Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2014

Helmet change ban “a joke” – Vettel

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2014In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel criticises the FIA’s ban on drivers changing their helmet designs.

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Ban on changing helmet design 'a joke' - Vettel (ESPN)

"I think it's a joke to be honest. There are more important things to decide for the future and that seems to be the only one they can conclude on."

Mick Schumacher to race in ADAC Formula 4 series (Van Amersfoort Racing)

"Dutch drivers Max and Jos Verstappen, Christijan Albers, Giedo van der Garde and Huub Rothengatter all raced for Frits van Amersfoort’s eponymous team in the early stages of their careers before making it into Formula One."

Merc tested just one engine (Sky)

"We have used one engine only, but it is maybe not really one engine because we have refreshed the engine and worked on various components."

Lewis Hamilton: 'Like last year's car, but better' (BBC)

"Mercedes are far ahead and then it seems to be quite tight behind."

Renault admits it still has work to do (Autosport)

"To map an engine is not a case of two or three days. We're talking about weeks or sometimes months, especially with this power unit."

Modest Wolff still looking at glass as ‘half empty’ (Crash)

"Testing is always very difficult to read, but it is looking good. Now it is about proving we can do the same on a race weekend. With the normal scepticism, we need to have the glass half empty. I think we can be optimistic."

The Assets of Caterham F1 Race Team (Wyles Hardy & Co.)

"Offered for Sale: Race & Pit Lane Equipment, 2014 Chassis and Show Cars, F1 Memorabilla, Engineering Plant and Machinery, Works Equipment, IT, Office Furniture & Equipment."

Reinventing racing's spectacle (The Way It Is)

"Most sanctioning bodies have spent so many years reducing performance, dumbing the cars down and making them all the same or spec car-like. They've forgotten that racing's original appeal was in spectacular, high-performance cars and larger than life daredevil drivers capable of mastering those mean machines."

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Comment of the day

Ayrton Senna, Williams, 1994Those who think forcing drivers to use the same helmet design all year will lead to a revival of ‘classic’ designs may be disappointed:

Helmets these days are primarily all the same anyway. Senna and Prost had very distinguishable helmets. So did Schumacher and Hill. You could spot them a mile off.

These days, they all have a big white band at the top for sponsors and all have a multitude of colours set a jagged angles.

I wouldn’t say there are any iconic helmet designs in F1 at the moment. Nothing we’ll look back on in 20 years with any fondness anyway. Most look like the stock designs you see in the shops with sponsor logos plastered over them.
@PeteBaldwin

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On this day in F1

Lella Lombardi, the only woman to achieve a points-scoring finish in a round of the Formula One world championship, died on this day in 1992.

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Keith Collantine
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  • 109 comments on “Helmet change ban “a joke” – Vettel”

    1. i agree with the COTD. All those super modern designes are quite awful for my taste. But then again, as a graphical designer, i’m kinda biased, because i’m more partial to a Bauhaus kind of design, with strong personality and less colours. Well, it was Mies Van Der Rohe who said: Less is More, and maybe that’s the reason why that withe helmet with the three stripes from Vettel likes me so much. (well, if i were adidas i’ll make him an offer, wouldn’t you?)

      1. I’d like to see every driver have this type of design http://i.imgur.com/dehy1Sw.jpg

        1. Personally, I’d just as soon they all showed up with black helmets at Melbourne.

          :)

          1. I thought of this during the day ( but white haha )!!! Good too see I’m not the only one. So many benefits to changing helmet designs – marketing benefits for F1, onboard cams showcase the designs, and it’s a talking point. I see minimal benefit in the FIA logic. Can’t wait to see it overturned ASAP or for teams to use slight livery variations in place of helmet changes.

      2. As a graphic designer, if I had to use one word to describe current helmet designs, it would be “overcrowded”. And I don’t mean sponsors’ logos, but the designs themselves. As @matiascasali points out, they all have bunch of gradients and drop shadows all over bunch of squiggly shapes, which are supposed to suggest speed or whatever.
        Of the recent (2006 could be recent) designs, I think Tiago Monteiro had the most interesting and original helmet. A bit overdesigned, but at least it had an idea, unlike these other random sharp-angled shapes.

