On car numbers, do you remember how Tyrrell used to have a three figure number for their cars - 009 and 014 etc.? Motor Sport once asked Ken Tyrrell if he really thought he would ever get to use the first digit in anger which bought on a terrible huff from Uncle Ken!
At least there is some sort of system regarding McLaren, although I eagerly await the MP5!!!
Ferrari have had (since 1996):
Then sense came with
F2001 (what happened to the F1-?) F2002
Then, oddly, they dumped the convention with the 248 F1 in 2006, before re-introducing it for the F2007 and F2008! This year they've gone to what most the other teams have done and marked their years in F1 with the F60!
Although, Toyota make themselves seem important by starting (in 2002) with the TF 102! Tyrrell, incidentally, got to 026 in 1998, before BAR took over. Other puzzling numbers include the Midland F1 16, from a team that lasted 1 year! The Super Aguri SA05 was in fact the Arrows A23, and never appeared in 2005 anyway! Plus 3 cars in 1998 decided to call their cars 198... sorry it would be 1998, I think, Jordan, Benneton and Minardi!
The Ferrari 248 was so-called because it was the first year of the switch to 2.4 litre V8 engines. Previous Ferraris followed this template, e.g. the 312 series (312, 312B, 312B2, 312T, 312T2, 312T3, 312T4, 312T5 etc.) for 3-litre V12s. The F310 of 1996 followed the same "logic".
The Midland M16 was a continuation of the previous Jordan numbering scheme, which had got up to EJ15.
Many teams, including Benetton, Renault, Jordan, Minardi and Toyota use numbers based on the year of competition. Perhaps their inspiration was Max Mosley's old team March, who designated cars according to year and series, e.g. The March 701 was a 1970 F1 car; the March 702 was a 1970 F2 car etc...
And, in case anyone doesn't know, McLaren originally numbered their cars simply "M", ending with the M30 in 1980. When Marlboro organised for Ron Dennis to take over control in that year, the new designations reflected the merger between McLaren and his team - Project Four - hence MP4.
John Player Sponsorship was introduced in 1972 on the Lotus Type 72C or D. Before that the cars ran in the red, gold and white of Gold Leaf.
When the all new Lotus Type 76 was introduced in 1974 Colin Chapman tried to insist every one called it the Lotus John Player Special Mark 1.
The Type 76 was an absolute dog of a car and was quietly shelved after only a handful of races. It was one of the pig ugliest Lotus's ever made.
Lotus reverted to using the Type 72 for the remainder of the season and on into 1975 in the Type 72E version.
Lotus launched the new Type 77 for 1976 and again on some sponsorship stuff this car was known as the Lotus John Player Special Mark 2. The car was poor at first but slowly gained speed and won the final race of the season at Japan.
The 1977 season saw the introduction of the Lotus type 78 with the now famous ground effect wings. (The skirts were introduced the year before at some races on the type 77 all though they were fixed and consisted of nylon brushes on the side pods). The type 78 was also known as the John Player Special Mark 3. There are some early Tamiya models of the car that carry this designation on the box.
The type 79 was introduced in the early part of the 1978 season and was one of the most beautifal F1 cars ever made. Suprisingly the car only remained competative for the latter half of the 1978 season. There were some attempts to call this car the Mark 4 but it wasn't common. By the start of the 1979 season the type 79 was repainted in green and carried the Martini racing colours and any attempt to re-name the cars after the sponsors was dropped.
JPS didn't grace the Lotus as title sponsor until the 1982 season when the black and gold re-appeared and this lasted until the type 98 of 1986. The type 99 appeared in the garish yellow of the Camel brand.