In pictures: Great one-off F1 helmet designs

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In recent years we’ve become accustomed to seeing drivers sport unusual new helmet designs for certain races.

Some paid tribute to a former driver or a family member. Special helmets were commissioned to bid farewell to a team or show patriotic pride.

Other drivers changed their helmet designs in celebration – of their own success, another sporting triumph or their home country’s first grand prix.

And of course one driver carved out his own identity with an ever-changing succession of different helmet designs: Sebastian Vettel, who is seldom seen in the same helmet design on consecutive weekends.

But that could all be about to change as a report indicates the FIA is considering a ban on drivers changing their helmet design after the season has started.

As they may be about to become a thing of the past, take a look back on some of the most striking and unusual one-off helmet designs from the last six years:

Over to you

Is banning drivers from switching their helmets a worthwhile change in the rules? And which helmet designs of recent seasons did you like best?

Have your say in the comments.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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118 comments on “In pictures: Great one-off F1 helmet designs”

  1. Some great helmets. Really like Vergne’s tribute helmets.
    One of my favorites of the last years was Hamilton’s Senna tribute helmet.
    It was beautifully done.

    1. It’s government being government, taking freedom away

  2. The only ban I’d even slightly think made sense is the constant changing of helmets, the issue being with changing helmets constantly it could be harder for new fans with identification of the driver. But, a ban on one off special helmets? No, that’s just incredibly stupid.

    Either way, if there was a vote, I’d vote no on the ban. No real need, no real point, just don’t ban it.

    1. @philereid I hope Vettel – and anyone else who wants to – keeps on using whichever helmet design they like whenever they like and dares the FIA to issue a penalty for something so inoffensive.

      Drivers changing their helmet design doesn’t affect safety, doesn’t affect costs and the idea it somehow causes a promotional problem for F1 is utter cant. This is the FIA making a rule for the sake of being seen to be doing something.

      I’m sure there will be a rose-tinted specs brigade braying with joy about this rule, but I think it’s sad the FIA is imposing regulations of such piffling inconsequence when there are far more serious problems which need fixing in F1. The dismal shortage of cars, for example.

      Grid sizes are down to their lowest level at the start of the season in almost 50 years but don’t worry, here comes the FIA to ban drivers from changing their helmet designs.

      1. @keithcollantine

        Despite what I say below, I can’t reall disagree with this. What business should it be of the FIA what design is on the helmet? I could maybe understand if they were mandating specific identifying information that had to be carried, but they’re not.

        I do generally agree with the principle that drivers change their designs too often, and a lot of the designs are overly fussy or complicated and would look better with some simplification. But Vettels helmets always felt like a nice tribute to his team, and why would you ever want to stop drivers from having special one off designs for races with a special significance.

        Apparently the strategy group can’t agree to make changes that could help the long term viability and survival of F1, but they can decide to make arbitrary changes for absolutely no benefit.

        1. More or less one design for more or less the whole season … I think we’re good :)

      2. Personally I am no fan of constantly changing designs. But yeah, it’s really something that should be very far down the priority list for the rule makers to even spend some time considering the issue, it solves nothing, makes for new issues (when a driver/team wants to do a special one off, like they sometimes do with liveries).

        At the same time the FIA aren’t able to mandate a minimum size and clearly visible spot for the driver numbers (its not as if cars are currently so crowded with sponsor logo’s that there is no place for them), so if they really want to solve the issue of easily recognizing drivers …

        1. @bascb, Agreed, it would make sense to insist that the drivers number (now they have their own unique career long no.) is clearly displayed on a contrasting colour background which remains constant through the year, but a total ban on variation is entirely pointless. Why do they never think anything through before announcing it (a rush to the buffet maybe) or are they unable to make any decision final until it has been tested in the blogosphere ?

      3. @keithcollantine I agree. The FIA have no business involving themselves in this. The constantly changing colour of Vettel’s helmet is a matter between him and his doctor.

      4. @keithcollantine

        Genuinely believe that’s COTD worthy.

        I agree with pretty much everything you mentioned. I’m usually on top of things when it comes to helmet design so I’m extremely disappointed to see such a rule implemented. I don’t see why drivers can’t express some sense of design, it hardly affects anybody. Claiming that this will improve marketing is pathetic when there are many more severe things in the sport that limits its marketing.

      5. id be really sad if this came to be. as a custom painter/airbrush artist, seeing all the new designs, and how they speak of the drivers personallity is one of my favorite things every race weekend.