        1. as any of our professors would say “it’s a noisy design” right? but yeah, way too overcomplicated and with easy tricks (the shadows, and so on)

        2. As a graphic designer I concur with @matiascasali and Biggsy from a design standpoint, but, I do truly believe that the FIA has totally overreached on this one. I’m not into the constant and somewhat busy helmet design changes myself, but many fans are and it seems to enhance their overall F1 interest and experience. And, that is a good thing for F1!

          Now it feels as though the FIA have installed a silly minister of overly substantially altered helmet designs. Were I Sebastian Vettel, I would be tempted to put something offensive to the FIA on my helmet design and let them live with it for the whole season.

          1. agree with you, i’ve spoken as a graphical designer and the helmets design, but it’s utterly silly to inforce such a rule for something so trully irrelevant as helmets designs, as
            Vettel said, the FIA has much important things to think about…

          2. Were I Sebastian Vettel, I would be tempted to put something offensive to the FIA on my helmet

            I have a balanced view on this rule change.

            I agree that the FIA has much more important things to deal with. However, the more important things take a lot of work. They (or at least someone important) felt strongly enough to bring this in, and it’s an easy rule change to make, taking little time or effort. I also see the FIA’s point in this matter.

            However, if SV did something like you suggest, I suspect that he would be charged with bringing the sport into disrepute. That’s a very wide reaching rule, and purposely insulting or offending the sport’s governing body would be covered by it.

        3. Well, that’s just matter of taste. I think tiago’s helmet looks awful.

          The thing is in modern f1 drivers have less freedom with the helmet design due to sponsors. Some teams are also more restrictive about colors and such. So what is left for the driver and helmet painter is details. Instead of doing big yellow helmet with two black stripes on the sides they can’t really do that because some sponsor text may not be as visible as it could because of that. So what’s left is those “squiggly shapes”.

          Which is even more reason why this new rule is so stupid. Those one-off helmets looked like real helmet designs!

          And you have pretty selective memory if only tiago’s helmet is a decent looking helmet for you. I think schumacher’s red helmet was very cool design despite being super simple design. There are others if you just bothered to look. If rosberg’s last season helmet is not tidy design without “squiggly shapes” or Hulkembergs then I don’t know what is…

          You may be graphics designer in the real life but you clearly have not looked at the 2014 helmets if you say they all have “squiggly shapes” and so forth…

        4. Neil (@neilosjames)
          3rd March 2015, 11:10

          This, a thousand times over. I miss the simplicity that let me ID my favourite drivers’ helmets instantly – Senna, Hill, Hakkinen, guys like that.

          Now you have to see the car first, then it’s… errrr did he have a blue top with purple and yellow squiggles, or a blue top with blue and red squiggles? Or was that one last race? Or practice only?

          I’m feeling especially draconian this morning as I have no heating, so if I had my way I’d let the drivers all pick four solid colours and make a design from them, and that’d be it.

        5. @Bigssy
          Not just Tiago Monteiro, his 2005 team-mate Narain Karthikeyan too had the distinctive Indian wheel at the top and the saffron and green stripes running horizontally – one of the most distinctive designs in the modern era. Fernando Alonso too had a distinctive design when he started out, with the colours of the Spanish flag running horizontally and the blue of his home region of Asturias dominating the rest of the helmet. Though considered the villain of helmet livery changes, Sebastian Vettel seems to have the most distinctive helmet livery of 2015…

      3. machinesteve
        3rd March 2015, 12:18

        As a fellow designer I agree 100%. Current helmets lack class and show just how detached the drivers are from the soul of the sport. Ask me what a driver’s helmet was like from the 70s or 80s and I could tell you, but I couldn’t tell you this current bunch.

