Logan Sargeant, Nyck de Vries and Oscar Piastri join the Formula 1 grid in 2023 and bring three new F1 driver numbers with them. We take a look at the history behind each of their driver numbers in F1!
Since 2014, Formula 1 drivers have chosen the number which will appear on their car throughout the entirety of their F1 career. Drivers can choose any number between 2 and 99, with the number 1 reserved for the reigning World Champion. In 2022, Max Verstappen became the first driver to race in car number 1 since Sebastian Vettel in 2014.
In 2023, three new drivers join the Formula 1 grid and will each bring a new F1 driver number to the grid. While Logan Sargeant and Nyck de Vries will each use numbers which have appeared on many occasions in the past, Oscar Piastri will use a number which appeared in only one Grand Prix, back in 1951.
Daniel Ricciardo currently holds the record for most starts in a single car number, having made 182 appearances in car number 3 between 2014 and 2022. His record will be equalled at the first race of the season by three drivers – Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez. The 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix will be the first event since the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix which car number 3 will not start.
#2 – Logan Sargeant
Logan Sargeant joins Formula 1 in car number 2, having previously run the number in Formula Renault. Sargeant is the second driver to pick number 2 as his permanent number. The other driver to do so was Stoffel Vandoorne. His last race, at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, was the last time that the number started a Grand Prix.
There have been just seven seasons of Formula 1 in which car number 2 has not made an appearance, the first being as recent as 2014 when permanent driver numbers were introduced.
95 drivers have appeared in car number 2 in total, with Rubens Barrichello having made the most starts with the number. Barrichello raced in car number 2 in every season from 2001 to 2005.
Six drivers have won the title in car number 2, while the number has taken 83 Grand Prix victories – the third most of any number. Mark Webber was the last driver to win in car number 2, doing so at the 2012 British Grand Prix. The car number has recorded 99 poles, the most recent of which was also for Webber at the 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and 276 podium finishes.
#21 – Nyck de Vries
After a points-scoring debut when deputising for Alex Albon at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix, Nyck de Vries embarks on his first full Formula 1 season with AlphaTauri in 2023. The Dutchman raced in car number 45 on his one-off appearance last year but has chosen 21 as his permanent number for the rest of his F1 career.
De Vries becomes the first driver to race with car number 21 since Esteban Gutierrez, who chose it as his permanent number in 2014. He last raced in F1 at Haas in 2016. Gutierrez holds the record for most starts with the number, having made 40 appearances in car number 21.
The number has made 679 race appearances in total, scoring just a single win – that being for Jackie Stewart at the 1972 Argentine Grand Prix. Bruce McLaren had taken the first podium finish in car number 21 ten years earlier at the 1962 United States Grand Prix.
Aside from McLaren and Stewart’s podiums, car number 21 has recorded another three podium results – with Jacques Laffite at the 1975 German Grand Prix, Keke Rosberg at the 1980 Argentine Grand Prix and, most recently, Giancarlo Fisichella at the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix.
#81 – Oscar Piastri
Oscar Piastri will become the first driver to start a Grand Prix in car number 81 since the 1950s at the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix. The number has made eight previous appearances at rounds of the World Championship, but only one of those appearances has been at a Grand Prix. The other seven were all in the Indianapolis 500, when it was a round of the championship between 1950 and 1960. Piastri chose the number as he used it in karting.
The only driver to previously start a Grand Prix in car number 81 is Maurice Trintignant, who used the number at the 1951 German Grand Prix. Racing with Gordini, Trintignant qualified in 14th place for the race but retired seven laps from the end.
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. 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 Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.