After a pretty quiet weekend on the helmet front at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, several Formula 1 drivers are donning special designs as the world championship hits Australia.
There’s the obvious home driver helmets but two other more surprising drivers have revealed new lids to showcase across the weekend in Melbourne.
There’s been a continuous Australian presence on the F1 grid since Mark Webber made his debut, and Oscar Piastri continues that in 2023 as the sole representative from down under.
Despite that, out of 19 Australian GP in that run there’s only been one really good result for a home driver – Webber‘s F1 debut with Minardi where he finished a brilliant fifth, his only points of the season.
Piastri‘s helmet features several Australian flags, a boxing kangaroo, the Melbourne skyline and a ‘G’day mate’ strapline, all it’s missing is a barbecue really.
“It’s my first home race, a very special one of course, and a special race calls for a special helmet,” Piastri said. “It’s my Australian special. It’s not too different from my normal design, just with a few more Australian flags on.
“I thought I’d change it up a little bit but keep it similar to what I’ve kept in the last couple of years. Look out for the kangaroo, because how can you miss that.”
Definitely a driver to root for at the Australian GP, Valtteri Bottas arrived early in Melbourne and spent a day at the Save the Children Kindergarten in Mooroopina.
He learned about the work they’re doing to help educate children outside of Melbourne, particularly aboriginal children, and he commissioned aboriginal artist Ricky Kildea for the unique, personalised design.
Bottas is auctioning the race-used helmet after the race to raise money for projects helping aboriginal communities in Victoria, with the first bid at £10,000.
Both Alfa Romeo drivers have opted for special helmets but gone in pretty different directions with them, making it easy for fans and commentators alike.
Zhou Guanyu is donning a snazzy neon design that embraces the city of Melbourne.
Australia’s iconic ‘beware of kangaroos’ road sign is the main feature of the helmet at the back, incorporating his viperish personal logo.
However, he’s also included some aboriginal artwork, echoing his teammate.
The Australian driver who’s got closest to a home podium, when he was disqualified from third in 2014, Ricciardo isn’t racing in Melbourne but he’s announced his new helmet anyway.
The main feature is a honey badger wearing a cork hat, with beige flames adding some movement to the piece. It’s a fair way removed from Ricciardo‘s usual helmets, particularly those he sported previously for Red Bull, and he’s seemingly already worn it once for the speed through the Australian outback in one of Red Bull‘s trademark stunts.