        1. i don’t know if they’re detached fromthe soul of the sport, but what it’s certain, is that they’re poorly advised in terms of marketing. if you got your own number for life, and a helmet more or less always the same, you’ve got a strong brand. Ask Coca Cola or Lucky Strike if they’re willing to change their labels every now and then…

    2. It’s nice to hear an F1 driver say what he really feels- maybe Vettel can be an inspiration to all the other drivers to speak their minds. And I agree with him, of course.

      1. Hmmm so it’s refreshing and inspirational when Seb does it, would it have been the same had Hamilton done the same?

        1. What’s this gotta do with Hamilton!?

          1. @praxis Some people seem to complain about every complaint (well, at times everything) from Lewis, regardless of whether complaints from people are deserved.

        2. Mashiat Lam Gofran
          3rd March 2015, 8:21

          There is a colossal difference between what Vettel is saying and what Hamilton has said in the past. I’m pretty sure that if Vettel started making comments like “I can do at Ferrari what Alonso could not because I’m hungrier” or like “Ricciardo isn’t even Australian, he originally Italian”, hus reception would be even worse because he’s not British.

      2. Yeh its nice to see an F1 driver saying what he feels on a topic that is non important according to himself. Hes also the one that most affected by the change, strange…

      3. But though Vettel has said that, and has been infamous for changing helmet liveries every race, he seems to have the most distinctive and non-confusing helmet livery in 2015. Perhaps he’s making penance for his earlier crimes!!!

    3. One bit of news that you missed Keith:
      http://www.iracing.com/iracingnews/iracing-news/mclaren-iracing-to-build-virtual-mclaren-honda-mp4-30

      iRacing have announced they are building the current 2015 McLaren for their service. Quite a big deal for a leading team to allow access to a current car, especially this early in a season. Apparently they already have CAD data and the build is underway.

      Big news for the sim-racers amongst us.

      1. Heck, yeah, massive marketing tool for them too !

        People, if you can get into iRacing, do it. Even the slower cars are a blast to drive and the racing cannot be closer in any other sim !

        1. Another +1 for this. iRacing, although requiring a little commitment with the subscription, will beat any other sim in combining one of the best, if not the best publicly available simulation, with the structure of sanctioned seasons.

          Can’t recommend it enough!

        2. Disagree 100% to be honest. Iracing is probably the most overrated sim racer on the market at the moment, it gets by through reputational inertia alone.

          If you are interested in sim racing, I strongly suggest that you look into any of the following: Assetto Corsa, Raceroom Racing Experience, Rfactor 2, or Project CARS when it releases.

      2. And with Nurburgring Nordschleife scanned and also coming in the next 6 months…. could have a 2015 F1 car to drive around it. 5 minute lap anyone? I do hope someone like Vandoorne, Bottas etc. would give it a go and see how it compares to F1 simulators! Maybe Lewis can reactivate his account..

        1. Everyone iRacing, we got a spot on the F1Fanatic forum, say hello over there so we can expand our F1F community over the sim: http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/groups/f1-games/forum/topic/iracing-thread/page/27/

          And maybe reignite the F1Fanatic endurance team idea, with the Sebring 12 Hours coming.

          @scottie @fastiesty @wally02avg @joey-poey @george

          1. @fer-no65 Looks like my post in that thread will take some time to show up. What do you reckon.. 6 drivers, 2 hours each? 1 hour stints, or 2?

        2. Lewisham Milton
          3rd March 2015, 6:55

          Will the McLaren-Honda make it round a lap?

        3. And Monza is arriving very shortly and as the oval is included there will be around 8 configurations.

      3. Actually I had seen that but as @fer-no65 it’s already mentioned in the iRacing thread in the forum.

    4. I agree with COTD. To be fair with Vettel, I always HATED the way he changed helmets every single time. Few of them were good, but none were future classics. Of all the guys racing these days, only JB’s helmet stood out, partly because he left it almost unchanged during all of his 15 seasons. That’s a classic of the future, I’m sure.

      I like drivers to be recognisable via their helmets, and changing them every time isn’t gonna cut it, unless you are Valentino Rossi, who almost always nailed it with his desgins.