        1. My daughters, 21 & 18, are finally becoming F1 fans after watching it with me enough times and I took them to the COTA race last year. To them, the helmets and seeing what designs the guys would come up with was something they looked forward to. I personally didn’t like the constant changes, but WHO CARES what I like as long as it got more kids involved. So sad. So stupid and petty by a bunch of old men who are out of touch and unwilling to listen and learn what brings in the next generation to F1 at every turn.

      6. @keithcollantine You know what the worst about this is; not the part where they want to ban this but the part where they actually sat down, wasting money in a conference room, and thought ‘rules about helmet designs’ was a worthy topic for the agenda among cost cuts and 2017 rules.

        1. Thank you @xtwl That was simple, concise and accurate. It is such a sad statement regarding the men running our favorite sport….running it straight into the ground.

    2. @philereid I agree changing all the time is unnecessary, but ultimately it should be up to the driver (and team / sponsors if applicable) to decide.

      A compromise could be maybe allow 4 one-off specials per driver in a season, maybe for races such as Monaco and their home race.

    3. How about just making the numbers on the car larger ?

      ohh, sorry,

      1. You can tell who the driver is by looking at the top of the car. Driver 1 is black, driver 2 is yellow. Simple really. If you don’t know what team they drive for a helmet isn’t going to help you.

        1. Cameras are a tiny blob on a fast moving vehicle, only easily seen sideways on fairly close.

    4. I agree with the rule to an extent. The drivers should be able to change their helmets for Monaco, their home race, and last race (of their career or with a certain team) that way the drivers can still express themselves and we can have cool one-offs, but have no confusion over who is who on track.

  3. I do agree with the ban on drivers changing their helmets throughout the season. I remember the days when a driver’s helmet design was individual and immediately identifiable. Today it feels like you wouldn’t have much of a clue whose helmet you were looking at, especially if you covered up the sponsor logos. And I think having one design per season opens up the possibility of generating a bit of interest in each driver unveiling their helmet at the start of the season. God, that sounds awfully euphemistic…

    But then another part of me feels sad not to see special versions being made for Monaco. it was one of the things that made that race so special.

    1. C’mon, is it really that difficult to tell the difference between the drivers? Between the different camera colors, the name on the side of the car, and knowing what position they are in the race, there are plenty of other things to differentiate.

      These days it’s all but impossible for a driver to express themselves, and now the FIA wants to take one of the few ways they have left.

      1. @pastaman

        No, it isn’t really. Maybe it is if you’re trackside and you’re watching the race. But then I think there are easier ways of distinguishing between the two teammates, and one of them would be a much more prominent driver number. I don’t really see this as a big issue at all.

        I guess it’s just nostalgia. There’s too much of that lately. This weird idea that you can secure the future by looking at the past. Like there was some halcyon period where everything about F1 was perfect, and if you sort of make it look and feel a bit like it was then, you’ll somehow recapture the magic. It’s nonsense. Like a desperate attempt by a couple whose relationship is all but over to recapture what brought them together in the first place; a tacit acknowledgement that their best times together are now behind them. The saddest thing I think about F1 in 2015 is that it seems to lack the confidence to look to the future with optimism and with a willingness to innovate and grow, rather to look nostalgically to the past, in the hope of recapturing past glory.

        F1 is all but doomed if it can’t believe that the best times are ahead, rather than behind.

        1. F1 is all but doomed if it can’t believe that the best times are ahead, rather than behind.

          Very, very, very good, very true, well said.

        2. @mazdachris This is true, and I think it’s human nature to remember only the good things about the past. Whether or not F1 is truly doomed… well I think we will find that out when the old guard is replaced. Though I admit, it is difficult to be optimistic when it is in the hands of a few stodgy old white men with profit as the only motivation and who are completely out of touch with the new generation.

      2. @pastaman @mazdachris yes, I have to say, I’ve never had trouble identifying driver, and I never use their helmet design.

        1. @mazdachris,@pastaman,@strontium, Driver ID is a problem, especially the cockpit shot, I was always able to ID Webber because of the bright yellow top of his helmet, with Vettel though you could be looking at one of the STR drivers just as easily, I think a fair compromise would be the drivers number clearly displayed on a contrasting background useing the same colour combination and shape throughout the year, it could be a roundel, a diamond, a square, shield, whatever so long as it was clear and constant, then the rest of the helmet could be anything they want.

          1. @hohum so was Webber old enough then?
            Sorry, I couldn’t resist :D What you suggest here is a good idea, but personally I think it’s only a minor problem as they almost always display which car it is on screen anyway. Nevertheless if it is a problem which needs sorting, then it should be sorted, but without banning helmet changes altogether.

