#27

In 2014 the FIA allowed F1 drivers to pick up their own permanent numbers for the rest of their careers. Such numbers cannot be reallocated unless the driver hasn’t participated in the championship for 2 seasons in a row. Many tifosi hoped one of the Ferrari drivers would choose legendary #27, but neither Fernando Alonso, nor Kimi Raikkonen, who drove for Scuderia in 2014, didn’t make such choice. Besides, the number belongs to a driver and not to a team (as it was in the past), so there were even less chances that #27 would be on Ferrari car for a long time.
Jules Bianchi, former Ferrari protégé, was one of the drivers who picked #27 but he had the lower hand and the number has gone to Nico Hulkenberg. Funny thing, the talented German was about to move to Ferrari several times and he practically got the seat in 2014, but then the bosses in Maranello has chosen Kimi Raikkonen instead. In 2015 the story was almost repeated and again Raikkonen “beat” Hulkenberg. So since 2014 we can see #27 on the front of Force India car.

OK, but what was all the fuss about #27? Why is it so famous and so important for tifosi? It’s time to look through the F1 history books to get the answers.

Stats of #27 up to the end of 2015.
 GPs   Wins   Podiums   Pole positions  
 420   25   86   24 
Up to mid-1973 there were no strict rules about the numbers’ distribution. Everything depended on the organizers of each GP and #27 wasn’t as popular as one might think today. Cars with this number appeared on the grid once or twice a year and usually it wasn’t assigned to the best team or the fastest driver. Nonetheless at the Austrian GP 1970 the driver with #27 on his car finished 2nd in the race. The driver was Clay Regazzoni and the car, by pure coincidence, was Ferrari!

In mid-1973 the FIA decided to assign permanent numbers to the teams (not the drivers). Hesketh Racing was the first team that had #27 on its car. This car was driven by James Hunt. But the success for #27 cars came in the late 70s when this number belonged to Frank Williams’s team for several seasons.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images
At the British GP 1979 Alan Jones took maiden pole position both for himself and for #27. Just 2 weeks later #27 car finished first at the German GP on the race day. The Aussie didn’t even think to stop, in 1980 Alan Jones became the World Driver Champion driving #27 Williams. Consequently, Williams got #1/#2 for the season of 1981 and #27/#28 went to… Ferrari.

Let’s go a little bit back in time. In 1979 Ferrari won WCC, Jody Scheckter became the champion and Gilles Villeneuve, favourite of the public and Enzo Ferrari, became vice-champion. But it was hard to defend both titles in 1980, moreover 1980 was the worst season in Ferrari F1 history. The team ended 10th in WCC and the best result in the race was the 5th place. And after that disaster the team got #27(Villeneuve)/#28(Pironi). In 1981 the situation became better, Villeneuve even won 2 GPs. Unfortunately the Canadian was not able to fight for the crown driving #27 Ferrari, he tragically lost his life during the Belgian Grand Prix in 1982.

With the exception of the season of 1990 #27 remained in Ferrari up to 1995. The team won 2 WCC during this period, but the drivers couldn’t win WDC. In 1990 Alain Prost, the reigning world champion at that moment, joined the squad bringing #1/#2 with him while #27/#28 have gone to McLaren. Ironically McLaren and Ferrari exchanged their numbers back just a year later, Ayrton Senna won the WDC in 1990 driving #27 McLaren. In 1996 the FIA changed the numbering system again and #27 was gone… until 2014.

Just think about it. For 4 years Alan Jones (Williams, 1978-1980) and Ayrton Senna (McLaren, 1990) brought more glory to #27 than Ferrari drivers for 14 long years! All in all 57 different drivers have used #27 throughout their careers, among those Ronnie Peterson, Carlos Reutemann, Jacky Ickx, Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell, the head of Red Bull junior program Helmut Marko and Jules Bianchi’s uncle Lucien. Today this number belongs to Nico Hulkenberg and maybe, just maybe it isn’t so bad Nico doesn’t drive for Ferrari. Isn’t so bad for both Hulkenberg and Ferrari. Let’s hope the German will have luck with another team in Formula 1 paddock.


