Nicholas Latifi will race with the number six in his Formula 1 career. Here’s everything you need to know about the number’s history in the sport.
Number six was most recently raced by Nico Rosberg between 2014 and 2016. That stint culminated in him winning the Drivers’ Championship before retiring from Formula 1. The number could have been picked by any of last year’s rookies to be their driver number, with numbers becoming available again when two full seasons have passed since the last driver using it left the sport. Rosberg was the sixth driver to win the title with the number six on his car, after Mike Hawthorn (though he raced with the number only once that season), Emerson Fittipaldi, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet and Kimi Raikkonen. It has won the third most titles of any car number, behind 1 and 5.
British driver David Hampshire was the first to use the number six in Formula 1, doing so with Maserati at the 1950 British Grand Prix. He finished ninth in that race, six laps down on winner Giuseppe Farina – who himself would race with the number six at three Grands Prix in 1953.
In total, 122 drivers have used the number six at a round of the Drivers’ Championship (including at the Indianapolis 500 between 1950 and 1960). Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez are the only other drivers on the 2020 grid to have previously raced with the number. Raikkonen did so in 2003, 2004 and 2007, while Perez had car number six during his single season at McLaren in 2013.
Juan Manuel Fangio was the first driver to win with the number six on his car, doing so at the 1950 French Grand Prix. The most recent win came for Nico Rosberg at the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix. The number has won 75 times so far in F1; the fourth-most wins for any number. Those two races are also the first and last at which a driver using the number took pole position, with 89 pole positions in total.
If Nicholas Latifi were to take the fastest lap at any race this year, it would be the 100th race where a driver using the number six on their car has set the fastest lap.
The reason for Latifi’s number usage? Telephone number area codes. In Toronto, where Latifi is from, area codes for phone numbers are either 416 or 617. “It’s a bit silly,” said Latifi, “but it kind of stuck, so I decided to choose that”.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and GPDestinations. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.