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.
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.
Nico Hülkenberg special helmet for Formula 1 race 1000 in China.— Jens Munser Designs (@JMD_helmets) April 11, 2019
A minimalistic vintage design with old Renault, Schuberth and JMD logos. At the back the Roman "M" for 1000.
Startnumber, name and lines are messy as if painted by a not too steady hand. pic.twitter.com/2AacRtXkpN
Elsewhere, young British driver George Russell has gone for a half-and-half design honouring one of his Williams predecessors, Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya.
My first ever karting helmet was an exact copy of my elder brother's helmet— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) April 11, 2019
It was only about eight years later that I discovered the design was inspired by @WilliamsRacing legend @jpmontoya's helmet!#F1#ChineseGP 🇨🇳 @WilliamsRacing#Race1000pic.twitter.com/4ogiAsjltP
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.
The #Race1000 helmet for @alex_albon , paying tribute to Prince Bira - the only other Thai @F1 driver 🇹🇭— MDM Designs (@mdm_designs) April 11, 2019
It also features the F1 1000 branding, alongside gold glitter as well as a Chinese Dragon around the rear of the helmet to mark the special event
Good luck Alex 👌🏻#AA23pic.twitter.com/nCxhnR1ATa
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.
Assymetrical design to celebrate the 1000th @F1 GP for @landonorris— MDM Designs (@mdm_designs) April 12, 2019
Gold glitter elements throughout, with half of the helmet dedicated to the 1000GP branding 🇨🇳
Design by MDM, paintwork by @JMD_helmets and 3D renders by @KVDesign_helmet