FIA retire Bianchi’s number 17

The FIA have announced they will retire number 17 from Formula 1 in respect to Jules Bianchi who passed away this weekend from injuries sustained in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. The Statement read:

“Jean Todt, President of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) announced the car number 17 will be retired from the FIA Formula One World Championship in honour of Jules Bianchi.

“As F1 car numbers are now personally chosen by each driver, the FIA believes it to be an appropriate gesture to retire Jules Bianchi’s number 17.

“As a result, this number can no longer be used for a car competing in the FIA Formula One World Championship.”

Bianchi’s funeral will be held on Tuesday.

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Daniel Johnson

The loss of Bianchi is a terrible thing but do we really retire any driver’s number based on a fatality? Especially when there are only 100 numbers to start with and at any point 20 are going to be in active use. There are many other options to memorialize Jules’s memory perhaps an award for best young driver or something of the like, but retiring numbers should be reserved for the likes of the all time greats. Senna, Schumacher, Clark, Fangio. The number is about what was done while driving (or playing with) that number. The tragedy of Bianchi is… Read more »

Szymon Sadło

Good point but this should result in making F1 even safer. It is pretty much safe right now because this is a second fatality in the last 21 years and we had some really bad crashes in last years. I know that none of those drivers deserved to die. I thought it would never happen after 94 but unfortunately it happened. Let’s hope that it will not happen anymore and the numbers will retire only when a great driver will retire.


Your point is well made, but don’t forget two drivers died that weekend at Imola. Quite whether all the changes would have been made if it had been only Roland Ratzenberger who perished we will never know, but his death came as such a shock, particularly after Barrichello escaped with relatively minor injuries the day before.

Szymon Sadło

Of course you’re right. Two drivers died at Imola in 94

Negative Camber

It’s always a tricky thing given the death of other drivers whose numbers have not been retired.


The difference is that now the numbers were chosen by the driver rather than assigned.


To be blunt, I don’t understand why you care, mate. Any inconvenience or consternation that may be caused in 20 years, by retiring his number now, seems even less than unimportant. Even if Bianchi wasn’t a special talent, it seems fitting to memorialize him, as the first F1 death in twenty years, in any and every way possible.

John The Race Fan

A better way for the FiA to honor Jules would be to enact some safety measures that would prevent an accident like his from ever happening again.
How about a safety car deploying before removal equipment enters the track or run-off areas?

Nah. That would mean the FiA actually gives a shit about safety.


There hasnt been a death in 20 years before this and it took a freak accident. I wouldnt be so quick to knee-jerk and look for a problem to solve. If we dont see another death until 2036 it will be a victory. At least not sweeping changes like you suggest. Its as simple as “Consider things at driver height”. some kind of barrier attached to the counterweight on that crane would probibly have saved his life. or simply a different design of front end loader that you can crash an F1 car into and not have your head be… Read more »


Thats a very cynical conclusion John. I don’t think you can reasonably claim the FIA don’t care about safety. Between car safety features, track safety measures and the training and resources that go into improving safety at all levels of motorsports, the FIA have vastly improved the outcomes for drivers, mechanics, trackworkers and spectators in the last 3 or 4 decades. I think the virtual safety car measures that have been introduced are a very appropriate and effective response to the circumstances that lead to the tragic incident that lead to Jules death, but I’m sure that further measures are… Read more »


We should also spare a thought for the trackworkers involved in the incident. I consiider that they had little culpability in the accident, so it must be awful for them that the events of the day have resulted in Bianchi’s death.