    2. For someone who’s walking down memory lane I’m sure there are far more important things you’d like to see impossed on F1 than a helmet design.

  4. To be fair, the simpler the better in terms of design. The intricate helmet designs are now so common that a helmet such as Ericcson’s, Vergne’s and Barichello’s are a fresh look.

    1. I must agree with this. Think of the drivers competing in 1995: Hill, Coulthard, Schumi, Alesi, Berger, Irvine, Barrichello, Brundle. They all had simple designs which could be very easily identified by casual fans.

  5. A driver’s helmet design is personal to him. So if he wants to change it every race, he should be allowed to do so. The same goes for him wanting to keep one design for his whole career. It used to irk me when people regularly changed their design but I actually quite enjoy seeing new helmet designs through the season. If the FIA step in it would be a travesty.

  6. It’s the other end on the scale compared to Vettel’s ever changing helmets, which is ridiculous. Driver’s should at least have the chance to go with another helmet in a couple of races, or rather they should be allowed to wear different designs in practices and qualifying – then they could go with the same design in all races during the year so that would be ideal for those who only watch the races (and it would be probably good for the season review DVD too), but also have the creative freedom, which clearly shouldn’t be taken away from them.

    1. Although I wonder, what kind of punishment could a driver get if he chose to use a different helmet?

      1. Mashiat Lam Gofran
        18th February 2015, 12:32

        A fine probably. Not a race ban or anything.

      2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        18th February 2015, 13:08

        @hunocsi racing without helmet? Looks like Webber got that penalty already!!!×594.jpg

      3. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        18th February 2015, 16:43

        Michael Jordan had to pay a fine everytime he wore his “Air Jordans”, but Nike was the one who actually paid the fine, as having Jordan wearing them was cheaper marketing than the fine itself.
        The only problem here is that new helmet designs are not sponsored by anybody.

        1. @omarr-pepper Well I never knew that but sure enough

          1. I knew that story already, but not in such detail, thanks for the link Keith.

            Anyway, I hope the same happens the day Vettel gets a fine for changing helmets.

    2. @hunocsi

      It’s the other end on the scale compared to Vettel’s ever changing helmets, which is ridiculous.

      Why is it “ridiculous”?

      Some drivers define their identity by sticking to one design. Vettel defines his identity by frequently changing his design. And somewhere in the middle we have drivers like Hamilton who occasionally changes his design.

      How frequently does a driver have to change their helmet design for it to become “ridiculous”? It seems completely arbitrary to me and I can’t understand why some people get so worked up about it.

      1. Yes, we can remember some drivers and say ‘hey, he was the one who always had a yellow helmet’, in a few years we will say ‘hey, he was the one with a new helmet on every race’ about Vettel.

      2. @keithcollantine I think you misunderstood me, in my opinion Vettel or anyone changing designs isn’t a problem or ridiculous. But if it’s considered a problem by the FIA or whoever and they want to adjust in the regulations so it would be limited, I’d find it acceptable (I thought that was explained in my post). But to completely ban the chance for any change in colors – which I think is the other end of the scale – is what I find ridiculous.
        I hope it’s understandable now.

        1. Sorry, I meant to say styling instead of colors.

      3. @hunocsi Right I see what you mean. Even so, a lot of people do have a problem with Vettel’s approach to helmet designs (see here for example), and I don’t understand why.

  7. A quite special one is missing!
    Grosjean, COTA 2013:

    1. Or Vettel’s “wooden” helmet the year before, really liked that one

      1. The guy (Jens Munser) who designs a lot of these helmets is super talented, I enjoy the drivers changing design frequently because I get to see the magic that he’s worked! Vettel’s metal/gladitorial style design at Monaco to the ‘rusty’ version he used in Bahrain as well as Sutil’s fighter pilot design from CoTA…all superb.

  8. What about Schumachers 1998 Suzuka helmet and his 20 year gold helmet at Spa.
    I think the rules need tweaking a bit to give drivers special ‘one off’ helmets for special races.

  9. I also remember Hamilton’s helmet in Monaco in 2010 :
    And Alonso’s helmet the year after in Monaco as well :

    1. 44 on Hamilton’s helmet!

  10. Good idea from the FIA I think, but there definitely should be a provision for special helmets to celebrate an occassion. Perhaps say 1 standard design per year with an option of running different designs at maybe 2 races per year?

