Formula One introduces driver numbers for 2014 season
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel takes the number one as defending champion
The German had chosen five as champion will race with No. 1 for a season
Fernando Alonso takes 14, with Lewis Hamilton opting for 44
He is Formula One’s undisputed No. 1, and next season Sebastian Vettel will have proof of that fact emblazoned on his Red Bull but choosing a number was not so simple for the rest of his rivals on the grid.
Ahead of the 2014 campaign getting under way in March, each racer was invited to select the number they wanted to display on their car for the rest of their careers.
Four-time champion Vettel chose the No. 5 – fitting as he chases a fifth successive drivers’ championship – to brand his car with but, as the reigning title holder, he will automatically run with the No. 1 on his Red Bull chassis.
The new regulation has been introduced by the sport’s rulemakers to allow drivers to market themselves more effectively.
Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo will sport the No. 3 during his first season with the all-conquering marque, while 2013 runner up Fernando Alonso will race with the No. 14 on his Ferrari as a throwback to his karting days.
Kimi Raikkonen will mark his first season back at Ferrari with the No. 7 on his “Prancing Horse.”
The Finn displayed his usual laidback attitude when it came to choosing his number, explaining on Ferrari’s website:”It’s the number I already had last year and I saw no reason to change it. I like it which is good enough isn’t it?
McLaren’s Jenson Button requested 22 as it was the number he had on his Brawn GP car when he was crowned world champion in 2009.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has opted for 44; his teammate Nico Rosberg has taken the number six.
The 2014 season will begin with the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix on March 16.