Alain Prost /#1, Ferrari/, Ayrton Senna /#27, McLaren/, Japanese GP 1990 (? ©)
 ##   Driver   Team  Season(s)  GPs  Achievements 
 1   Walt Ader   Rae   1950   1    
 2   Duane Carter   Deidt   1951   1    
 3   Johnny Claes   Simca Gordini   1952   1    
 4   Tony Bettenhausen   Deidt,
 Kurtis Kraft 
 1952, 1957   2    
 5   Louis Chiron   O.S.C.A   1953   1    
 6   Alan Brown   Cooper   1954   1    
 7   Ed Elisian   Stevens   1954   1    
 8   Rodger Ward   Kuzma   1955   1    
 9   Cliff Griffith   Stevens   1956   1    
 10   Louis Rosier   Maserati   1956   1    
 11   Red Amick   Epperly   1960   1    
 12   Gerry Ashmore   Lotus-Climax   1961   1    
 13   Keith Greene   Gilby   1962   1    
 14   Giancarlo Baghetti   Automobili Turismo
 e Sport 
 1963   1    
 15   Kurt Kuhnke   Lotus-Borgward   1963   1    
 16   Peter Revson   Lotus-BRM   1964   1    
 17   Chris Amon   Lotus-BRM   1964   1    
 18   Lucien Bianchi   BRM   1965   1    
 19   Brausch Niemann   Lotus-Ford   1965   1    
 20   Dan Gurney   Eagle   1966   1    
 21   Piers Courage   BRM   1968   1    
 22   Bill Brack   Lotus   1968   1    
 23   Jacky Ickx   Ferrari   1970   1    
 24   Clay Regazzoni   Ferrari   1970   1   Podiums: 1 
 25   Ronnie Peterson   March-Ford   1970   1    
 26   Silvio Moser   Bellasi   1970-71   2    
 27   Jo Bonnier   McLaren-Ford   1970-71   2    
 28   Andrea De Adamich   March-Alfa Romeo   1971   1    
 29   Howden Ganley   BRM   1971   1    
 30   Henry Pescarolo   March-Ford   1971   4    
 31   Helmut Marko   McLaren,
 BRM 
 1971-72   2    
 32   Mike Beuttler   March-Ford   1971-72   2    
 33   Carlos Pace   March-Ford   1972   1    
 34   Derek Bell   Tecno   1972   1    
 35   John Love   Surtees   1972   1    
 36   Tim Schenken   Surtees   1972   1    
 37   Carlos Reutemann   Brabham   1972   1    
 38   Rolf Stommelen   Eifelland,
 Embassy Hill 
 1972, 1974   6    
 39   Reine Wisell   March   1973   1    
 40   James Hunt   Hesketh Racing   1973   8   Podiums: 2 
 41   Peter Gethin   Embassy Hill   1974   1    
 42   Guy Edwards   Embassy Hill   1974   10    
 43   Mario Andretti   Parnelli   1975-76   14    
 44   Larry Perkins   Boro   1976   1    
 45   Patrick Neve   March   1977   11    
 46   Jean-Pierre Jarier   Equipe Ligier   1977   1    
 47   Alan Jones   Williams   1978-80   45   Wins: 9
 Podiums: 16
 Poles: 6
 WDC 
 48   Gilles Villeneuve   Ferrari   1981-82   20   Wins: 2
 Podiums: 4
 Poles: 1 
 49   Patrick Tambay   Ferrari   1982-83   23   Wins: 2
 Podiums: 8
 Poles: 4 
 50   Michele Alboreto   Ferrari   1984-88   80   Wins: 3
 Podiums: 19
 Poles: 2 
 51   Nigel Mansell   Ferrari   1989   16   Wins: 2
 Podiums: 6
 52   Ayrton Senna   McLaren   1990   16   Wins: 6
 Podiums: 11
 Poles: 10
 WDC 
 53   Alain Prost   Ferrari   1991   15   Podiums: 5
 54   Gianni Morbidelli   Ferrari   1991   1 
 55   Jean Alesi   Ferrari   1992-95   63   Wins: 1
 Podiums: 13
 Poles: 1 
 56   Nicola Larini   Ferrari   1994   5   Podiums: 1
 57   Nico Hulkenberg   Force India   2014-…   38 

russian version

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#27

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