez has said he is keen to secure the number 11, but some drivers are keeping their choices quiet. “My 3 favourite numbers sent to the FIA but will keep it secret for now,” Romain Grosjean told his followers on Twitter.
Daniel Ricciardo joined the club, tweeting: “It’s a beautiful thing F1 drivers will have freedom to choose what number they want to race from next year. For now I’ll keep mine quiet.”
Meanwhile Adrian Sutil told the official F1 website: “Yes, I have picked my number already – and yes, my favourite was available – but it will be secret until it is official.”
The FIA requested that all three choices were submitted before Christmas. There are currently just three seats remaining on the 2014 grid, to see how the line-up is shaping up, go here: http://richlandf1.com/?p=17604
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic