Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015

Vettel could defy helmet change ban

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel says he could flout F1’s proposed ban on drivers changing their helmet designs.



Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Lewis expects 'harder fight' (Sky)

"I anticipate a harder fight this year."

Button: McLaren winter 'looks worse than it is' (ESPN)

"I haven't really driven this car in anger yet. I did one new tyre run this morning which was cut short and I did one on Thursday morning at 10 o'clock, and that was it. It's been a tough test for me personally."

Maldonado impressed by Lotus drivability (F1i)

"Everything is flowing much better than last year without any problems… The car is reacting to the changes, which is quite fair."

Hamilton: Rock solid tyres don't work (Autosport)

"The tyres are rock solid and they don't really work very often. Well, they haven't been for me at least."

Romain Grosjean Q&A: Things look much better than last year (F1)

"Last year I had some pretty strong drives, even though they were outside the points. But I’m hoping we have a car that suits me a little bit better this year, which seems to be the case, and from there I can really work hard."

Comment of the day

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Is it useful to compare McLaren’s problems with the Honda engine last year to Red Bull’s with the Renault last year?

The guys at McLaren always mentions Red Bull’s struggles last year to explain how complex their operations with a new power unit are.

But last year at this stage Renault was already doing much greater series of laps on their other cars than Honda with McLaren. Red Bull with its tight package was the problem.

Now the power unit has its own problems and they still have to put it to work on a car as tight as the Red Bull.

Being Honda’s only customer is hurting them badly.

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On this day in F1

Five years ago today Ferrari published the first of its now-infamous anonymous ‘horse whisperer’ letters. Will the team continue the practice following its huge upheaval at the end of last year – and does the departure of Luca di Montezemolo mean someone else will be writing these biting missives?

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  • 63 comments on “Vettel could defy helmet change ban”

    1. Good for him. While I do think that a helmet is a drivers identity and should be treated as such, I believe that Vettel’s many designs are as much a part of his identity as any permanent design.

      1. Indeed, and in spite of all his changes, it still had a consistency in design that made it a Vettel helmet. You could always tell it was Vettel. His was an evolution of a livery rather than an all-out change. Otherwise, as he had sold his rights to Red Bull, his helmet would have remained that of an aluminum can for all those years. How interesting would that have been instead?

      2. I agree. It’s 2015 and people are progressively losing their free will. Not freedom of choice, people don’t seem to avoid judgment for spontaneous living and breading.

      3. I’m not a fan of Vettel changing his helmet. For me the constant changing is less of an identity than actually using one main design. But it’s his choice and a ridiculous thing to consider policing.

    2. I hope drivers do defy the helmet change ban because its one of the most ridiculous rules in the history of MotorSport.

      It should be left completely upto the drivers what helmet design they run & they should be able to change that design whenever they want & as often as they want.

      1. Not as ridiculous as double points though.

        But still very ridiculous.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          22nd February 2015, 1:34

          Maybe they can give drivers who don’t change their helmet design double points.

          1. Good one

          2. That’ll probably be in the 2016 regulations :).

    3. So let’s say this rule is in place when Pappa Button does. How stupid would it look to fine Jenson for changing it?

      This is, I hope, the pinnacle of stupidity for Bernie and his cronies. I seriously debated my affiliation with F1 this offseason, because it is getting to a point where it’s hard to defend almost all the decisions they make these days. Bernie really needs to go and take his CVC friends with him to whatever place awaits him.

    4. Also from Seb “It seems in these difficult times, it [banning helmet changes] is the only thing that people can agree on!” Tell me about it!

    5. I for one don’t like the continued changing of helmet designs,as it makes it difficult to follow some drivers,especially in the back half of the race.
      Vettel just doesn’t get it,the changes are for the fans,not about him.

      1. if the purpose of helmets is to help fans identify drivers then they need much more regulation. If one driver on a team has a dark coloured helmet the other should have to have a light one, for instance. For a while there Hamilton and Rosberg were using very similar yellow helmets and you could not tell them apart on that basis.

        But that’s not the purpose of the helmets so it’s a moot point.

        1. Also, if this is for driver identification, why isn’t it being rolled out beyond F1? Where is the logic?

          1. @splittimes The logic is simple: F1 dwarfs all other forms of motorsport. It’s the pinnacle. The same as you only have names on player’s shirts AS STANDARD only in top level football leagues. It’s to do with the value of the brand, marketing, merchandise etc. etc.

          2. If policing driver identification and visibility is their thing, mandate larger driver numbers on the actual cars!

            1. @optimaximal @pt – Larger numbers was the original idea, but the teams did not want to give up sponsor space. A large dorsal fin was floated, similar to WEC cars or the old f-duct fin, and that was also voted down.

              Supposedly, this was the compromise. But way is driver recognition even an issue? Even among the few people on here who support the helmet change ban (not me), no one has complained about driver recognition ever.

            2. I wonder what sponsor space they’re giving up though. It’s not as if the teams are brimming with sponsors… heck FOM could give them extra money for running adequately-sized numbers (oh wait, Bernie would hate that).

      2. Agreed. The helmets can be confusing. If it weren’t for the BRIGHT YELLOW BAR right above their heads, or lack thereof, it might be slightly confusing to tell who was who.

      3. Hmmm, maybe the “career numbers” might help some people follow drivers?

        1. yeah, Career numbers are great, at my age I need everything to help me distinguish drivers….. Perhaps we can even get Bernie to slow down the race for the last 2 laps. ;-)

        2. The career numbers were another mistake. Who remembers random numbers easier than an orderly system that was based on the previous year’s finishing positions?

          1. Who remembers random numbers? Most people do. Your house number, your phone number, your kids birthday, your spouses birthday, your car reg, your NI number, 999, the hot chicks number, the price of goods in shops, your age, freeview tv channel numbers.. So many changing numbers, lets not get into the fact that things have different names. All those random letter forming words!! How on earth to remember all that info. Hamilton being car 44 is not so hard it is a constant.

      4. @aaaa Yes, but changing helmets every race IS Vettel’s identity.

        1. @mashiat2 I care nothing if it’s his identity. He’s not a common hipster. He’s a public persona who only gets to do what he does and being paid millions because there are fans watching. sometimes he must respect the will of the fans and compromise a little

      5. @aaaa Also, I’ve been to 12 F1 races so far and watched over 150. And from there the only people I’ve had trouble identifying are the Toro Rosso drivers.

        1. True, their helmets are especially bad. Not very unique and not very Red Bull either. A real mish-mash.

        2. @mashiat2 That’s a great hit rate.. I’ve been a fan for almost 4/5 of my life (almost 20 years), yet can count my race attendance on one hand..

      6. I think Vettel’s constant changing is ridiculous. However, I would hate for drivers not to have great unique designs at different races. I think Hamilton has that balance pretty well-licked. The appearance from a distance is the same, but the detail makes it unique.

        On another note, how much will the new (ahem) ‘helmet inspector’ be getting paid?

      7. @aaaa Agree with you completely!

      8. Vettel just doesn’t get it,the changes are for the fans,not about him.

        In your opinion

        1. There are more than a few articles out there indicating that (s)he’s right and (drum roll) you’re wrong:

          From – a quote “The FIA is keen to have stability so people can identify who is in the car”

          From – Lauda thinks it will help people identify drivers.

          From – “The FIA is planning to ban changes to helmet designs this year, forcing F1 drivers to stick to a single design for the course of the season to make it easier for fans to identify their heroes on track”

          1. Please, point use were Vettel has implied that the changes are about him like the OP said

      9. In your opinion. The only reason people are complaining about helmet changes is because of Vettel, and they make it sound like all drivers are doing it.

        If driver identification is so important, then the car numbers should be bigger. But God forbid if F1 takes a page from NASCAR.

        People who go to the races can get a program that shows the drivers and their helmets. TV viewers have the heads-up display that quickly identifies the drivers the feed is showing.

    6. Being the exclusive user of a certain engine/component is double edged. We knew that. But once things get up to speed, the advantages will be clear.

      1. That is true, but when will things get up to speed?
        Neither Renault or Ferrari managed to get their act together in their first year and they introduced their engines at the same time as Mercedes.
        I really hope McLaren have a competitive car in 2016, my dream is a 3 way fight for the title between them, Mercedes and Ferrari.

        1. That’s because Mercedes sprung a few surprises that they couldn’t copy until this year. Honda know what Mercedes did so in theory, once the technical issues are out of the way, it should be quick.

    7. I’ve never understood peoples dislike of Vettel, things like this epitomise why he’s one of my favourite drivers. As well as being ruthlessly competitive he has a real sense of humour.

      People complain about puppet drivers, well here is one that doesn’t care what you think of him, he just does what he wants.

