Leclerc says 16 was third choice F1 number
8 December 2017 – Sauber's Charles Leclerc says he chose 16 as his permanent driver number in Formula 1 after his first two choices were unavailable, having already been taken by rivals.
Ferrari-backed Leclerc, this year's runaway Formula 2 champion, will step up to Formula 1 with the Alfa Romeo-affiliated Sauber operation in 2018, after several tests and FP1 runs for the team.
Each driver selects a number between 2 and 99 which they will carry through their careers, with 1 reserved for the champion, and 17 retired in honour of the late Jules Bianchi.
Leclerc will step up to Formula 1 and carry number 16, revealing that his initial choices had already been selected by two of his 2018 opponents.
"Number 16 is quite simple to be honest," he said, when asked about his choice by GPUpdate.net, ahead of Friday evening's FIA Gala in Paris.
"I wanted number seven first but Kimi [Räikkönen] had it, and then I chose number 10 but then Pierre [Gasly] came to Formula 1 and chose number 10.
"So I was like 'okay', so then I chose number 16 because it's my date of birth [October 16] and could not find anything better.
"And, one plus six is seven, which is my favourite number, so I chose that!"
Leclerc has never raced with 16 in single-seater competition, having used 7 in Formula 3 before taking the number 1 during his GP3 and Formula 2 title-winning campaigns.