London - Jules Bianchi's racing
number 17 has been retired from use in Formula One following the French
driver's death last week, the sport's governing body announced on Monday.
"As F1 car numbers are now
personally chosen by each driver, the FIA believes it to be an appropriate
gesture to retire Jules Bianchi's number 17," the International Automobile
Federation (FIA) said on their website (www.fia.com).
"As a result, this number can no
longer be used for a car competing in the FIA Formula One World
Bianchi died in hospital nine months
after he suffered severe head injuries in a Japanese Grand Prix accident when
his Marussia crashed into a recovery tractor moving another car away from a
His funeral is in the southern French
city of Nice on Tuesday, with Formula One then re-grouping in Hungary for the
10th race of the season on Sunday.
The 2014 season was the first after a
rule change allowed drivers to choose their own numbers, and 17 was not
Bianchi's first choice.
The Frenchman had preferred the numbers
7, 27 or 77 but all were taken by drivers ranked ahead of him according to the
previous year's standings.
Since his accident, the #JB17 hashtag
has become familiar on Twitter as an expression of support and affection for
the popular driver.