In F1, Drivers have an assigned number. But how are these numbers decided?

Is it

  • Drivers Choice?
  • Constructors Choice?
  • Randomly assigned?

Also, if the number is chosen, who has first pick?




9.2 Each car will carry the race number of its driver as published by the FIA at the beginning of the season. This number must be clearly visible from the front of the car and on the driver’s crash helmet.

Prior to the start of the 2014 World Championship season race numbers will be permanently allocated to drivers by ballot, such numbers must then be used by that driver during every Formula One World Championship Event he takes part in throughout his career in Formula 1. A driver’s career in Formula 1 will be deemed to have ended if he does not participate in an Event for two entire consecutive Championship seasons.

Any new drivers, either at the start of or during a season, will also be allocated a permanent number in the same way.

The only exception to this allocation process will be for the reigning World Champion who will have the option to use the number one. The number that was previously allocated to him will be reserved for him in subsequent seasons if he does not retain the title of World Champion.

Which indicate they will use the number allocated from FIA by ballot and it is permanent, however reigning World Champion can choose between his allocated number and number one.

However this autosport.com article confirms that drivers were given a chance to choose their preferred number prior to 2014 season.

From article:

The FIA is also keen to ensure that the choice of number is made by the driver, rather than the team that employs him, which is why they are being contacted directly.

  • 2
    I'm pretty sure the drivers choose their number based on what is available, obviously no two drivers can have the same number. The ballot referred to by the regulations may be if more than one driver wants the same number. For example Hamilton chose #44 as it was his number when he was a child karting and kept that number instead of using #1 when he won the championship in 2015 and 2016.
    – davidjwest
    Oct 13 '17 at 7:03
  • 1
    @davidjwest Sir that autosport article mentions the same. Hamilton must've chosen 44 as his number prior to 2014 season but after he won world championship he didn't choose 1. Oct 13 '17 at 7:17

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