As I'm sat in the airport ready to fly home from a week in Ireland it occurred to me that we might not see the Number 1 back on a Formula One car for some time. At the start of the 2014 F1 Season the F.I.A. made drivers choose their race numbers between 2-99 for the rest of their careers, instead of their number relating to the previous Championship. Sebastian Vettel had a choice between the Number 1 and the Number 5 as he was the 2013 drivers Champion. So keeping in line with tradition, Vettel being one for tradition in F1, stuck with the Number 1. But after a lack lustre season in the Renault powered Red Bull Vettel had to take up the Number 5 as the Number 1 was offered to the 2014 Champion Hamilton. But Lewis opted not to take the Number 1 on his car meaning 2015 is the first season since 1994 not to have the Number 1
in the field (Alain Prost was the 1993 World Drivers Champion but retired at the end of the year so Williams had the Number 0 instead). With Lewis Hamilton choosing to keep his number 44 for 2015 it could mean that Number 1 could be lost. If Hamilton wins any more Championships he will presumably keep Number 44, thus leaving out Number 1 for at least another season. But this could start a trend where the World Champions choose not to race with the Number 1 but keep their own race number. Also with new drivers unable to choose Number 1, as its reserved for the Champion, the famous winning Number 1 could become a lost number in Formula 1 as drivers choose to keep 'their' own number. Furthermore the F.I.A. can't force a driver to use Number 1 as they are entitled to use the number they chose to use for the rest of their career. The identity of the drivers has become a priority for the F.I.A. with the introduction of driver numbers as well as drivers having to use the same helmet design for the whole season. So could this be the end of the Number 1 in Formula 1?
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