FIA explains driver name/number ruling


Nico Hulkenberg - Renault Sport Formula 1 Team. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Following an F1 Strategy Group meeting in Paris on Tuesday, the FIA have ruled that car numbers and driver names must be clearly displayed from the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix onwards.

It has always been stipulated that this information should be easily visible to the eye, however this has never been strictly governed, and following suggestions that improving visibility would be better for fans at the track and for those watching on TV, the F1 commission decided to go with it.

The new guidelines stipulate that the number must be no less than 230mm in height, whilst the names should be at least 150mm, and located on the external bodywork of the car. Teams also have the option of using the full surname of their driver, or the abbreviated version used on the F1 timing screens.

Article 9.2 of F1’s sporting regulations states that “the number must be clearly visible from the front of the car and on the driver’s crash helmet.”

It also states that “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, and the name of the driver must appear on the external bodywork and be clearly legible.”

F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting informed teams of the amendment via a letter, which explained how the new rule would work.

“We require each car number to be clearly visible from the front of the car (Article 9.2).

“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 [or three letter code] is to be clearly legible on the external bodywork (Article 9.3).

“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.”

Whiting also confirmed that the FIA would be closely scrutinizing the order, and anyone not adhering to the guidelines could be ineligible for that weekend’s race.

“In order to fully comply with the F1 Sporting Regulations, we expect all cars to be presented in Barcelona with this new, much clearer, identification.

“A report will be made to the stewards concerning any car that does not comply with the above minimum requirements.”