    1. You say good idea, but you don’t even say why

  11. Personally, I would say make a set area of the helmet constant. A certain patch on the top, large enough to be recognisable race-to-race. During the race, the top is the part you see most. The rest is open to whatever design the driver wants.

    This accomplishes the goal of keeping the driver recognisable, while also allowing them to create custom designs. It’s a compromise, but one I think would work.

    1. Absolutely, include the drivers number.

  12. I can understand banning custom helmets on random races, but Monaco really should retain the possibility for it.
    It has become its own thing over the years and something that’s part of that race weekend.

    1. The problem with that is it is like saying that Monaco is more important than the other rounds (which arguably in many ways it is, but it isn’t fair for the FIA to say that). It would be biased and the other event organisers would not be happy either.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        18th February 2015, 13:35

        In reality Monaco its the blue-ribbon event, and should rightly be hyped up more than the others. So long as it remains worth the same points-wise, any other special treatment is a non-issue IMO

  13. What a total nonsense. Meaningless rule. If a driver wants to change helmet design, let him. Same goes for racing overalls. Helmets and clothing actually add some personal touch. Alonso at Abu Dhabi 2014 for example, with his Spanish-theme overall. F1 is getting more monotone by the day..

  14. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    18th February 2015, 13:17

    1571 hahahaa… He had the same points after the race.

    1. He should have used it the next race :P

  15. Daniel McCarthy
    18th February 2015, 13:28

    Why on earth would they bother having a rule about drivers swapping and changing designs? Focus on more important things I say. Personally I like to see the different ideas the drivers have. One of my favourites was Adrian Sutils from COTA last season. My all time favourite is Vettel’s bronzed helmet.

    1. I like most of Vettels helmets but I really like the 1 from Canada 2014, it had ONE written on its side.

  16. Seriously? With all the problems going on in F1, THIS is the rule they managed to pass? Who cares!!!! This is clearly the powers that be, trying to find SOMETHING to do so it looks like they didn’t just meet to smoke cigars and take rides on each other’s yacht.
    Did the take into account that sometimes the younger generation identifies with these superficial things like cool new helmet designs? NO, I personally don’t like new helmets all the time, but if these young drivers (who probably have a closer tie to young fans and their likes) want to change helmets….what do we care?

    The FIA should just admit they are eunuchs when it comes to running the sport and simply STOP.

  17. There’s a long list of changes which need to be made to the Formula 1 regulations and need to be seriously discussed amongst the teams and the governing body regarding survival of teams, safety and where the sport is going.

    What do they discuss? Whether somebody can use a tribute helmet or not.

  18. How unnecessary. Yes, it was a tad annoying to occasional poor design popped up, as with Gutierrez’s Monaco concept, and it was becoming less of a personal statement and more of a commercial exercise, but does that warrant the blanket ban that has been proposed? Hardly.

    Do special GPs, like Singapore and Monaco, not warrant special recognition? Would adding “ForzaJules” to a helmet count as changing the design, or indeed other personal messages? It is no longer the 1980s, it is cheap and easy to change a helmet design, so if it allows a driver to send a message to the fans or show their public support/gratitude, why ban it?

    If the sport’s governing bodies want to reinstate some nice old traditional motoring racing values, why not see that the commercial revenue given to the bottom end of the grid is enough so they can actually survive: I believe it called “fairness”.

  19. Jarno Trulli’s Simoncelli helmet – he wore it at the Indian GP I think – was one of my favourites. Emotional, yes, and it was a great, simple design that stood out from the overdone rubbish most F1 drivers have.

    When I’m in charge I’ll commit to removing 20 stupid rules from F1 every year, instead of adding new ones.

    1. @bullfrog Oooh! I like the idea of removing stupid rules. Stand for election! I’ll vote for you.

  20. In addition to the reasons mentioned in the article for wearing one off special designs several drivers and teams have run competitions to design a helmet for a particular race, surely such interaction with the fans is good publicity and positive for the sport.
    Another positive aspect of helmet changing is that when these special helmets have been auctioned for charity their uniqueness must have enhanced their value.

  21. As long as the designs aren’t offensive i see no reason to interfere with a drivers choice of helmet. Maybe all the drivers need to get together and wear plain white or pink helmets in Australia as a protest. That ought to do it ;)

  22. Did a changed helmet design contribute to Jules Bianchi injuries?
    Proponents of this insane regulation should go have “knowledge”
    of themselves.

    1. Ha! I love a good euphemism between consenting adults.

  23. The fia needs to be banned.Dont those fools have any thing to do?Maybe they can wash my car.No they would screw that up too.

