Date of birth, homage, pun: The starting numbers of the 22 Formula E drivers in 2023 at a glance
The 2023 Formula E World Championship is in the starting blocks: On January 14, the ninth season of the electric series begins in Mexico City. In addition to the new Gen3 cars, we'll also see new driver duos at ten of the eleven teams. Among other things, this ensures that some starting numbers have also changed. By chance, however, these are never chosen...
At the beginning of the new season, 'e-Formula.news' gives you an overview of which teams will compete with which starting numbers. In contrast to Formula 1, the starting number in Formula E does not belong to a driver but to the respective team. Nevertheless, several drivers have already competed for different teams with the same starting number. There are some interesting stories behind this.
Neom McLaren | 5 Jake Hughes | 58 Rene Rast
Formula E debutant Jake Hughes will start 2023 with the starting number 5, which already belonged to the (predecessor) team for several years: at HWA Racelab and at Mercedes Stoffel Vandoorne started with this number for four years. In addition, the "Silver Arrows" had also secured the starting number 17: These numbers correspond to the numbering of the two letters of the electric Mercedes sub-brand EQ in the alphabet. In the very first Formula E season, Mahindra driver Karun Chandhok used the number, later also Venturi driver Maro Engel.
Team-mate Rene Rast will start with the number 58. This number is new in Formula E, but was also not chosen by chance: It is a tribute to Bruce McLaren, the founder of McLaren Racing. The New Zealander's first race car, an Austin 7 built in 1929, bore the number 58, and for the same reason McLaren will also start with this number in Extreme E.
Maserati MSG Racing | 7 Maximilian Günther | 48 Edoardo Mortara
Max Günther takes over the starting number 7 at Maserati, which has always been used by Dragon Racing in Formula E so far: After Jerome d'Ambrosio, Jose Maria Lopez, Nico Müller and Sergio Sette Camara also drove with this number.
For the fourth consecutive season, Edoardo Mortara is using the number 48, which he already had on his car in karting and later in the DTM. He is the only Formula E driver ever to wear this number on the car.
Jaguar TCS Racing | 9 Mitch Evans | 10 Sam Bird
For Jaguar, it's not just the drivers that remain constant, but the race numbers as well. Mitch Evans will use the number 9 for the second consecutive year, having previously worn 20 on his Jaguar for four seasons.
Sam Bird enters his third Jaguar season with the number 10, having previously used the number 2 for six seasons with Virgin Racing. In the first two Formula E seasons, the number 10 car belonged to the Trulli team - team owner Jarno Trulli himself started with it.
Envision Racing | 16 Sebastien Buemi | 37 Nick Cassidy
Sebastien Buemi also gets a new starting number with his new team: the number 16 was previously used in Formula E only in seasons 4 and 5 by Oliver Turvey at Nio. Buemi, on the other hand, raced with this number in Formula 1 in 2010 and also previously in formula racing series.
Nick Cassidy, in his third Formula E season with the team, will retain his familiar starting number 37, with which he also raced in the DTM in the interim. Predecessor team Virgin had previously used the number in season 3 with Jose Maria Lopez.
Avalanche Andretti | 27 Jake Dennis | 36 Andre Lotterer
Jake Dennis will retain the number 27 for his third Formula E season, which Andretti has used since the series' inaugural season. The team has been using the number in IndyCars, or earlier Champ Cars, for even longer: here Dario Franchitti, later a co-commentator on Formula E on the English-language World Signal, already drove with this starting number for Andretti's predecessor team Green in the late 1990s.
Team-mate Andre Lotterer retains his starting number 36, with which he previously drove for Porsche and at Techeetah. Only in his debut season did he have the number 18 on his car, as the 36 was still being used by Virgin Racing on Alex Lynn's car at that time.
TAG Heuer Porsche | 13 Antonio Felix da Costa | 94 Pascal Wehrlein
Antonio Felix da Costa continues to race with the number 13 after his switch from DS Techeetah to Porsche - a number that no one before him wore and that was not assigned in many racing series for a very long time. It's not just that the number has been known as an unlucky number in many cultures for centuries: You don't usually find a 13th floor in a skyscraper or a 13th row in an airplane. In motorsports, the number has been avoided since the 1920s, after Frenchman Paul Torchy had a fatal accident at the 1925 San Sebastian Grand Prix and Giulio Masetti crashed a year later at the Targa Florio with that number.
