Helmets are not just a safety measure for all motor racing classes but are also a way to recognise drivers during the races. One could argue some helmets are even more known than their drivers’ faces. Helmets express a drivers personality, their designs celebrate some important occasions and brands look to plaster their logos all over them. Through the years, many helmets have become legendary, either for their wonderful and unique designs or for the legendary multi-race-winning pilots that wore them. Here is a list that covers some of the most iconic helmets from the world of motorsports. You may disagree with some, since you could argue that some worth a mention were not included, but you cannot claim that those that are present do not deserve to be here.
Brazilian Pride – Ayrton Senna’s Helmet
Whether you’re a motorsport fan or not Senna’s helmet is the most recognisable. The yellow base colour with blue, green and white stripes is an homage to the Brazilian flag. It truly represents Ayrton Senna’s feeling towards his country and his people. Feelings reciprocated to the very bitter end.
Flaming Red – Michael Schumacher’s Helmet
Maybe not the most fancy and unique design ever, Michael Schumacher’s helmet is however recognised as one of the most successful helmets in the history of F1. You notice straight away Michael’s helmet from the stars on the top. The design has changed quite a bit over the years. Starting with a white base and German flag on the back from the early 90’s to his most recent, a fiery red that symbolizes Michael’s passions and talent, as well as his indissoluble bond with the red team, Ferrari. However the stars on top always remain.
From Father to Son – Graham Hill and Damon Hill’s Helmet’s
Graham Hill and Damon Hill were the first father-son pair to win at least one F1 World Championship, and the fact they did it using two practically identical helmet designs (blue with white oars) makes it even more meaningful. This instantly recognisable design comes from the days when Graham Hill was a rower at international level. His club, The London Rowing Club is where this iconic design originates from.
Keeping it in the Family – Mario, Michael and Marco Andretti’s Helmet’s
The Andretti family is one of the most well known and awarded families in the history of F1 and IndyCar. So no one should be surprised that Marco Andretti, its latest proponent, opted for a helmet design that brought together both his grandfather’s and his father’s helmet design. A silver pattern with a blue stripe (in lieu of the usual red) and the American flag on either side.
Down Under – Scott Dixon’s helmet
Scott Dixon’s helmet may have been various colours over the course of his six-time IndyCar champion winning career, but every time he came out with a new colour, two things never changed. The New Zealand crest on the back, and a bit of moko, which is a Māori design to represent the native people of New Zealand. Dixon has a strong connection with his homeland and the Maori culture. Something I believe Bruce McLaren would be proud to see.
As bright as the Future (hopefully) – Mick Schumacher’s Helmet
Formula 2 may not be the most watched series of motorsport, but when the son of Michael Schumacher wins the title, it sure gets interesting. Mick’s helmet is very different from his father’s which is a good thing. It shows he has his own path to forge rather than living in his fathers shadow. It features the German flag patterns on the sides and a plain fluorescent green on the front and no stars on the top! I do think this future world champion will wear a similar designed helmet for a race or two to pay tribute to his dad.
Psychedelic to the Win – Jacques Villeneuve’s Helmet
Back to F1 and back to a family of winners, although in the case of the Villeneuve dynasty sadly only Jacques could claim a Word Title. Flamboyant as he was, and still is, Jacques helmet could not be anything other than vibrant with a series of multiple colours in a striking formation wrapped around the whole helmet excluding the top which was always blue. The inspiration for this? A jumper his mother once wore! There’s also a V in the design to pay tribute to his dad, Gilles Villeneuve.
The Flying Finn – Mika Hakkinen’s Helmet
Mika Hakkinen is one of the most well known and successful Finnish drivers. The helmet design is cold looking, like ice. A throwback to the Finnish flag and countryside of his homeland. Most fans will remember this iconic design against its black and silver back drop of the West McLaren Mercedes MP4/14 which won him the 1999 F1 World Championship.
The Red Danger – Niki Lauders Helmet
A simple design for one of the “deadliest” F1 drivers. Niki Lauda’s plain red helmet may have been a very simple-design of just red, but the one who wore it was a tough opponent for everyone else on the grid. The design did change ever so slightly over the years. His later helmets had the logo of his aviation company – Lauda Air.
Hunt the Shunt – James Hunts Helmet
Lastly is British F1 driver James Hunt’s Helmet. Painted black, Hunt added thin bands of blue, yellow and red representing his public school days at Wellington College. The colours flow backwards from the visor, and most strikingly, his name in heavy white block capitals. A name most drivers and fans will never forget.
Posted by John Holmes