      That said, I also agree with Vettel: faaaaaaar more important issues need solution, this wasn’t something worth to spend time discussing at the coffee break during a FIA meeting…

      1. @fer-no65 Button is a copy of Mansell’s helmet.
        I think the helmet designs of late have been, unappealing, that said I think violating an human law such as is freedom of expression is nothing short of criminal. I like great helmet designs and these days the enclosed cockpits and sponsor demands limit it’s status, anyhow the major factor is a general lack of creativity and knowledge on how to mock up a good helmet design. In my view only 2 drivers in 2014 actually nailed this, Massa and Pérez, whilst I don’t care for green, (I’m not a fan of senna’s helmet) the design was good on the eye both in close range and more importantly from afar. Alonso’s is good but I can’t see Alonso sticking to the same pattern for more than a team change, unlike Massa.

        1. @peartree i’d not say a copy, rather an adaptation if you want. I don’t see the resemblance if I’m honest. In any case, it’s clearly recognisable on it’s own, just like Hamilton’s yellow one, which was also an adaptation.

          1. @fer-no65 Well if it ain’t the union jack enough, there’s stripes and curves on the sides JB’s helmet is largely based on the helmet of his childhood hero, as is Hamilton’s yellow, well beyond the point it doesn’t mean these are not good or iconic designs, that’s subjective, I don’t like them but you do and that’s fair, but these are not theirs as they are from Senna and Mansel.

            1. BS. They may be inspired by, but they are very far from the same helmet.

              Mansell (Indycar 1993, only one I could find showing all angles):
              http://www.monalisamotorsport.com/images-f1/nigel-mansell-helmet.jpg
              Button (2014):

              https://grandprix20.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/1531905_632289800171401_1872493415_o.jpg

              Senna (1994):
              http://f-lap.net/_src/sc1180/94Senna2.jpg

              Hamilton(2014. Replica, but should be representative):
              http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-pdaQI8LJXC0/URNAzR6iaBI/AAAAAAAAAKM/f2EpcOPf-1o/s1600/presentation.jpg

          2. @fer-no65 Also flags on helmets or anywhere for that matter is profanity (there’s an actual real people law to protect the flag) in my view even if they look okay or distinguishable.

        2. Huh? Button’s 2015 helmet is different to his 2014 design, which itself was different to his 2013 design. And lets not forget he won the title with a bright yellow helmet. Yes he kept the same design for years (despite changing the colours every now and again) but his more recent helmets are different to what he used to wear.

          1. @dominikwilde I said ALMOST unchanged. The main design remained, the colours changed but only in recent seasons.

            1. Again, the main design has changed recently. Yeah, it still says JB on the side but it looks nothing at all like his original helmet. The design itself has changed

        3. Hasn’t Alonso’s helmet design been the same through his whole F1 career except during his 2007 season at McLaren (also worst season)?

          1. Alonso’s helmet livery was more or less same from 2001 to 2006, then changed in 2007, then again in 2008 and 2009, but from 2010 it has again been more or less the same.

    5. I think some modern helmets will be classics in the future. Alonso’s, Hulkenberg’s, Massa’s, Rosberg’s new one, Vettel’s new one, Button’s and my new personal favourite, Nasr’s!http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/nasr-helmet-2015-4.jpg Hamilton has utterly ruined his once beautiful and distictive design though :( http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ZpVhEMLgBXk/Tzu2nq8uqVI/AAAAAAAAT5I/_UZB-ByILuY/s1600/Lewis+Hamilton's+crash+helmet+for+the+2012+season2.jpg I also think it’s utterly stupid to control driver’s freedoms even more. They discouraged from saying what they feel, and now from expressing themselves. There are greater issues at hand.

      1. I also miss Lewis’ old design from his McLaren years, it looked really distinctive and wasn’t cluttered at all. Also because yellow is my favourite colour (and that shade of yellow is my favourite type of yellow). I think many driver’s current helmets could be improved just by making them simpler.

