F1 Driver Numbers 2023 - Why Drivers Chose Their Race Numbers
Written by Owen Bradley, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri
With the 2023 season just a few weeks away, and Pre-Season testing on the horizon, we thought it would be a good idea to look at why drivers chose their race numbers, especially with new drivers Logan Sargeant, Oscar Piastri, and Nyck De Vries entering the F1 circus this year.
Max Verstappen will keep the Number 1 going into the 2023 season, having successfully defended his crown in 2022. A driver is eligible to run with the Number 1 if they win the championship the year before. This explains why Verstappen ran Number 1 in 2022, and will do so again in 2023.
Sergio Perez will run the Number 11 - giving the graphic designers an easy time at Red Bull, as they will simply need to copy and paste the same number, albeit thrice. Jokes aside, Perez chose the Number 11 after his favourite football player, Ivan Zamorano.
Charles Leclerc continues to run the Number 16 for 2023, having done so since his rookie season in 2018. He actually runs this number because he wanted the Number 7, which at the time, was taken by 2007 F1 Champion, Kimi Raikkonen. Leclerc says that: “1+6 is 7, therefore I will go with 16”.
Carlos Sainz Jr runs the number 55 once again, and has done so ever since he joined the sport in 2015, for Toro Rosso. He uses Number 55 because of the two S’s in his name. It has also made branding much easier, for example: Carlo55ainz.
Lewis Hamilton uses the number 44, and has done so since 2014, when drivers were first allowed to choose their numbers. He drove his first kart carrying the number 44, and also says he uses it as a memory of his father Anthony’s car’s licence plate, the ending of the plate being: F44
George Russell uses the Number 63 for 2023, and uses it as his brother used to drive a kart with the number 63, further saying that it has become his family’s number ever since.
Lando Norris uses the number 4, and there isn’t really much story behind his use of this number, other than him contemplating the choice of MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi’s iconic number 46. Instead, he chose to run with the Number 4.
Newcomer Oscar Piastri uses the number 81, having used this number in British F4 and Formula Renault Northern European Cup, in his junior career.
Esteban Ocon uses the Number 31, and will continue to do so this year, after taking his first karting championship in 2007, with the Number 31, and having tested his first F1 car with the same number.
Pierre Gasly joins Alpine for 2023, after a long spell in the Red Bull family, and will use Number 10, a number he used originally because of his favourite French football player Zinedine Zidane, who played using the number 10 as well.
Yuki Tsunoda enters his third season in F1, still using the number 22 - a number formerly taken by 2009 F1 Champion, Jenson Button. He revealed that his karting number was always 11, and so he doubled that. Apart from Jenson Button, another Japanese driver, Takuma Sato ran with the number 22 at one point, and as a fellow Japanese driver, Tsunoda says Sato was a great inspiration to him during his childhood days.
Rookie F1 sensation Nyck De Vries will enter his first full season in F1 this year, after a stellar stand-in performance saw him score points for Williams at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix, adding to his championship-winning exploits in Formula E from the 2020/2021 season. De Vries will use the number 21, which he believes is his lucky number.
Fernando Alonso joins Aston Martin in 2023, taking the place of F1 legend, Sebastian Vettel. Alonso has used the number 14 since 2014, when the drivers were first able to pick their race number, and will continue using the number for yet another year. Alonso has revealed he uses the Number 14, having won a championship in karting at the age of 14, having driven a kart with the number 14.
Lance Stroll continues what seems like an eternal contract with Aston Martin, and will return again - this time as the only Canadian on the grid. He uses the number 18, as he won the Italian Formula 4 championship with this number.
Valterri Bottas will continue to use the number 77 he chose all the way back in 2014. He uses this number, as he wanted the “lucky” number 7, one that was already chosen by fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen.
Guanyu Zhou uses the number 24, as he heads into his second season in F1. He uses it as he wants to honour basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, who also used the number 24 as a player.
Kevin Magnussen remains at Haas going into 2023, and will be hoping to build on what was an impressive comeback to the championship in 2022, now with a pole position for the sprint race at Brazil, to his name. Magnuseen uses the Number 20, having won the Formula Renault 3.5 series with the same number.
Nico Hulkenburg, aka “Super Sub” and “Hulkenback” once again returns to Formula One, this time with a permanent seat, having made sparse race appearances over the past three seasons. Hulkenburg will continue to use the number 27, and simply thinks the number is “cool”.
After a solid first season with the Grove-based squad, Alexander Albon returns once again with the number 23, and his reasoning for this is simply because MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi used the number 46, and he wanted to have a number similar, and thus halved Rossi’s number. The effect Rossi seems to have had on other drivers and riders when it comes to giving themselves a branded number seems honestly incredible, and is once again, a testament to one of the greatest personalities in the history of motorsport.
Logan Sargeant joins the F1 grid this year, and will use the number 2, a number that 2022 Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne used in his short stint in F1. Sargeant revealed he uses this number after having a great season with that number in Formula Renault. Let’s hope that the number can bring him more luck than it did for Stoffel Vandoorne all those years ago!
Well, with the 2023 season about to get underway, now we know why the drivers use their numbers, so let’s see how much luck these numbers bring them for this year!
In the meantime, If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe to the Divebomb YouTube channel!