* The big news is that Formula One drivers will now be given a number for life, mirroring their counterparts in MotoGP - and apparently also pointless American banger racing series NASCAR. But nobody on this side of the big pond cares about that, so let's stick with MotoGP.
We believe this will be a positive move for drivers, allowing them to use their numbers for promotional and merchandising purposes; just look at Valentino Rossi, who has become synonymous with the number 46 during his career and has used it to maximum impact on all kinds of overpriced tat.
We did however feel a little sad for the passing of the arcane numbering system of the eighties and early nineties, before constructors championship positioning largely dictated it. For people of a certain age, 3 and 4 will always be Tyrrell; 5 and 6, Williams; 14 an Osella of some sort and, inexplicably, 27 and 28 are forever Ferrari.
* Some numbers of note for you, then:
- Sebastian Vettel has chosen 5, perhaps as an ominous warning that he intends to extend his title streak. As reigning world champion, he will carry number 1 next season, but after that he'll have to give it back to its rightful owner, Michael Schumacher.
- Kimi Raikkonen chose 7, because it was what he had last year and he doesn't care at all about anything, ever.
- Pastor Maldonado has picked number 13 - do we even have to add a punchline to this? - and Adrian Sutil has 99, whilst Valtteri Bottas has outed himself as an Ash fan by picking 77.
- Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso actually put some bloody thought into it, unlike just about everyone else. Button has 22 as it was the number he won the title with, and Alonso's 14 is an old karting number. See? THAT'S how you're meant to do it!
- 00 is reserved for Dick Dastardly, whilst the number 2 has been retrospectively retired with Mark Webber.
* We've not commented on the driver moves, as they're largely what we had pencilled in anyway (Perez and Hulkenberg to Force India, Sutil joins Gutierrez at Sauber), but it's worth mentioning that Max Chilton has been retained for a further season's slog at Marussia, as we were under the impression that someone else would step in.
Max - if we can call him that, and frankly, we can. Who's going to stop us? - actually set an interesting record last year, becoming the first driver to finish every race in his rookie year. Granted, most of those were in last place; still, it's a testament to Marussia that they could build a car that is capable of finishing consistently, especially since their first effort didn't have a fuel tank big enough to reach race distance...
* And finally, ex-Ferrari and Jaguar underachiever Eddie Irvine thinks awarding
double points for
the last race of the season is "embarrassing" and that the rulemakers
" should be ashamed of themselves" (source: BBC News).
That would be the same Mr Irvine who was sentenced to jail for a brawl in a nightclub with an Italian man, which may or may not have involved brandishing a broken glass as a weapon. Engine Blood find this "embarrassing" and believe Mr Irvine should be "ashamed of himself" (source: us).
And THAT'S all the blood that's fit to drain! Good to back, fans!