The number 17 of Jules Bianchi will never again be carried by another Formula 1 driver. FIA president Jean Todt has decided to retire the number from the Formula 1 World Championship in honor and in memory of Bianchi, who passed away in the early hours on Saturday, 18 July 2015.
This is absolutely the right time and context in which to do this.
Formula 1 adopted the current numbering system just last year, giving drivers their choice of any number they would carry with them for the remainder of their F1 careers at any team they may race for now and into the future. The idea came from the motorcycle Grand Prix circuit, MotoGP, where riders have their choice of number to use throughout their career. It is virtually impossible to distinguish the number 46 with anyone – not just in motorcycle racing, but in all of motorsport – but its greatest champion, Valentino Rossi. It is also a series that has tragically lost three of its riders in this millenium, each of whom were also very much inseparable from the numbers they chose to ride with. Continue reading “The Right Time to Retire a Number”