        That said, Lewis’ new helmet has grown on me a bit, though I think how good it looks really depends on which colour visor he is running. There are a couple of subtle changes for his 2015 helmet and I think it is an improvement, I quite like it: http://cdn-5.motorsport.com/static/img/mgl/1900000/1980000/1980000/1980500/1980535/s8/f1-mercedes-amg-f1-w06-launch-2015-the-helmet-of-lewis-hamilton-mercedes-amg-f1.jpg

        1. subtle? such as it being Bell and not Arai lol

          1. The picture in the link at the W06 launch is an Arai, but it seems that Lewis has recently changed to a Bell – probably a new helmet deal:

            http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/117865

        2. It looks nice close up, but yellow was Lewis’ colour :(

      2. Nasr’s is definitely old school.

      3. @jmc200 I think Vettel’s best helmet was his RB can one.

      4. I agree @jmc200, Hamilton’s 2015 helmet is absolutely disgusting. There is no design in it. It’s just a pile of multicoloured mess! His 2014 helmet was decent, but I really want his yellow helmet back, which was one of my favourite helmets of all time, even though it wasn’t very original. Still a really good helmet, in my opinion – https://lowdownblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/f1-lewis-hamilton-helmet-2013.jpg

        1. I couldn’t find a good angle of his McLaren helmet which I preferred.

    6. ColdFly F1 (@)
      3rd March 2015, 0:28

      Sorting out Lewis’ contract seems to be as imminent as Mclaren’s title sponsorship.

      I wonder if there are more parallels like unrealistic ‘rate cards’?

      1. @coldfly True.. “I want 150m” “…” “Wehrlein wins on debut, predicted to be next Lewis Hamilton” :P
        and “McLaren yet to finish a race in the points.. still won’t lower rate card” :D

      2. During his interview with Sky F1 Toto Wolff said that the stories circulating in the press about Hamilton’s wage demands are well wide of the mark. Both parties want to continue together, who can blame them, the deal will be done soon enough.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          3rd March 2015, 5:57

          @geemac, that interview is actually the reason I raised this.
          We have heard them say it ‘will be done soon’ for months now.

    7. While I agree that the FIA has once again come up with a rule that addresses a nonexistent problem, for me it makes no difference anyway. With maybe a few exceptions, it’s been many years since I’ve been able to (or bothered to try) recognize individual drivers by their helmets. For me, the only truly iconic and instantly recognizable lids are from the days before they began getting plastered with sponsor names and logos. Of course there is no going back, and yes, I am old!

    8. Chilton gets Nissan LMP1 Drive?!! Why?!!

      Nissan surely doesnt need his daddy’s AON money…do they?

      1. To be fair to him. He is quite consistent…. consistently slow but still :) On top of that he knows how to stay out of trouble which with endurance racing is quite useful skill.

      2. Max Chilton most probably would not have got into F1 on merit but he still would be one of the best of the rest. He is much better than several pay drivers who were participating in F1 races during the nineties and noughties. I think Chilton could actually become a race winner in the WEC, like Kazuki Nakajima or Marc Gene did.

        1. Meanwhile, James Calado, Bruno Senna and Sam Bird drive GTs.

          1. Along with multiple race winner Fissichella, but also former Minardi driver Bruni. I don’t think there is a lot of shame in driving GTs.

    9. The helmet ruling is stupid. If drivers want to change designs, let them! As Kimi Raikkonen once referenced, the only real thing about a helmet is it protects the driver’s head. And to bring Vettel in on the ‘iconic’ debate, personally I thought that changing his design every five minutes will be looked upon in years to comein the same vain as an iconic design such as Senna, Hill et al. Plus, it’s not as if everyone was doing it either. Most drivers only changed for their home race or special occasions.

      If the FIA are so obsessed with fans recognising drivers, make numbers bigger, mandate MotoGP style individual fonts and designs, work harder with social media, paint the cameras (oh wait, they already did that – again rendering the helmet argument pointless), demanding drivers keep one helmet design per season is stupid.

