With Bruno Senna sporting a special tribute helmet at this years Brazilian Grand Prix, it’s the perfect time to publish our first guest post. StephFarnsworth has done a Top Ten, compiling the best helmet designs in F1 history.
There was a huge number to choose from but Steph has gone for a good variety of special, classic and modern helmets. Drum Roll please…
10. Vitantonio Liuzzi – 2010 Monaco Special.
Kicking off the top 10 with a splash of glitz from Liuzzi. His usual design is adorned in the colours of his home nation but for this years Monaco Grand Prix he replaced the green and red with scattered Euro notes and the gold adds a bit more bling too.
His trademark design is pretty snazzy as it is but the spray gold and the cash don’t just make it special but a perfectly fitting lid when racing in the city of glamour and money that is Monte-Carlo.
9. Sebastian Vettel – 2009 Nurburgring Special.
It would be a shock if Sebastian didn’t make the top ten as he goes through more helmets in a season than most drivers do in a life time. Some have been very special; the funky Bahrain pattern that includes every track layout and the special Toro Rosso dedication he sported at Brazil back in 08. For me though, this German design is the best..
The light grey and the white avoids overwhelming the helmet at the back and at the top, the gold complemented the black and white stripes perfectly. The gold circle at the tip of the visor strips provided the hopeful connotation of the Red Bull charging into the sun.
8. Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen.
When talking about Michael Schumacher it’s easy to just remember the dominant days in his red Ferrari but in the late ‘90s and early 2000s his achievements were much more impressive when he was battling with his great rival, Mika Hakkinen.
Their helmets set them apart with Michael donning his iconic hot red with stars sprinkled on and Mika the polar opposite with his cool blue scheme. Individually they might not stand out much but together they scream back to a great period of racing.
7. Jacques Villeneuve 1996 – 2006.
Jacques Villeneuve was always a brazen, daring, loud, love or hate figure and his headwear perfectly reflected the popstar-like racer.
The yellow and pink went together like Mr Blobby and the blue looked like it was on the wrong helmet. The layout wasn’t magnificent and the colours were hideous but it was outstanding for individuality and creativity – it had character.
6. Gerhard Berger – 1995 “No more War” Special.
For sentiment alone this should go straight to the top stop. A one off design for charity, it lacks creativity but that’s hardly the point. The beauty is in the meaning and it really is stunning.
5. Jarno Trulli – 2006 – 2010.
Jarno’s gone with the shiny foil image for a few years now and gradually added a splash of colour. At the side is his JT sign to add a more personal feel which makes it similar to Button’s to some extent.
It stood out for miles and would possibly be more appropriate at a disco so it’s a real shame that from Monaco onwards this year Trulli reverted back to an Italian colour scheme and pattern he used in his F3 days but at least he blessed us with some glistening shine for a few years.
4. Christijan Albers.
It’s fair to say that this jaunty orange made more of an impression on the track than the driver ever did. The black suddenly moulds the orange into circles and gives the helmet a bonkers look.
The last great orange uniform was worn by Gilles Villeneuve and this beats that classic lid, which is high praise indeed.
3. Eddie Irvine – Jaguar Special.
I’ve always hated helmets which are designed just to fit in with the teams livery but this was quite a novel approach. Eddie Irvine is probably the only person that could pull off this powerful design. We’ve seen animal novelties such as ‘Glock dog’ but this made a statement of brash intent. Unfortunately, his time at the team wasn’t quite as glorious as the image he wore across his head but then again Eddie’s roar was often worse than his bite.
It’s got leopard prints and a certain dollop of cheese but it’s a fantastically terrifying icon and utterly typical of Eddie Irvine. It doesn’t have that predictability of just being a bland team sponsored shell in standard colours yet it’s still hitting the advertising goal in great fashion. This was a clever job by Jaguar and Irvine and in terrific style too.
2. Elio de Angelis.
An unusual helmet shape that looked like a cross between The Stig and a Stormtrooper. (what could be more awesome than that!) The box shape around the mouth meanwhile gave an otherworldly feel.
The design, or lack of, gave the impression of a true racer who just wanted to be out in the car and had no time for anything else. This was and still is a striking yet simple image. A true talent and a monster helmet.
Jean Alesi certainly felt the same as he wore an exact copy as a tribute to Elio when he arrived in F1 just three years after his death.
1. Ayrton Senna.
If this belonged to any other driver it perhaps might not land the top spot but the world watched this man for ten years. His battles were marvelled at and this helmet became forever associated with one of the highest achieving drivers the sport has ever seen.
Instantly recognisable, it became part of Ayrton Senna’s identity. The design never really changed, the yellow was a shade more fluorescent in the Lotus days however. The yellow base, top green stripe outlined with two black stripes and the lower black stripe entrapped by two green stripes became a beloved sight in the white and red Mclaren.
Bruno Senna drives wearing a similarly coloured model to honour his uncle and I for one am grateful the colours can be seen on a Saturday and Sunday morning again. They’ve been missed.