Nikita Mazepin, Yuki Tsunoda and Mick Schumacher join the Formula 1 grid in 2021. We take a look at the driver numbers they have chosen to use for their career, why they chose them and the history each number has in F1.
#9 Nikita Mazepin
Nikita Mazepin joins Haas for 2021. It is not known why the Russian driver has selected the number to use in his F1 career – though 9 is the date in December 2020 on which he uploaded an “abhorrent” video to his Instagram account, as well as the number of days for which Mazepin’s apology statement appeared on his social media feeds before being removed.
Mazepin will become the 105th driver to enter a Formula 1 race in car number 9, and the first to do so since Marcus Ericsson at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 20 victories have been recorded by car number 9 – the most recent being for Nico Rosberg at the 2013 British Grand Prix. Rosberg is also the last driver to record a pole position in car 9, doing so at that year’s Monaco Grand Prix as well recording its last podium, at the 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen is the driver to have scored on the most occasions with car number 9, recording seven wins with his McLaren in 2005 and adding an eighth victory with the number at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
#22 Yuki Tsunoda
Having finished in third place in the 2020 Formula 2 championship, Yuki Tsunoda steps up to F1 in 2021 with AlphaTauri. The 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix will mark the first appearance for car number 22 since the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix, when Jenson Button entered his final race. Tsunoda will be the 168th driver to enter a round of the championship in car 22. Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo are the other drivers on the current grid to have previously raced with the number.
Car 22 has led three drivers to World Championship victories. Juan Manuel Fangio won the title in car 22 in 1951 and 1956 (though he did not race with the number all season), while Hamilton and Button won the title in successive years in car number 22 in 2008 and 2009. The number has recorded fourteen poles and fourteen wins, along with 36 podium finishes – the most recent of which was for Button at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix.
The last time the number appeared on a car for a driver at this team was in 2002, when the team was named Minardi. Both Alex Yoong and Anthony Davidson made appearances in car 22 that season.
#47 Mick Schumacher
Reigning Formula 2 champion Mick Schumacher joins Haas for 2021 and will race with the number 47. Schumacher has chosen the number 47 due to his connections to the numbers 4 and 7. 4 is the number with which Schumacher won the F3 title in 2018, while 7 is a nod to his father’s achievement of seven F1 World Championship titles.
The number 47 has rarely been used in Formula 1. Five drivers entered the Indianapolis 500 in car number 47 during the 1950s, with only Chuck Weyant qualifying for the event in 1959. He retired after 45 laps. The only Grand Prix in which a driver has appeared in car number 47 is the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix, when Stoffel Vandoorne deputised for Fernando Alonso at McLaren, recording points on debut. His tenth place finish remains the last time a driver scored on their maiden F1 appearance. The number has made seven appearances at Grand Prix weekends since then, with Lando Norris using the number on practice outings for McLaren during the 2018 season.
After graduating from the University of Hull 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 fifth 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.