Fans will also not have to get used to Pascal Wehrlein compared to last year. The German will once again be driving with the starting number 94, which he previously used in the DTM, during his Formula 1 time at Marussia and Sauber, and at Mahindra. The background: Wehrlein was born in October 1994.
Mahindra Racing | 8 Oliver Rowland | 11 Lucas di Grassi
Oliver Rowland is changing his race number for the new season, with 8 now emblazoned on his Mahindra instead of 30. The number was previously in use in Formula E at Renault e.dams for Nico Prost and then at Nio for Tom Dillmann, and later for Oliver Turvey.
Lucas di Grassi, on the other hand, will also start for the new team with "his" starting number 11. He used this - apart from season 4, where he started as reigning champion with 1 - throughout his Formula E career. The Brazilian, who was born on August 11, 1984, also started the GT3 race in Macau with this number.
Nissan | 17 Norman Nato | 23 Sacha Fenestraz
Norman Nato, who competed at Venturi two years ago with the number 71, is swapping numbers for the upcoming season: 17 is a tribute to Jules Bianchi, who had a fatal accident with this starting number in Formula 1. The number was previously used in Formula E by Mercedes-EQ and the predecessor team HWA Racelab.
Happy and proud to race under number 17 in @FIAFormulaE ⚡️ This number means a lot to me. I started in karting and won championships with the 17. Jules also raced in @F1 with this number which makes it even more special for me.Can't wait to get started 1️⃣7️⃣ #NN17 #JB17 pic.twitter.com/tLhXWkCmhS- Norman Nato (@NatoNorman) December 19, 2022
The second newcomer to the Japanese team, Sacha Fenestraz, takes over former champion Sebastien Buemi's old starting number of 23. This number has been used by Nissan in international motorsport for many years. Absolutely no coincidence: the Japanese pronunciation of the numbers 2 and 3 is "Nis" and "San".
Nio 333 | 3 Sergio Sette Camara | 33 Daniel Ticktum
Nio 333 continues to use race numbers 3 and 33 for its bolides. The starting number 3 "inherits" newcomer Sergio Sette Camara from his predecessor, Oliver Turvey. The Brazilian previously drove for Dragon Racing with the number 7, which was also no coincidence: the Portuguese pronunciation of the number is "Sete". Previously, the number 3 was used by Jaime Alguersuari at Virgin and then by Nelson Piquet Jr. at the Nio predecessor team NextEV, as well as at Jaguar.
Daniel Ticktum retains his race number 33, which was originally emblazoned on the car of Ma Qinghua, who drove with it both at Techeetah and later at Nio. Rene Rast took over the number, with which he had already competed in the DTM, for Audi's final season in Formula E before Nio used it again for Ticktum.
DS Penske | 1 Stoffel Vandoorne | 25 Jean-Eric Vergne
Stoffel Vandoorne will compete as the reigning Formula E world champion with the starting number 1. This "privilege of the champion" had previously been claimed by the two Brazilians Nelson Piquet Jr. and Lucas di Grassi.
His new teammate Jean-Eric Vergne retains the number 25, which he previously had on the car at Virgin and Techeetah. The Frenchman, who was born on April 25, 1990, had already used this starting number in Formula 1 prior to his Formula E days.
ABT Cupra | 4 Robin Frijns | 51 Nico Müller
Despite switching from Envision Racing, Robin Frijns will continue to race with his familiar number 4, which he already used in junior formulas and later in DTM. In Formula E, the Dutchman has been using it since season 5. Previously, Stephane Sarrazin, Tom Dillmann and Edoardo Mortara competed with this number at Venturi.
Team-mate Nico Müller uses the number 51, which he also previously had on his car in the DTM. The origins go back to Müller's karting days: his cousin drove there with the number 50, so Müller was given the 51 when he became his teammate. He also won the title in the Swiss Formula Renault with this number. The 51 has existed once before in Formula E: James Calado used it in season 6 on his Jaguar.