Ferrari and the FIA have agreed to change their drivers’ numbers to reflect Felipe Massa’s higher finishing position in the 2008 season.
According to the official F1 website, Massa will now take the number 3, and Raikkonen the number 4 in the reverse order from previously announced.
The prior declaration that Raikkonen would take the number 3 was greeted with raised eyebrows in the F1 fraternity, because of Massa’s being the runner-up in the 2008 world championship – a position usually rewarded with 3 on the car in the following season.
Some speculated that the move was designed to reflect the Ferrari pay scale, on which Raikkonen is reported to be significantly higher than Massa. Others hazarded that the measure was intended to give Raikkonen a confidence boost with an unofficial team leader tag.
But Ferrari are not the only team to have requested a revision to their drivers’ numbers.
At Toro Rosso, Sebastien Bourdais s previous season in F1 means he will now take number 11, with rookie team mate Sebastien Buemi numbered 12.
New constructors traditionally take the lowest two numbers on the grid, meaning Brawn GP will this year take 20 and 21 for Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello respectively.