      Also, they’ll only swap designs again next February, leaving those ‘fans’ who can’t recognise drivers stuck at square one…again.

    10. I’d beg to differ from CotD. Hamilton’s yellow helmet in a chrome and red McLaren is an image that will stick to my mind for decades to come, and his new look (white helmet in a silver Mercedes) is also quickly growing on me. Rosberg’s yellow helmet was also quite distinguishable, and I like his new black helmet even more (it goes well with the Merc). Massa’s yellow and green helmet also sticks out, so does Button’s British flag helmet, and Alonso’s light blue helmet.

      The only group of drivers who don’t seemingly have a unique helmet in any way are the Red Bull and Toro Rosso drivers, only because theirs’ is littered with sponsors.

    11. Agree with COTD. Honestly I remember few drivers for their helmets and it’s only because of their racing not because of their design. Although having said that I do prefer simple helmets with some consistency.
      I kind of like the ban. I prefer when instead of changing the helmets all the time and “be a star” the drivers would just focus on racing and stop complaining on everything.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        3rd March 2015, 6:01

        I remember few drivers for their helmets

        @keithcollantine, that’s your next quiz. Put up images of helmets and ask us to name the driver.

        1. @coldfly Thanks for the suggestion – I’ll see if I can doing anything with it…

      2. machinesteve
        3rd March 2015, 12:24

        Lets have identical cars, identical tracks and identical everything….or lets have some identity and soul back like we had in the past with drivers actually proud of their individual design. Vettel is like a spoilt child who tires of his helmet because he has no clear identity or pride in his history…..and he doesn’t give a damn about the fans. When I was a kid the helmet designs were an exciting part of F1…I suppose it doesn’t matter now there are hardly any kids watching.

        1. Vettel retired every helmet that he won with, that was/is his tradition.

          Bernie: Drivers need more character
          – Implements stupid rules

          Bernie: F1 viewing figures dwindling; needs to attract more youth
          – Implements more pay tv F1 around the world making it almost utterly inaccessible to the youth

          TLDR; Bernie is killing the sport he built

    12. McLaren Honda are expecting to be competitive by the fifth race, my concern is how many engines will they have gone through by then?

      Of course we all expected every Renault car to explode half way through Melbourne last year and instead Red Bull ended on the podium so they could surprise us all but remember out of 8 Renault powered cars, 4 had power unit failures and 1 a BBW failure which isn’t unrelated.

      I don’t much fancy the odds of Honda only powering 2 cars making it to the finish line.

      1. I think the comparison between McLaren Honda this year and Red Bull Renault last year does not hold.

        Remember, when Red Bull Renault missed a lot of testing last year, the difference with the other engines was still just 12 days of testing and therefore perhaps one month of development ruined.

        This year, McLaren Honda is not just behind 12 days, they are behind a whole year + 12 days.

    13. We have 9 teams on the grid (including Manor). They all sport the same livery in terms of the car. How difficult could it be to identify one of the drivers from the two racing for each team.

      If they do find it difficult, I suggest they check their eyes (with all the respect in the world). There is not a single valid reason to have this ban in place.

      1. Agreed. In fact i find it a little insulting that the fia think that viewers are not intelligent enough to make the distinction between two cars and now need the extra “help” of hard-to-see helmets during a race.

    14. I do not agree that all helmets look the same today and that we will forget all of them soon. For instance, I really love Rosberg’s black helmet and I think I will remember it, even after he retires from the sport.

      That said, I do not think that forcing a driver to stick to the same helmet design is much better than making him stop changing girlfriends and finding the everlasting love. I believe that the helmet is a part of driver’s identity and if he wants to change its design every race, then that’s who he is. Do we really want “iconic” designs that mean nothing to the drivers themselves?

      1. The thing is if you keep something for long enough, it starts to mean something automatically. When you drive every race with the same helmet design, even if it didn’t mean anything at first, all the memories and feelings from all those races will become associated with that helmet. That’s the same procedure by which things become “iconic”, simply through perpetuation.

