Esteban Ocon will be the only driver sporting a special helmet at the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with double the exposure for any one-off designs given the sprint qualifying and race on the Saturday.
It was a busy weekend for helmet fans last time out in Melbourne as three Formula 1 drivers plus reserve Daniel Ricciardo had special headwear, but in Baku it’s just Ocon who’s pushed the boat out.
The Frenchman is looking for a big bounceback weekend in Azerbaijan after he and Pierre Gasly collided on the last racing lap of the Australian GP costing the team a heft points haul and leaving them sixth in the constructors’ championship.
However, Ocon‘s eighth place in the Saudi Arabia GP leaves him ahead of his teammate, level on points but with the higher best finish.
Ocon‘s helmet certainly seems to channel more than a little Michael Schumacher, in the the fire/rust red that was synonymous with the German throughout his Ferrari career.
However, it’s maybe even closer to Schumacher‘s Mercedes headwear – Ocon was originally a Mercedes junior driver but never at the team concurrently to Schumacher.
“Back to the roots with the fluo red, let’s get itttt,” Ocon said when announcing his design on Twitter.
Given it’s been a quiet week in the helmet world, that means there’s time to give another Schumacher-related headwear annecdote.
Scot David Coulthard was one of his bigger rivals, but took the saying ‘keep your friends close but your enemy closer’ to a whole new level at the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix.
Coulthard‘s usual saltire-adorned helmet was fogging up so he asked Schumacher to use one of his spares, and the German said yes without hesitation.
Coulthard went on to finish second that day behind unlikely Ligier winner Olivier Panis, while Schumacher was one of 18 drivers who didn’t finish the race.