Formula One drivers mark 1,000th grand prix with one-off helmets

Formula One is celebrating its 1,000th grand prix this weekend as Shanghai hosts the Chinese grand prix, and to mark the occasion may of the drivers are sporting one-off helmets, with special meanings to them.

Drivers are normally only allowed to change their helmet design once per season, but to commemorate the landmark race being reached by the sport, the rules have been relaxed.

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F1 helmets of 2019
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F1 helmets of 2019
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of Red Bull's Pierre Gasly REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of Red Bull's Max Verstappen REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of Williams' Robert Kubica REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of Williams' George Russell REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of Racing Point’s Lance Stroll REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. REUTERS/Edgar Su
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 14: Daniel RICCIARDO's helmet of Renault Sport F1 Team on day 1 of the 2019 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix (Photo credit should read Chris Putnam / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of McLaren’s Lando Norris REUTERS/Edgar Su
Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 14, 2019 The helmet of Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen REUTERS/Edgar Su
SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 11: The 1000th F1 GP helmet of Alex Albon of Scuderia Toro Rosso and Thailand during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 11, 2019 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
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Leading the way is Renault's Daniel Ricciardo who will be sporting a design worn by fellow Australian Jack Brabham, who won F1 world championships in 1959, 1960 and 1966.

Ricciardo said: "It was actually thanks to Jens Munser who did it for me. Not only did he paint it, but he actually surprised me with the design. We want back and forth a bit the last few weeks and I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do. I actually sent an email last week and said you know what, do something old school, retro and maybe something with a bit of meaning for me and get it done. So in the end it was Sir Jack Brabham's inspiration, so something for me, obviously being Australian, and I think he did a really good job."

Ricciardo's team-mate Nico Hulkenberg will don a bright yellow and black design featuring retro logos from his team Renault and helmet designer Schuberth, as well as the Roman numeral 'M' on the back representing the number 1000.

Elsewhere, young British driver George Russell has gone for a half-and-half design honouring one of his Williams predecessors, Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya.

Talking about the helmet, Russell said: "Montoya's a bit of a Williams legend and he's one of my F1 favourite drivers of all time, just his character and the way he approached the racing, everything, he was a driver you used to enjoy watching. So I thought it would be nice to go half-half this weekend."

Another rookie embracing the chance to switch up his helmet this weekend is Toro Rosso's Alexander Albon. He is paying tribute to the only other Thai driver to have raced in F1, 1950s racer Prince Bira. The helmet will feature a design and colour scheme reminiscent of that on the chassis of Bira's car.

Other drivers on the grid have not looked back, but have gone futuristic with their one-off helmets. Frenchman Pierre Gasly of Red Bull Racing will be wearing a stylish design with a red and white stripped under layer.

Meanwhile McLaren's young English sensation Lando Norris will have a thoroughly modern design created by the team at MDM, it will feature the number '1000' on its side and an intricate design on the back.

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