With fewer than three weeks remaining until the first test of the 2014 Formula One season, the FIA has released the official entry list for the new season.
Although most teams had already announced their driver pairings for 2014, the list confirms that Marussia will retain the services of Max Chilton. He will be paired, once again, with the previously confirmed Jules Bianchi. At this point, the only two unknowns left on the grid are the two Caterham seats.
Aside from this bit of news, the entry list confirms the drivers' new permanent numbers.
In December, the FIA announced that, starting in 2014, F1 drivers would be able to choose their own numbers, which they would keep for the duration of their careers. Previously, the numbers had been assigned based on the teams' positions in the Constructors' Championship the year before.
Since that announcement, the drivers have been slowly leaking their choices (each driver was asked for three—in the case of conflicts, the driver who finished higher in 2013 would have priority).
Now, for the first time, we have a (nearly) complete list. Chilton's number was not announced, and until Caterham's drivers are announced, we will not know what numbers will be on the sides of the team's cars this year.
|Sebastian Vettel||1||Red Bull|
|Daniel Ricciardo||3||Red Bull|
|Nico Hulkenberg||27||Force India|
|Sergio Perez||11||Force India|
|Jean-Eric Vergne||25||Toro Rosso|
|Daniil Kvyat||26||Toro Rosso|
Based on this list of driver requests, compiled by Sky Sports, it appears every driver, except Bianchi, received their first choices. Bianchi originally requested Nos. 7, 27 or 77:
Hello my friends :) i asked for 7,27 and 77. We will see what i will get ...— Jules_Bianchi (@Jules_Bianchi) December 16, 2013
However, Kimi Raikkonen also chose No. 7, Nico Hulkenberg requested 27 and Valtteri Bottas selected 77. All three drivers finished ahead of Bianchi in the 2013 Drivers' Championship, so the Frenchman was forced to go with his fourth choice:
Let's go for #17 ! #F1 #2014— Jules_Bianchi (@Jules_Bianchi) January 10, 2014
Finally, Sebastian Vettel will use No. 1 for as long as he is world champion. When his reign ends, though, his permanent number will be No. 5.
With that out of the way, the merchandisers can start producing driver caps and shirts, the car liveries can be finalized and the fans can look forward to some racing.
Update, January 14: Chilton has confirmed his number for next season:
So next year I will be racing with number 4 on my car! #M4X— Max Chilton (@maxchilton) January 13, 2014
Follow Matthew Walthert on Twitter @MatthewWalthert