Rosberg yet to decide on using No. 1 in 2017, could keep ‘lucky’ No. 6

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Nico Rosberg is yet to decide whether he will use the No. 1 reserved for Formula 1 world champions in 2017, having used No. 6 through his title-winning campaign.

Permanent numbers were introduced to F1 for the 2014 season, with the No. 1 being reserved for the defending world champion should they choose to use it.

Sebastian Vettel ran with the No. 1 through 2014, with his preferred choice, No. 5, being reserved for when he was not world champion.

Lewis Hamilton has opted to pass on the offer to use the No. 1 through 2015 and 2016, having won the past two titles, and instead stuck with his traditional No. 44.

Rosberg claimed his maiden F1 World Championship on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, defeating Hamilton by five points in a nail-biting finale.

Rosberg has raced with No. 6 since permanent numbers were introduced, and is yet to decide on whether he will make use of the No. 1 for 2017.

“I have no idea,” Rosberg said when asked what number he would use.

“I love number six of course, my dad won the World Championship with number six as well, so it’s a very lucky number for us.

“Don’t know, that’s it.”

Rosberg will be the first F1 driver to make a decision about using the No. 1 without having previously used it, with both Vettel and Hamilton running the number before the new system was introduced in 2014.

A similar choice regarding use of the No. 1 is given to drivers in IndyCar, with Scott Dixon sticking with his No. 9 for the 2016 season despite winning the 2015 title. Simon Pagenaud is expected to race with the No. 1 in 2017 as defending champion.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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