There is something reassuringly normal about racing drivers who are superstitious. Alan Jones, who won the Williams team’s first championship, always raced in a particularly old pair of lucky underpants. Don’t get me wrong; he had overalls over the top, of course. But it was all rather quaint for a bloke who had something of a reputation as a tough nut.
Similarly, former Tyrrell and Brabham driver Stefano Modena always climbed into his car from the same side. He also insisted on doing up his own seat harness. If his mechanics so much as touched the belts during this process, he would undo them, climb out of the cockpit and begin the whole process again.
Fast forward to 2010. Now we hear that Michael Schumacher has swapped racing numbers with his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg for superstitious reasons. The seven-time world champion, who is returning to the sport after a three-year break has opted for No3, with Rosberg moving to four.
"Michael has a preference for odd numbers," a team spokeswoman said on Wednesday. "He asked if he could be the odd number and we were happy to accept."
Odd numbers are not Schumacher's only eccentricity The German always wore a ceramic charm, given to him by his wife and with the initials of his family members, when racing for Ferrari.