Verstappen first claimed #1 after winning last year’s world title in Abu Dhabi and used it for the 2022 world championship.
Taking back-to-back world titles, the Dutchman again gets to choose between #1 and his personal race number 33, which he has used since his karting days, but has decided to honour the custom of carrying the world champion’s number.
“Yes, I will use number 1 again next season. For me, starting number 1 is the most beautiful number there is for any racing driver,” Verstappen said in Abu Dhabi. “How often do you get the chance to drive with starting number 1 in your Formula 1 career? You never know.
“I can always go back to number 33 if I am no longer world champion. But as long as I am world champion, I will use number 1 every single year.”
Verstappen: “As long as I am world champion, I will use number 1 every single year.”
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
In 2022 Verstappen became the first driver to race with #1 on his car since Sebastian Vettel in 2014, when the rule introducing personal race numbers was introduced. Lewis Hamilton opted to keep his now iconic #44, while Nico Rosberg did not defend his 2016 world title.
For Verstappen the famous #1 is a reward for an utterly dominant 2022 campaign with Red Bull Racing, which he thinks will be hard to repeat in 2023.
“This has been a very special season, not only for me but also for the team,” he acknowledged.
“We have won the constructors’ title again for the first time since 2013 and that is obviously very important for the entire team.
“I think it will be very difficult to match this year in the future, let alone surpass it.
“The mindset should obviously be to do better every single season, but that won’t be easy after the year we had. We should also cherish how 2022 turned out and really enjoy these moments.”
As of yet F1 2023’s two newcomers Nyck de Vries and Logan Sargeant have not confirmed which race numbers they will use in their rookie F1 campaigns.