Glitz and glamour go hand in hand with Monaco, so it is no surprise that over the years Formula One drivers have joined in the razzle-dazzle by dressing up their helmet designs for the sport’s most prestigious of races.
Sadly this will now be a thing of the past thanks to the new rules banning driver’s from changing helmet designs after the season has started, but join us as we take a look at a variety of Monaco specials…
Jean-Eric Vergne 2013
Former Toro Rosso pilot Vergne pulled off something rather special in 2013. A year after sporting a very cool Jean Alesi tribute design, the Frenchman paid a wonderful homage to another of his countrymen in Francois Cevert. The helmet was painted in Cevert’s beautiful blue, red and yellow striped design and was a fantastic way to celebrate the life of an incredibly quick driver who was taken from the Formula One world much too soon.
Kimi Raikkonen 2005
Kimi Raikkonen has made quite the habit of running a Monaco special, and 2005 proved to be one of his best. Painted in a very cool matte black-and-orange finish, the look was given a final flourish by one hundred of the very best diamonds from McLaren sponsor Steinmetz. The Iceman proved what a diamond he was by dominating the race and winning his maiden Monaco Grand Prix. The helmet itself was sold in a charity auction last year for nearly €25,000.
Lewis Hamilton 2010
It may not have been a huge change from Lewis Hamilton for Monaco in 2010, but it certainly was quite cool. He stuck a roulette wheel around the halo at the top of his lid in homage to the many casinos in Monaco, and the fact that luck plays a huge part in the history of the race itself. So which number did the ball land in on Lewis helmet? The number 44 of course!
Sebastian Vettel 2011
The four time World Champion is certainly no stranger to a new helmet design, and Monaco proved no different. My favourite is from 2011 when Vettel put together a very smart collage of old Monaco race posters all around his helmet, with the ever present Red Bull logo made to look worn and ragged, much like he himself must have been after winning that year’s race.
It wasn’t the first time he’d go retro for Monaco, in 2013 he had a similar collage on the top of his helmet but this time it featured photos of old cars rather than posters. The back, well I’ll leave you lot to find that little surprise out for yourself here – Top 10 Vettel Helmets
Rubens Barrichello 2006
A pretty cool helmet design swap saw Barrichello sport IndyCar racer Tony Kanaan’s colours. A neat blue and red crescent design, it stood out rather well from Rubens’ Honda during the weekend. For the Indy 500 the same day Kanaan wore Barrichello’s usual white and red markings. Kanaan would finish America’s crown jewel in 5th, Barrichello finished Formula One’s in, yep, 5th!
Fernando Alonso 2013
Alonso swept aside blue and yellow for gold and white two years ago, incorporating a puzzle-like design celebrating his wins so far. The design wrapped around his helmet wonderfully with the top being another puzzle, this time made up of a map of the world. Piece together wins around the world and you get titles – very clever Fernando!
Marcus Ericsson 2014
The penultimate tribute to an earlier generation of Formula One driver in this list came from Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson, when he received permission from Ronnie Peterson’s family to use his design for the 2014 Monaco race.
Using the colours of the Swedish flag only, it was a very simple affair, but highly effective against the green of Ericsson’s Caterham – who ironically were called Lotus back in 2010-11, the same team Peterson was driving for when he lost his life.
Romain Grosjean 2012
RoGro gave us sparkles in 2012 with a refreshing design consisting of red and gold sections on top of a white base. In the sunlight it looked stunning, and went well with the retro colour scheme of his Lotus Renault. In fact it was so nice I wish he’d kept it for the rest of the season, but alas a Monaco special it became.
Sadly for Grosjean the helmet didn’t get much use in the race after he retired on the opening lap after a collision with Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes.
Lewis Hamilton 2013
Good or bad? We’ll leave that for you to decide – Hamilton’s 2013 effort was certainly different. An elaborate design which had a golden base coat with a garish cartoon of the man himself on a boat with dog Roscoe and then girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger. Only Lewis Hamilton could get away with wearing a design like this, but personally I’m rather thankful we probably won’t see this again in the near future…
Sergio Perez 2013
Perez was another driver to try out a Monaco special in 2013. Like Hamilton had done a few years previously, he incorporated Monaco’s gambling nature into his design with dice and poker chips littering the lid, while the colours consisted of the red and green of the Mexican flag; he rather smartly had red on one half of the helmet and green on the other. It ended up being popular enough with fans to warrant getting it’s own run of half scale lids produced at the end of the season.
Kimi Raikkonen 2012
Was there ever a more appropriate driver helmet tribute than the one Kimi Raikkonen chose for Monaco in 2012? Kimi famously once entered a snowmobile race in early 2007 under the pseudonym ‘James Hunt’, by 2012 he was racing in the 1976 Champion’s helmet colours.
Both known for their love of girls, parties and indifference at anything else that didn’t involve racing the cars, so it seems a shame the two men will never have a conversation. To have been a fly on the wall for that one!
Valtteri Bottas 2014
Bottas didn’t have much to celebrate in 2013 on his first visit to the Principality. Thankfully for him Williams gave him a much better car to play with the following year, and he decided it was time to do his first, and now last, Monaco helmet special. Keeping roughly the same layout as his normal design he switched the colours up a bit by introducing a very sparkly light blue on the sides with a red and white, for Monaco’s national flag, chequerboard effect inside the Martini halo on top. Unfortunately he’ll have to stick to plain old blue and white for 2015.
Got your own favourite Monaco Special? Let us know either via BadgerGP Facebook or BadgerGP Twitter!