Some may have found them annoying and some many have found them exciting, but in the wake of the FIA’s new rule limiting drivers to one helmet design per season, Sebastian Vettel will be forced to stick to just one from March 15th onwards. Since 2007, when he burst onto the scene wearing his Red Bull can design at Sauber BMW, the German has had an unbelievable 95 different helmet designs – ninety five!
Which ones stood out from the crowd and made us go wow? Here are our favourites.
For the Italian Grand Prix in 2011 Vettel chose a matte black base with a beautiful metallic cherry/strawberry red. It stood out from the blue of the Red Bull car fantastically. Unseen on the onboard camera was a clever chequered flag design in the black panels on the top of the helmet.
Singapore 2011/Abu Dhabi 2011
The detail on both helmets was exactly the same, a wonderful swirl of technicolor that showed every colour of the rainbow under the bright lights of the track. For Singapore the base colour was white, for Abu Dhabi it was black. Ironic then that he won Singapore which the bright white and retired on lap one in Abu Dhabi with the slightly more sombre black.
Seb showed up to Hungary with a stunning golden design to celebrate his two World Championships. It has gold in chrome, matte and glitter finishes with the splash of red from the Red Bull logo coupling up wonderfully next to the various shades of gold. A design fit for a double Champion!
Here Vettel chose to pat homage to one of Red Bull’s other heroes. Legendary space jumper Felix Baumgartner (no relation to the woeful Zsolt). Vettel’s helmet was painted to mimic the record breaking Baumgartner’s ‘astronaut’ helmet. The result was very cool and out of this world!
You cant really go wrong with black and gold in Formula One. That’s what Vettel chose for his home race a couple of years ago and it was one of his best. A classy matte black background on top of which was some elegant golden glitter patterned into swishes. A shame it only made one appearance after Seb retired it upon winning on home soil.
The famous ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ design. To this day there doesn’t appear to be a critic of Vettel’s Japanese tribute lid. It carried him to his second title sporting a wonderful fading blue with the yellow of the Red Bull logo cleverly posing as the sun on the horizon. A thoughtful design, it’s a shame we won’t see it repeated.
He turned up with what appeared to be an innocent enough design, the top of his helmet was covered in a mirage of classic F1 cars from the 60s and he had ‘Monaco’ written down the side in stylish writing. The real surprise was hidden on the back, where a young woman sat in the same style of some famous 1960s posters. The catch? Her bra was made from special paint that disappears when hot. You dirty boy Seb!
For the first race back in America since 2007 Seb decided to go back to basics. With Austin being in the middle of cowboy land he chose a wooden finish reminiscent of the ranches near the racetrack. The result was simple yet very effective, the ‘Mericans loved it!
America again, but last year Vettel chose to associate himself with a Marvel superhero. The top of his lid was designed to look just like the shield of Captain America and the rest coloured in a gunmetal silver. It looked badass, and I’m sure the youngsters Bernie doesn’t think exist loved it.
He did something no one had ever done with their helmet design in F1 before and no one has tried repeating it since, Seb stuck some lights on the top. Tiny little specially designed LEDs that flashed whenever his car went over a bump. Some hated it, I loved it. It was totally fitting for F1’s new jewel in the crown night race.