At the recent F1 Strategy group meeting, it was revealed that the FIA would enforce Formula One Teams to display car numbers and driver names from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards. These details have been finalised, with Race Director Charlie Whiting issuing a letter to all teams, ahead of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.
Whiting has informed teams that that race numbers should be at least 23cm high, and that the names should be 15cm, and on the external bodywork. That will mean that valuable sponsorship real estate will need to be sacrificed to allow for this new ruling. However, teams can opt to use the official timing screen abbreviations on the bodywork, meaning RIC instead of Ricciardo and RAI instead of Raikkonen.
So why this sudden change? Actually, when you dig a little deeper, you’ll see that the regulations surrounding names and numbers has been around for some time – it’s just that nobody enforced the rules surrounding the implementation of the regulations.
Article 9.2 of the Sporting Regulations in relation to driver information states: “This number must be clearly visible from the front of the car and on the driver’s crash helmet.” Article 9.3 goes on to describe “the name or the emblem of the make of the car must appear on the front of the nose of the car and in either case be at least 25mm in its largest dimension. The name of the driver must appear on the external bodywork and be clearly legible.”
An except from Whiting’s letter to the teams:
“We feel that to be clearly visible the numbers should be no less than 230mm high, have a minimum stroke thickness of 40mm and be of a clearly contrasting colour to their background. Each driver’s name to be clearly legible on the external bodywork. We feel that to be clearly legible the names should be no less than 150mm high, have a minimum stroke thickness of 30mm and be of a clearly contrasting colour to their background.”
Failure to comply with the regulations, according to Charlie, will mean a report to the Stewards and the potential for a car – or team – to be disqualified from the race. Liberty Media are taking the ‘show’ of Formula One quite seriously it seems and the ability to tell who is who is paramount for those being exposed to the sport for the very first time.