      1. I guess winning the WDC 4 times in a row has its disadvantages.

      2. @philipgb, I would suggest that it is at least in part because his former team, Red Bull, have lost a lot of their former popularity given that they quite happily exploited the political system that they formerly decried. As Vettel was being utilised as the public face of that team, criticism of him became a proxy for criticism of the team, since the identity of the driver became so intermeshed with that of the team.

      3. Agreed, he’s one of the most likeable drivers on the grid and has been for years.

    8. That tyre warming technique, is it legal?

      1. depends on which country you are in. I think in Spain its all good… Probably not so good in Russia

    9. “The tyres are rock solid and they don’t really work very often. Well, they haven’t been for me at least.”

      Hard tires don’t work on cold circuits, remember how Vettel and Massa delayed their pit stops until the final lap at Nurburgring 2011 because Pirelli’s mediums were too hard for the cold climate.

      Wait until they get to Malaysia, despite the fact that Pirelli usually bring their two hardest compounds to that track, it still ends up being a 3 or 4 stop race.

      1. Hard tyres can work on cold circuits, just not Pirelli’s as their operating temperature windows are ridiculously small. I guess it’s a byproduct of how they’ve been able to manufacture such quickly degrading tyres but I’d rather the drivers weren’t forced to drive like grannies scared of combining lateral and longitudinal load.

    10. Remember how Vettel and Massa delayed their pit stops until the final lap at Nurburgring 2011

      Very good memory!

    11. It’ll sound really cynical, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if FIA punished the helmet changes by handing out fines for the teams or penalty points instead of “little fines for charity”, especially for drivers repeteadly ignoring the ban, like Seb wants to. It just feels like kind of thing they would do given how much they are out of touch these days.

      But at the same time I’ve just woken up and may be more grumpy than usual.

    12. I’m not going to lie, originally being a Ferrari Fan and all I wasn’t too keen on Seb but after admitting and taking the blame about the mistake he made/the point he is making for changing helmets with the penalty fee going to charity, he is really growing on me.

      He actually sounds like a really humble and nice guy!

      1. You must have been blinded by hatred, because he’s always been a humble and nice guy. I don’t even consider myself a Vettel fan either.

    13. while we are on the subject of power units. I just want to point out that with the improvements made this year, and even though we will see less two teams on the grid we may actually see more cars crossing the line compared to last year. Join some competition and we should have a great 2015 season

    14. Everyone knows that it’s the camera color on top of the cars that can easily identify between team mates, but somehow this is ignored by F1 administration. It’s so weird. And even the cameras have become more difficult to see with color not viewable from all angles as before without anyone seeming to care.

      1. I think it was 2023 that the T cams were changed from red to black, and that actually made it harder to distinguish, because they are partially black as it is.

    15. I’d ban the option to not use the number 1 before this.
      It devalues the sport.
      Lewis hasn’t been great world champion, trying to be cool and pretend he doesn’t care. This, combined with the lack of number 1 on track makes the WDC seem little more than a worthless charity shop trophey.

      1. Rubbish, was the sport diminished in ’93 and ’94 because there was no incumbent world champion?

        It’s just a number – a nebulous one too boot, because it only applies to the incumbent WDC, who now has a choice to use it or not.

        1. @optimaximal, I agree with you there – I also highly doubt that the sport was devalued by the fact that, until 1973, the defending champion had no automatic right to use No. 1.

          Drivers of the time didn’t place any regard on using No. 1 if they were the defending champion, and I doubt that figures like Fittipaldi or Hill saw the WDC as a worthless trophy – it’s just that they didn’t see any value in what was a fairly arbitrary assignation of numbers.

          Equally, it is worth noting that some drivers have used No. 1 even when they were not entitled to use the number.
          In 1974, because Stewart had retired whilst being the reigning champion, they awarded No. 1 to Ronnie Peterson instead – it looks like they arbitrarily decided to award that number to the lead driver of the team which had won the WCC in 1973 (Lotus), hence why Peterson had No. 1 even though he’d finished in 3rd in the WDC. Did it devalue the concept of having “No. 1” when the driver using it had no entitlement to use the number in the first place?

      2. He’s expressed how much it means to him, would you rather he flaunt it in your face? Sheesh, some people can’t win

    16. I would just change my permanent helmet to Bernie’s daughter posing in playboy. Take that

    17. We live in an age of full HD & 4K TV if you can’t Recognize a driver Wear glasses
      i hope that seb will wear 20 Different Helmets this year

    Comments are closed.