F1's governing body on Friday revealed the race numbers drivers on the 2014 grid have picked for the rest of their grand prix careers.
World champion Sebastian Vettel will carry the coveted number 1 for the fourth consecutive season, but he has selected 5 - made famous by Nigel Mansell's 'red 5' - for the remainder of his time in formula one.
Many of the race numbers had already been divulged by drivers through their social media pages or via the media, but curiously Lotus' Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado has plumped for 13 -- considered unlucky by many and not seen in F1 for years.
Also curiously, the FIA marked Lotus' entire place on the 2014 entry list as "subject to confirmation", just days after the Enstone based team said it will be sitting out the opening test of the pre-season late this month.
McLaren's Jenson Button will carry number 22, resembling "two little ducks", as he did in 2009 when he won the title with Brawn GP.
"Quack quack!" he told his 1.6 million Twitter followers.
Nico Hulkenberg has secured F1's iconic number 27, while Adrian Sutil will carry 99 on his car and helmet.
Like Lotus, Marussia's place on the 2014 is "subject to confirmation", as is Max Chilton's race number.
The full entry list can be seen at http://www.fia.com/2014-fia-f1-world-championship-entry-list (opens in new window).
Best driver Vettel put Berger to sleep in 2013
Jan.10 (GMM) Sebastian Vettel finally overtook Fernando Alonso as the very best driver in formula one last year.
That is the view of former F1 driver Gerhard Berger, who nonetheless admitted that the style of German Vettel's domination in 2013 was a questionable spectacle.
"I didn't turn the television off, but sometimes I fell asleep in front of it," the inimitable Austrian legend told Auto Motor und Sport.
For many, Vettel's nine grands prix wins on the trot in the second half of 2013 ended the debate about whether the 26-year-old is a true great.
But many still regard Ferrari's Spaniard Fernando Alonso as better.
"That's not fair," Berger told the German magazine.
"Mark Webber is a very good racing driver, and he was also sitting in a Red Bull," he said.
"Until a year ago, I still saw Alonso as the most complete driver, but after this year I would put Vettel in first place for the first time."
Berger thinks Alonso's outbursts against Ferrari revealed a chink in his armour, while in contrast Vettel redoubled his efforts when things were not going right early on.
As for Lewis Hamilton, Berger thinks the Briton is now lagging behind the very best.
"For me, just behind Vettel and Alonso comes Raikkonen, although with Alonso (at Ferrari) he might now reach his limits.
"Hamilton is also not as complete as those two (Alonso and Vettel), who are in a league of their own. Hamilton's speed is enormous, but he has too many distractions.
"I am impressed by Nico Rosberg," said Berger, "who is underestimated. He did an unbelievable performance against Michael Schumacher, and now he's doing the same with Hamilton.
"Step by step he is bringing the (Mercedes) team to his side. It was like that with Schumacher and now he's turning the tables for a second time."
As for Nico Hulkenberg, Berger thinks the German is "good" but "too hyped up" by the media.
"He is (going to be) driving for Ferrari, then Lotus, then McLaren, and all the trains departed," he said.
Berger is also not shy to be honest about the new 'double points' innovation for the 2014 finale, brusquely dismissing the rule as "nonsense".
Perhaps more than any, Berger is a purist. Asked to diagnose F1's biggest problem, the former Ferrari and McLaren driver thinks the sport has become too sterile.
"My gut tells me that 650 or 750 horse power for a F1 car is not enough. Together with perfect aerodynamics, huge run-off areas and the electronic aids, the good are not different enough than the less good.
"In my time, when you did a perfect qualifying lap, you were a second faster than your teammate. Because you were riding a cannon ball.
"Safety comes first, and rightly so, but the cars and the tracks are now incredibly safe. So I think we could have engines with 1000 horse power again.
"The fans should watch and say 'I couldn't do that', like they do with MotoGP."
Berger acknowledges, however, that he is simply of a different generation. Now, in the 'green' and computer era, the FIA's new and silent Formula E series might be set to take over.
"Could be," he admitted. "I was asked if I wanted to be involved in Formula E, but I refused. This is not my kind of motor sport.
"I come from a generation that was proud of your car. You gave it wider tyres, tuned the engine, put a big wing on it.
"Modern cars are now so perfect that they are worse if you try to touch it. And if you bring a flash one to a disco, the women think you are a show off."
FIA now ready to police fuel limits in 2014
Jan.10 (GMM) The manufacturer of a crucial fuel flow sensor is now ready for F1's 2014 season.
We reported last October that the governing FIA was in a race against time to ensure teams obey the all-new fuel limits for the radical turbo V6 rules.
The reports said the company awarded the contract to supply the mandatory fuel flow rate sensors was struggling to improve on an error rate of 1.5 per cent.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said that error result was "worrying", and that the company Gill Sensors was working hard to improve the sensor ahead of the winter testing season.
Gill has now confirmed that its fuel sensor "has been homologated by the FIA" for the 2014 season.
The sensor "fulfils the FIA's accuracy requirements", the company added.
"We are delighted that the FIA is confident in the performance and durability of the ultrasonic fuel flow meter," said chairman Mike Gill.
Rumours of secret Ferrari V6 test grow - report
Jan.10 (GMM) Rumours Ferrari is already testing its all-new turbo V6 engine have only gained in strength in the last days and weeks.
Citing video evidence, we reported last month that a LaFerrari supercar had lapped the Maranello marque's private Fiorano circuit amid the distinct tones of a turbo engine.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport now has more details.
It has published detailed photos that depict the supercar, with a camouflaged livery, also featuring a "suspiciously large" air intake on the roof.
The car also had a "giant wing" at the rear.
Correspondent Tobias Gruner said it is obvious the car was not powered by its usual V12 engine, but a "small-volume turbo engine".
And on the livery was a triangular, yellow warning sticker, indicating that complex electric technology lurked beneath -- perhaps the sort of sophisticated energy-recovery systems that will power the team's 2014 F1 car?
"Ferrari will not publicly comment on the test," Gruner said, adding that it is also possible Ferrari was testing in preparation for a potential Le Mans project.
But the heavily-modified LaFerrari also featured a F1 2014-style, single and central exhaust outlet at the rear, while the car "sounded suspiciously like" the audio clips that have been released depicting this year's turbo V6s in development.
Caterham not ruling out Kobayashi for F1 return
Jan.10 (GMM) Kamui Kobayashi appears imminently close to securing his return to formula one.
The Japanese lost his Sauber seat at the end of 2012, spending last season as a Ferrari test driver and driving a works Ferrari 458 in the Le Mans series.
But Kobayashi, 27, has also collected millions from his fans to offer to a potential F1 race employer, and just before Christmas was spotted at Caterham's factory.
When asked about the popular former Toyota and Sauber driver, a Caterham spokesman told Sky: "There are lots of drivers being linked with Caterham at the moment which is very good news for us.
"I think it's flattering that somebody of Kamui's experience, talent and popularity would be linked to our team.
"We will be making an announcement on drivers in due course and there are a number of drivers of Kamui's experience who are being considered."
Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic drove for the team in 2013, but so far neither have been confirmed for the new season.
Along with Kobayashi, rookie Marcus Ericsson and former team driver Heikki Kovalainen have also been strongly linked with the seats.
The Caterham spokesman admitted that "at least one" of the team's 2014 drivers will be experienced.
"It's particularly important with the new rules and the new car configuration that you have somebody who has some experience," he said.
The spokesman added that Caterham is "very, very close" to making an announcement.