  24. Really? Is THIS what the FIA is concerned about? I don’t get why this was even a problem, it’s not like every driver on the grid used to change designs every race weekend. Now because one driver used to change his helmet frequently (which in itself was his trademark), and that somehow was a problem to someone, we get an unneeded rule that strips drivers of even more individuality, while doing away with charity designs, Monaco specials and home-races homages. Unbelievable.

    I hope all 18 drivers turn up in Melbourne wearing plain white helmets in protest. Good luck trying to tell them apart.

  25. Oh yay! Another useless rule on the cards that would go towards robbing what little colour and personality the sport has left. Who cares if the average viewer has to use a tiny bit more of their brain to figure out which driver has what helmet? We already have coloured roll bars, distinct team liveries and large numbers adorning the sides of cars to help with this non-issue. If someone can’t tell which driver is which from all that, commentary, live race positions on-screen ect. then clearly driver helmets are not the issue.

    But yes, FIA, let’s do away with all the fun of one-off special occasion helmets for Monaco, Singapore or any other reason the drivers want to celebrate. That won’t annoy further an already abused hardcore fanbase that in most countries has to pay for the privilege of watching the sport on tv, pay exorbitant ticket prices and suffer through idiotic rule changes like double points. Continue on fixing things that weren’t broken in the first place FIA, that’s all you seem to be good at.

  26. I am a big enthousiast for this ban. As we all know helmet changing has lead to the direct drop of viewing figuers and terrible racing. I don’t understand it took them so long to even rething this ridiculous rule that should have never been there in the first place. This will also impact the team cost in a good way as they will no longer spend some several thousand euro’s on helmet and reserve helmets. Good job FIA!

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      18th February 2015, 16:45

      @xtwl hahahaha COTD here @keithcollantine !!!

    2. …and helmet designs caused two teams to drop out and a team of the Strategy Group is in trouble.

  27. I LOVE this post! It’s just perfect for this time of year when there’s a lull in the action. I think all these helmets are great, and since it’s hard to connect with a driver in F1 since you can’t see their face, I like the idea of letting them do what they want with their helmets. If I had to pick one though, Glock’s 2009 helmet makes me smile.

    Sidenote: anyone know the connection between Raikkonen and Hunt? He doesn’t seem like the sort of driver Kimi would pay tribute to. Plus, Hunt never raced Lotus, and Monaco was one of his worst races… so it must be some other reason, right?

    Cheers all

  28. Great! The only driver customizable part is now under rules. FIA has some true rule making geniuses. No wonder F1 is going downhill.

  29. The proposed ban makes no sense at all, as it would still allow drivers to change their helmets annually. I am very fond of the golden days of yore when drivers changed helmets only when changing teams, and often not even then, which is a great help when looking at old photographs. The proposed rule would not introduce anything of the sort.

    That said, I would not be a fan of a rule requiring drivers to wear only one helmet (some of the one-offs are really worthy). I’d prefer some motivational tools. Like, the order in a toilet and shower line-up after a race would be determined by how many races in a row they have been using their current helmet, the time they have to spent at media Q&A sessions would be inversely proportional to this number etc.

  30. Overall, I like this rule very much. A driver’s helmet should be his trademark making him instantly recognizable. The Vettel syndrome of changing helmets every race is ridiculous.
    Having said that, There should be an exception made to have a special one-off helmet once per season, after which the driver must return to his usual style for the season

    Many criticized this rule, saying that there are much more important things that need to be taken care of. They are completely correct of course. But my opinion is, that doing something good, however small, is better than doing nothing at all

    1. Why it is ridiculous? And why one helmet must be a trademark?

      1. see my reply to @timothykatz below

    2. @montreal95 I’m sorry, but I disagree with your argument profoundly and completely.
      For the most part, the helmet is the driver’s space wherein he is able to express himself and his sympathies or indeed to make a bit of extra cash.
      When JB’s father died, Button converted to a pink helmet out of love. When Simoncelli died, Trulli’s helmet changed as a mark of respect. In each case, every TV commentary team made explicit reference to it and explained the reason so there was no danger of fan confusion (they could always look at the car number anyway).
      If you are seriously supporting this rule change, I wonder how you view the addition or deletion of sponsor logos on the cars once the season has started? Perhaps all sponsor logos should be fixed for the season lest a viewer becomes confused by the unexpected appearance of a new logo on the car. I hope you agree that would be a ridiculous rule as well.

