F1 to review helmet design rules
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 1st October, 2019 - 10:05am
The FIA is set to review its policy preventing drivers from sporting different helmet designs at events ahead of the 2020 Formula 1 season.
Over the Russian Grand Prix weekend Daniil Kvyat was prevented from running an alternate helmet design after it was deemed to have been substantially different from his usual design.
While previously drivers have been able to chop and change at will, Sebastian Vettel being the most notable example, a rule introduced for 2015 limited the freedom drivers had when it came to changing the basic helmet design.
At the time it was intended to help make driver identification easier, though did allow provisions for one-off changes.
Speaking after the Russian Grand Prix, F1 race director Michael Masi explained that blocking Kvyat’s new design wasn’t personal, simply an application of the rules as they are currently written.
“I don’t think that Kvyat was picked out. The question was asked, if the helmet design is substantially similar, and the response was ‘no it’s not’,” Masi said.
“The team asked me if the design was in my view substantially similar, which I believe is the wording in the regulations.
“From my end, that’s what the regulation said when the question was asked.”
The matter was raised during the drivers’ briefing on Friday in Russia, with Masi admitting that it’s something he’ll look into further.
“I said to the drivers on Friday night that yes, it’s something we will look at, but there are a number of inputs,” the Australian said.
“It is not just the FIA, it’s the F1 Group, we’ve also got broadcast media.
“It’s funny talking to some of the commentators about it.
“They said ‘The reason why it was there was because of us, when we’re looking down, we know who is in the car.
“‘If we’ve got someone changing helmets all the time, we’ve actually got to think and look twice on who it is when we’re doing the live television broadcast.’
“There were various reasons why it was brought it, and it’s one of those we’ve already spoken about, we discussed it on Friday night, and said let’s have a look at it.
“It would require a regulation change, is the simple part.
“There is your one joker per year that you’re allowed, and when the question is asked, the response is relatively black and white.”