    15. So when will helmetgate kick off? Place yer bets…here’s Ray Winstone…naaaaaah!

      Shame it’s Jean Todt in charge (who won’t react to anything) and not some volatile nutjob like Balestre for Vettel to poke with a stick, he’d have had some fun with that.

    16. I’ll give one very good reason why drivers should have ONE good distinctive helmet design.

      My neighbours 8 year old grandson said “There’s Jenson”, pointing to the fourth car in a line heading to turn one.
      “How do you know that?”
      “Cos he has a pink helmet, silly”

      1. Something that won’t be allowed under the new rules. Remember he changed it to pink mid season after losing his father because it was deeply sentimental to him.

        Highlighting exactly why the drivers should be allowed to decide on whatever they like as their helmet design, whenever they like because it is a personal statement.

        1. He changed it before the start of the season so it was allowed

          1. @dominikwilde

            A. He introduced it at Silverstone so, wrong.

            And 2, regardless that misses the point. The desire and reason to change could occur at any point which is why the rule is flawed.

            1. Could’ve sworn he had it at the start of the year but I just looked it up, I stand corrected

        2. @philipgb Something that won’t be allowed under the new rules.? But will it? It was basically the same design just a different colour. The rules say “substantially the same”, so does that mean the same design or the same colour? What? You can already see the lawyers rubbing their hands. Money!!

        3. I knew the helmet had been changed mid-season.

          The point I am trying to make is, that a distinctive helmet helps people identify a driver quicker and therefore makes it easier to follow.

          Not spending a couple of seconds identifying the driver/car enables one to see more of the action etc. Trying to identify if the car in shot is a Red Bull or a Torro Rosso is bad enough in some cases when lighting/ weather conditions are bad.

          1. @w-k

            For TV that would be very easy to solve with some none intrusive on screen graphics. Similar to those on a Video game. Though that would mean them joining the 21st century.

            And they tend to have big screens visible at the track for the live audience.

    17. It has been stated that the helmet change ban is to make drivers more easily recognisable yet it makes no requirement that the designs be in anyway different (thinking Hamilton and Rosberg both with yellow helmets).

      To point out how ridiculous the ban on changes are the drivers should all submit the same design!

      1. That would be funny wouldn’t it. As a prostest every driver should submti an identical helmet to his teammate.

        1. They should all turn up at the first race with this… http://www.araihelmet-europe.com/car/collection/gp-6-ped/

    18. 1) I agree that helmet is a part of driver’s identity and that today’s helmets do not play this role (with a few exceptions) even when a driver does not change them like socks. When I was a kid, we would draw helmets of more notable drivers from memory. How many helmets of today could you actually draw? Most are just a mess of colors. The few that do stand out – Button, Massa, Webber of old – are designs that have been around for ages – details changed, but the distinctive features that a kid can draw stayed – yellow top and blue sides for Webber, cross in the back for Massa, JB on the sides.
      Some people say that, say, Rosberg’s black helmet grows on them and that they would remember it. Really? When 20 years from now somebody says Rosberg, will you think of a black helmet if he comes up with a totally different design next year and still another 3 years from now?
      To qualify as a driver’s coat of arms, the quality of design is not as important as longevity.

      2) So I guess I do see where FIA is coming from, but as usual they went in the completely wrong way about it. It’s not the in-season changes that ruin it, a one-off actually tends to reinforce the idea of the “real” helmet. It’s the season-to-season changes that matter, and FIA did not address this at all.

      I do not think that these things should be enforced, and even if somebody things so, I do not see a reasonable way to enforce that drivers do have distinct designs. So the only reasonable way is to encourage drivers identifying with “their” helmets, for instance by featuring helmets prominently in F1 marketing and such. And if FIA people really feel that the world is not regulated enough and want to help this helmet thing, they should make a regulation that bans advertisement on helmets. Helmets then would become clean canvases on which drivers could try to express their innermost feelings on F1 :-).

    19. Another driver’s son gets fast-tracked into racing. And last week Lotus signed Carmen Jorda, to general derision. Don’t any old F1 drivers have daughters who want to race? They’d be straight to the top?