      1. @timothykatz Oh don’t be sorry to disagree with my opinion. I’m certainly not sorry to disagree with yours :)

        You’ve given part of the explanation yourself by mentioning cars and sponsor logos.
        Cars=/=drivers. To put up an approximate football analogy to change sponsor stickers on cars between races is like changing the stickers on front of the t-shirts between games. The shirt stays essentially the same, there’s brand identity, supporters can still identify with that, all is well. To change the driver helmet is like announcing mid-season than from now on Man United are the Blue Devils-complete outrage and death threats to the Glazers. You may not see at first the connection but you must not forget that all the fans see from the drivers is the helmet, unlike in football. The helmet to an F1 driver is what is in football The Red Devils, The Canaries, The Blues, The Reds and so on. It is the identity, the brand that helps fans to identify their heroes in a sport where exists a huge problem of accessibility anyway especially compared to other top line popular sports. Those constant changes only serve to alienate fans, that are already alienated by paddock inaccessibility, by F1’s non-existence in social media etc. etc.

        You may not see it that way, but trust me, as both a football and F1 fan, it really is to a great many people. The issue was highlighted by fans in the FOTA meetings, and in polls by the FIA. In short, much more people agree with my position on the matter(that’s not to deride your position, it’s a simple statement of fact). This rule didn’t appear out of vacuum but because it was brought to the F1 people by fans who barely see their heroes anyway and now cannot even recognize them, especially after paying hundreds to sit in a grandstand behind the fence, 50 meters from the track

        I’m not against adding a couple of small sponsor stickers to the helmets btw. Provided the basic colors and outline stay the same

        Yes, Button’s tribute to his dad helmet was touching, that’s why I said that a provision for a one-off design in special circumstances must be added. However afterwards a driver should return to his iconic design style Senna, Hakkinen and all the heroes of old. But Button’s one off is not a problem. He’s not one of those who normally change their designs often. Now compare that to Vettel who changes his helmet every race for no apparent reason. By the way it’s Vettel that you have to thank for this rule, mandating something that should be obvious to every driver. If the balance is allowing the drivers to “express themselves” VS allowing fans to easily identify with their heroes, then its not even a contest. The drivers are getting paid millions to drive the most spectacular machines in the world only because fans are paying hundreds of their hard earned money for watching it on TV and in person. No fans=no sponsor interest=no money=no one’s gonna pay them to change the styling of their ridiculously expensive carbon helmets anymore…

        One-off helmets for special occasions were always a thing in F1. Then why now this rule? What’s different? Well the difference is that drivers of past generations had enough sense not to cut the tree they’re sitting on and respect for their fans to return to their iconic design after those rare special occasions. A concept clearly incomprehensible to the Vettels of this world. And where common sense fails, regulator must step in, unfortunate as it is

        1. @montreal95 If you have a problem with Vettel’s justification for periodically changing his helmet design, that’s a reflection on you not on him.

          To use that as a basis for writing a rule like this one would be unbelievably petty.

          If the balance is allowing the drivers to “express themselves” VS allowing fans to easily identify with their heroes

          I think you mean “easily identify their heroes” – at least, that is the case the FIA is making for imposing this nonsense. And it’s an unnecessary one. We already have differentiation between T-bar colours, car liveries and unique driver numbers to identify them with, as well as helmet designs for the most part.

          1. @keithcollantine No, Keith, this is not only my problem, the Vettel situation. Not singling out Vettel btw, it’s not only him. But he’s the most extreme example

            I wasn’t present at any of the FOTA fan forums when this problem was highlighted. Though I did vote against it in one of the FIA polls IIRC. But evidently a great many people have problems with the Vettel way of doing things in that respect, otherwise there would be no move to ban the frequent changes. A problem many fans have trouble with is a problem for F1 whether you personally agree with it or not

            Yes, I like the Senna, Hakkinen, Villeneuve , Alesi way of doing things and think Vettel’s way is damaging the sport.
            Now, you and @timothykatz above may well disagree with my opinion. It was quite clear to me that’s the case, by the way, since you chose to run an article titled “great one-off helmet designs”, while for example autosport chose to run this article titled “10 great iconic helmet designs”. The difference in motive is clear as day. If for you there’s no problem in swapping helmets every race it doesn’t mean there’s no problem for F1

            Of course, instead of the above, I could’ve have written some thinly veiled insult like “the fact you don’t see there’s a problem in swapping helmets every race is a reflection on you, Keith, not on the FIA who moved to ban this”. Sounds familiar?

