- Logan Sargeant will be promoted to F1 if he qualifies for a Super License, as expected.
- Sargeant said before the US Grand Prix that he would pick No. 3 for his car, his favorite number.
- However, even though Daniel Ricciardo won’t be a driver in 2023, the No. 3 will still be his until at least 2025.
Logan Sargeant is set to bring the Stars and Stripes back to Formula One, but he might be surprised to learn that he won’t be able to use his preferred number, even if no other driver will use it next season.
Before the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, Williams Racing team principal Jost Capito announced that Sargeant would race for his team next year, replacing the outgoing Nicholas Latifi, if the American can secure a Super License from F1’s governing body, the FIA.
Sargeant, who is currently third in the F2 standings with one race remaining, must finish sixth or better in the final standings to earn his Super License. Sargeant has a 12-point lead over the seventh-place driver.
If Sargeant does get his Super License and earn his promotion to F1, his first big decision might be tougher than he expected.
Before the US Grand Prix, Sargeant was asked what number he would pick as an F1 driver.
“If I had the pleasure of having that opportunity, I would personally pick [No.] three,” Sargeant said. “That is my favorite. Obviously, Daniel Ricciardo has it at the moment. But yeah, that’s my favorite number.”
When asked why the No. 3, Sargeant said he just liked the number. However, he did note that it was also the iconic number used by American racing legend Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR.
Since 2014, drivers have been allowed to pick their car number upon joining F1. While Ricciardo’s signature No. 3 is not expected to be on the grid in 2023, F1’s sporting regulations will not let Sargeant use the number.
According to the FIA, “a driver’s career in Formula 1 will be deemed to have ended if he does not participate in an Event for two (2) entire consecutive Championships.” In other words, Ricciardo will still be an F1 driver in 2023 and 2024, even if he doesn’t participate in any races, and as long as he is a driver, he keeps the No. 3.
Interestingly, Ricciardo also picked the No. 3 because of Earnhardt, as the Australian grew up a huge fan of the NASCAR legend.
To make matters worse for Sargeant, drivers must use the same number during their entire career, with the one exception being that the defending champion may switch to the No. 1 if they choose — Lewis Hamilton did not change after any of his titles, but Max Verstappen did switch to No. 1 this year. So once Sargeant picks a number next season, he won’t be allowed to change it to No. 3 in 2025, the earliest it could become available.
Sargeant, part of the Williams Driver Academy, races for Carlin and has surprised many with his performance in his first F2 season. He became the first American to win an F2 race earlier this season at the British Grand Prix and later added a second win at the Austrian Grand Prix.
As for other potential numbers, Sargeant is going to run into the same problem. Sargeant uses the No. 6 in F2, but that number faces the same issue as it is being used this season by Latifi. Even though Sargeant is replacing Latifi, the No. 6 will stay with Latifi until at least 2025.
The next logical number choice might be No. 33, but that belongs to Verstappen, even though he is now No. 1 and will be against next season.
Sargeant, who participated in US Grand Prix’s first practice session last week with Williams, would become the first American driver in F1 since current IndyCar driver Alexander Rossi started five races in 2015. The last full-time American driver on the grid was the aptly named Scott Speed, who raced for Toro Rosso in 2006 and 2007. Before Speed, you have to go all the way back to Mario Andretti in 1982, who was the last American to win an F1 race.