      Good luck to Mick Schumacher, the circumstances are terribly sad. Don’t wish to criticise him at all.

      1. I think that 15 years of age is just the right time to start single-seater racing, I do not see any fast-tracking here. Moreover, “if you’re good enough, you’re old enough”, there will always be exceptional young drivers, who deserve to be fast-tracked.

        As for Jorda, it is a completely different case – she is never going to be an F1 racing driver and she is also never going to participate in a free practice session because the FIA is never going to give her a Super Licence. She is going to spend a lot of time in Lotus’ garage and the simulator and ultimately be allowed to drive the car in some airport. The Lotus’ press release was inadequate and she really should be called a promotional driver or something like that but the over-reaction to her signing was completely unfounded.

    20. Did I read that right that Mercedes have only used the one engine so far? OK, so it’s been ‘refreshed’ every so often, but that still seems pretty impressive.

      1. They must have used the old trick of urinating on the block.

    21. @PeteBaldwin I would recognise my hero his helmet from miles off aswell – Mark Webber. In his entire career outside switching teams he changed it once for a good cause in Singapore.

    22. …I am completely against the helmet ban, but who can ever forget the iconic colours of Fangio, Moss or Clark?..I can’t ever imagine them in anything else…

    23. Regarding the news that Mick Schumacher is joining Van Amersfoort Racing, that’s great news for the Dutch team. At this point last year, they were really strapped for cash, hiring pay drivers left, right and centre. The team was really fortunate that Jos Verstappen rang them and asked if Max could drive for them. Of course Max did a great job, but the team (bar the reliability issues) did a great job as well and really put themselves in the spotlights.

      As Frits van Amersfoort explains, it’s not unusual for them to offer a seat to top karting drivers like Mick. But I’m convinced that VAR’s successful 2014 campaign definitely helped them sign Mick, especially with teams like Motopark or Mücke Motorsport still looking for drivers. Great news for both parties, hope they will do well in 2015.

    24. Neil (@neilosjames)
      3rd March 2015, 11:15

      Vettel’s helmet should have a huge, unflattering portrait of Jean Todt on it. See if they’ll let him change it then.

    25. antonyob (@)
      3rd March 2015, 11:54

      What a lot of time people are spending complaining about the FIA taking up a lot of time on the new helmet rule.

      1. The thing for me is that many people, including Vettel, are trying to make it sound like the FIA is incapable of concerning themselves with more than one thing at a time, like ALL they are doing is coming up with ‘silly’ decisions, which MUST mean they aren’t trying to solve the bigger issues. If they think consistent helmets would help fans identify more closely with each driver, then perhaps they ARE in fact looking at a bigger picture and are tackling it from many angles.

        1. antonyob (@)
          3rd March 2015, 15:26

          Yep that is the thing. The FIA have a bad press and often rightly but, for example, safety has increased massively, even in the last 10 years. The helmet thing is, as you say, part of a wider remit to get the next gen interested. Expect more disingenuous headlines and scorning comments for a while yet though

    26. Daniel McCarthy
      3rd March 2015, 13:31

      I agree 100% with Vettel. What difference does it make to the FIA etc if drivers are having different designs, doesn’t cost them anything and its a nice way for the drivers to express themselves etc. There are far more important issues in F1! It really is a joke!!!

    27. Hey guys, what about change the cars´s colors quite a few times during the season too. Keep the helmets colors is a good decision, and Hamilton had a good decision keeping his number. Imagine if you super heroes have like 3 of 4 different clothes, c´mon guys.

    28. What I despise most about this damn helmet change ban is that has me agreeing with Vettel. That is just plain bloody wrong.

    29. I am amused by the fact that we spend so much time discussing helmet designs while proclaiming helmet designs unimportant. :)

    30. Just a quick question. Manor was supposed to have their car crash tested today. Any word on if they passed everything?

    31. Yeah, helmet designs doesn’t matter, but here we are discussing about them…

    32. I do agree with Vettel, this is not too important at present.

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