          2. @montreal95 Of course my reply was not intended as an insult.

            A problem many fans have trouble with is a problem for F1

            If I think a point of view is wrong I’m not going to be persuaded otherwise by the sheer number of people who hold that view. As I explained above I think the distinction you’re making about Vettel is arbitrary and that’s a poor basis for rule making.

          3. @keithcollantine Of course the fact that a view is held by a majority isn’t in itself enough of an argument by any logical means. But I wasn’t trying to persuade you. I also specifically mentioned to timothykatz who had replied to my post, that the fact that the majority agree with me doesn’t degrade his(and by extension yours) opinion.

            My personal philosophy is that I believe in relative moderation. that you shouldn’t overextend the plank and aim to get absolutely everything you want(only 100% of what I wish for will do not a percent less). The slightly weird example I want to bring is bank robbers(please bear with me). most serial bank robbers usually don’t know when to stop. if the stole 100 million already they still want more, forgetting that with every additonal robbery the chances rise that they will get caught. Why this example? Because it illustrates my belief that this unnecessary rule only came to be because of Vettel. If he’d be prudent enough to only change his helmet once in a few races and not every 1-2 then none of this would become such a problem. As I’ve said above, one-off helmets were always a thing in F1, and I love a beautiful one-off as much as anyone. But, I love an iconic helmet that a driver is identified by, and is part of his brand even more. Undoubtedly these concerns were brought up to Vettel since they’ve been around for years . And seeing that he’s a public figure who only gets to do what he does because of the fans-Red Bull would not be in F1 if not for marketing reasons for starters, he should’ve yeilded a little. Now he won’t be able to do it all, and will no doubt whinge about how unfair it is that he cannot fully express his individuality, as if he was a common hipster. Point is: as a private citizen you can do whatever you want in a democracy. But as a public persona you have to play to the will of a crowd to an extent, regardless of whether you agree with it or not

  31. I don’t see any point in this rule. What difference does it make? I think this is just petty bureaucracy. Regardless of what is on the outside of the helmet, the question should be “Does it meet the safety standards for this race?”, and the outside of the helmet won’t tell you that, only the inside of the helmet will. An unsafe helmet can look exactly the same as a safe one, and I hope the stewards check it is safe, so really this should be a matter between the marketing people and the driver. Some teams will think changing the design occasionally is good, others won’t.
    The only people that wouldn’t like replacing helmets, or rather re-coating them, are the team accountants, who have to authorise another expensive re-coating of the helmet.
    So a win for the accountants.

  32. Yet another absurd rule & yet more pointless over-regulation.

    It should be upto the drivers what helmet colors they run & if they want to change it every race then so what, Its there choice & nobody should dictate to them that they can’t.

    I’ve honestly never once had an issue identifying drivers, even when teammates have similar designs as I always go by the camera color, on-screen graphics & in the older days the fluorescent flashes teams would put on 1 car or when Mclaren used to put the Marlboro logo on 1 side of the front wing or the other depending on driver.

    F1 is getting stupid with these absurd restriction! :(

  33. For such a technically advanced sport it can be so stupid sometimes.

    Next, I imagine when someone changes their design mid season, they can pull that ridiculous engine tokens logic. “Oh? No, THIS new one is my actual 2015 helmet. There was no date specified for when I had to homoloagte my helmet graphics.”

    Or some Le Mans prototype logic. “Oh, my 2015 graphics is still there, under this new additional paint and decals that also acts as additional layer of safety padding we are testing for this grand prix. For safety, you see.”

  34. Did Vettel upset someone?

  35. Further “nanny state” rules from the FIA. :-(

  36. If the FIA truly believes that banning helmet changes will help the issue of marketing, they need to get their heads out from between their legs. I personally believe Vettel’s helmet switching, for example, was a pretty big part of his so-called marketing strategy. At the very least, I was always curious what he’d be wearing at the next GP, just as much as I was excited to see Alonso’s striking blue helmet. There are good ways to market F1 in a better way, and banning helmet changes is not one of them.

  37. Alexander Davidson
    18th February 2015, 19:24

    I agree 100% with @GeeMac at first it irritated me but now I think it can actually add to the drama and sense of occasion in individual races. I enjoyed seeing Vettel’s tribute to his early Torro Rosso lid and as a Marco Simnocelli fan I also was a fan of Trulli’s Simoncelli tribute helmet. Button’s pink lid in memory of his father was cool looking and a great sentiment. I’m not a massive Hamilton fan but I thought it was cool when he changed to the green lining to imitate Senna’s lid, I think Drivers should be allowed to change, as others have said, if the design is personal, surely the person wearing it should decide what it looks like.

