Formula 1: What do the driver numbers mean?

Since 2014, Formula 1 drivers have had a fixed track that accompanies them throughout their career in the most important category of motorsport. And they are not chosen randomly. They have an explanation for each of them. Here is their meaning.

Red Bull

Max Verstappen: For this new season, the Dutch driver will wear the number 1 on his single-seater as the reigning world champion. Until now, he had the 33 as a reference to the n°3 he had in the lower categories. But he was already taken by Daniel Ricciardo and so he chose to add a 3.

Sergio Perez: The Mexican is a football fan and a supporter of Club América. And he chose number 11 as a tribute to Chilean striker Ivan Zamorano, who wore this number during his time with the Mexican club at the end of his career.

mercedes

Lewis Hamilton: The seven-time world champion is inseparable from the 44. Despite his world championship titles, he refused to take the number 1 in order to keep the 44 that has made him happy since his debut in karting.

George Russell: Lewis Hamilton’s new teammate at Mercedes is wearing the number 63 for a very special reason. Indeed, the 63 can be transformed into “GR”, which is simply the initials.

McLaren

Lando Norris: A bit like George Russell, the Brit chose the number 4 to insert it into his first name. So he can replace the “A” with the “4” to make “L4ndo”.

Daniel Ricciardo: The Australian driver chose 3 because it was his childhood idol Dale Earnhardt’s number in Nascar.

Ferrari

Charles Leclerc: The Monegask wears the number 16 in connection with his birthday, he who was born on October 16, 1997. The addition of the two digits also makes 7, the number he wanted, but it was already taken.

Carlos Sainz: The Spanish driver wanted the n°5, but it already belonged to Sebastian Vettel. He then chose to double the 5 to make his number 55.

alpine

Esteban Ocon: Number 31 has been following Esteban Ocon for many years. The French driver chose this number because it was the number he had when he won the French mini kart championship in 2007.

Fernando Alonso: Number 14 is Fernando Alonso’s lucky number because he won the World Karting Championship with number 14 on 14 July (1996) at the age of 14. It is therefore very natural that he chose this number.

Alpha Tauri

Pierre Gasly: The Frenchman chose the 10 for two reasons. With this number he won the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 in 2013, but also because he is a big fan of Zinedine Zidane.

Yuki Tsunoda: The young Japanese driver took the number 22 with him as a tribute to his compatriot Takuma Sato, who had this number himself for several seasons.

Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel: Like several drivers, the German’s number 5 refers to his years in karting. But it’s not the only reason. In Roman numerals, the 5 is written with the letter V, which is nothing but the first letter of its name.

Lance walk: The Canadian chose 18 because it was the number he used to win the Formula 4 championship in 2014.

Alfa Romeo

Valtteri Bottas: The Finn wanted the 7, but it was owned by Kimi Raïkkonen. He then also doubled the 7 to have n°77. It’s also a nod to the double T in his first and last name (“Val77eri Bo77as”).

Guanyu Zhou: The Chinese driver will make his Formula 1 debut this season with the number 24. This is a tribute to American basketball player Kobe Bryant who tragically died in a helicopter crash in January 2020.

willems

Nicholas Latifi: The Canadian wears the number 6 in reference to his city of Toronto, which was nicknamed “The Six” by rapper Drake because of its six boroughs.

Alex Albon: In karting, the Thai driver had chosen number 46 as a tribute to Italian motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi. And then he halved it when he got to Formula 1 and gave it number 23.

Hare

Mick Schumacher: Michael Schumacher’s son wears the 47 because he wanted to associate the 4 and the 7. Indeed, he won the Formula 3 championship with the n°4 and the n°7 corresponds to the 7 world championship titles that his father won.

Kevin Magnussen: This season, replacing Nikita Mazepin, the Dane kept his n°20, winning the Formula Renault 3.5 championship in 2013.