According to a recent report in the Italian media, Scuderia Ferrari Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc would have liked to use the number seven from Kimi Raikkonen in Formula 1 starting with the 2021 Formula 1 season. However, this cannot happen.
Charles Leclerc has raced with the number 16 since he made his Formula 1 debut four years ago for Sauber, given the fact that his number seven that he used during his junior racing years was not available. The driver holding the rights was Kimi Raikkonen. The former Scuderia Ferrari driver has retired from Formula 1 at the end of the 2020 championshio and Autosprint Italy informed that Charles Leclerc was taking into consideration the possibility of using the number seven again in Formula 1 since it is now vacant.
Yet given the current regulations, Charles Leclerc will not have this option as a driver must keep the number they chose throughout their Formula 1 career. The only exception to that rule is when a driver becomes World Champion, at which point they are allowed to use the number one for the following season, as Max Verstappen will do after winning the 2021 title.
That driver’s number though is reserved to return to the following year in case they do not win the Formula 1 world championship again.
Article 9.2 of the Formula 1 sporting regulations informs that “prior to the start of the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship race numbers will be permanently allocated to drivers by ballot, such numbers must then be used by that driver during every Formula One World Championship Event he takes part in throughout his career in Formula 1.”