  38. But that could all be about to change as a report indicates the FIA is considering a ban on drivers changing their helmet design after the season has started.

    Fiddling while Rome burns.

  39. I thought it was worth noting that Vettel’s ‘standard’ helmet design since he was a kid in the Red Bull programme has been a Red Bull can design. Would anyone rather he had that every race rather than mixing it up within a standard template?

    They made a move to give drivers numbers as an identity and as a marketing tool last year – a move I supported. However, to fans who think keeping the same helmet is giving the driver an identity, is forcing them to conform not removing freedom of expression in helmet design and especially in Vettel’s case removing an identity trait?

    It will make no difference in viewing at the race track. Some cars have easily viewed numbers, some don’t, but all have a colour on the T bar to ID the vehicle. I remember confusing Alonso’s mainly black helmet with Hamilton’s yellow one on first glance in 2007. This was simply due to the light conditions and the prominence of sponsor logos – vodafone’s red and white catching my eye first. Checking the colour on the T bar easily corrected the mistake. On TV it matters less as you often have a better view with more information at hand.

  40. One just thinks to Marc Marquez’s celebratory golden helmet at the end of last year’s MotoGP race.

  41. What are you people on about? Those who say it’s a good idea? Why in the hell you would say that?

    Sorry, but you people are ridiculous! The FIA is not an ….-ing fashion police. You think it’s cool for a driver to keep to a single design? Then you have every right to say so, or you have a right to suggest you want to see speacial designs for special tracks. But equally, the drivers have the right to not give a single f about your opinion!

    Honestly, you think the International Automotive Federation (FIA), should force drivers to comply with your particular fashion sense? A fashion sense, that will be different to most other people? Are you even being serious with yourself?

    And let’s not loose sight of what this is about, don’t give that nonsense about “to recognize the driver”. No,this is about fashion sense, FIA has no bussines in regulating that, if a girl doesn’t wan’t to be seen twice in the exact same dress, then it’s her business and not the societie’s she is in.

  42. The move least year to have fixed numbers I get. The previous system of allotting based on championship position want very personal and allowing the driver to own their number let them have something that they wanted. I especially liked Kimi’s reasoning.

    But this is just ridiculous. Drivers who want a fixed design can do so, and divers who like to mix things up should be free to do so. It’s their choice if they want something identifiable. And the fact is the media would always highlight the helmet changes, so you could still identify the drivers from them.

    An absolutely needless rule change that does nothing for safety, racing or the sports credibility.

  43. The most ridiculous and pointless rule in F1 history and that’s saying something. But hey, good to know those in charge are concentrating on the important things.

  44. definitely a blow to Vettel and other helmet designers income …. now they should use the same helmet everyday and race to become ecological sustentable f1.
    To me this is the most important issue f1 had to solve, but again if they want fans to understand then ban livery choice and make primary colors in al cars.

  45. @keithcollantine Hamiltons Bob Marley tribute helmet sprung into mind before I clicked onto this thread

  46. I’d like to see every driver protest against this ridiculous rule by turning up in Oz wearing plain white helmets. Every single one of them.

    What an absolute joke.

    What’s next, a ban on the use of the phrase “for sure” in driver interviews? Maybe that’d boost viewing figures, yeah?


  47. Seeing all these fantastic 1 off helmets, You cant tell me that banning these are a good idea! Bringing a bit of colour, life and most of all, personality to F1. It can only be a good thing.

  48. They should just ban new hairstyles, beards, sunglasses and chest hair.

  49. Idiotic, what if all the drivers decide to wear Pink helmets for breast cancer awareness, they get fined.. How about banning white wigs?

  50. Titanic : Deck Chairs = F1 : Helmets

  51. Maybe this is one of those “The European Union banning bent bananas” stories. Blown up out of context.
    It’s just too ridiculous

  52. Make it a change design each season or for a special tribute one off.

    I’m a fan of Vettel but his habit of changing every race was an nuisance because I couldn’t tell drivers apart easily. Hamilton used to wear a yellow, as did Massa, so I knew who was who out of the teams, but I’ve had to check camera colours last season.

  53. We should have a rule on how many rule changes the FIA can make in a season. This is really ridiculous. As it is, the rules are too restrictive, and now a ban on helmet design – this is extreme. The old foggies should retire, and we should have a young set of people leading the FIA.. nonsense…

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