Max Verstappen says he will definitely run No. 1 on his car next season if he wins this year’s Formula 1 drivers’ world championship.
Since F1 introduced personalized driver numbers in 2014, only Sebastian Vettel — the 2013 champion — has chosen to use the number on his car as the reigning champion (pictured above). Since then, Lewis Hamilton has always opted to retain his number 44, while Nico Rosberg retired immediately after winning his title in 2016.
When quizzed on whether he would run the iconic number in 2022 if he were to be champion this year, Verstappen replied: “Absolutely. How many times to you have the opportunity to drive with No. 1? And it’s good for merchandise as well so it’s smart to do that!”
Verstappen was responding to a direct question on the topic but says he has had no specific thoughts about winning the championship despite his 19-point lead, given the way the season turned around at Silverstone and the Hungaroring earlier this year.
“Well, it’s very simple to be honest because if you don’t think about it, you don’t have any dreams or whatever. I am just really focused. In four races, a lot of things can happen. We are looking good but things can change very quickly. I already said that after the race in Mexico…
“I mean, I’ve had a bigger lead already in the championship and that disappeared within two race weekends, so we have to again try to do the best we can here and again after this weekend we will try and win the race. My approach every single weekend is the same, so we will not change that.”
No other driver can beat Verstappen’s tally of nine wins so far this season, and the Red Bull driver admits being in a position to win so many races is another reason why he feels so relaxed as he is enjoying 2021 whatever happens in the final standings.
“The only winner is the one who finishes on top — it doesn’t matter how many races you win. I have so far had a great season, a lot of wins, nice pole positions. Whatever happens in the end it’s not going to change my life — I’ve said it many times. I am just enjoying what I am doing.
“It’s the best (fighting for wins), otherwise it’s pretty depressing if you know that you can’t win after a while. Of course, you know when you get to Formula 1 you have to accept it. When I started at Toro Rosso at the time this is how F1 is. Normally there are only one or two teams that can fight for a championship but of course, you hope that one day you get into a car where you can win.
“As soon as you get into that car, it’s very enjoyable and you’re happy because how many times do you have this opportunity? You don’t know. Maybe from next year onwards you never get that opportunity again. I am just really enjoying the moment.”