Formula 1 returns to Canada, one of the best-loved circuits on the calendar, for the second time since the COVID-19 pandemic and four drivers are celebrating with special helmet designs for the 2023 Canadian GP.
Home favourite Lance Stroll was the predictable driver although he’s not changed it up too much from his usual design featuring the Aston Martin wings.
Valtteri Bottas is already on his third special design of the season and his helmet is maybe the pick of the bunch, though Charles Leclerc is also sporting an emotive number.
Leclerc sports a tribute to Gilles Villeneuve helmet, the Canadian who raced 66 times and took won six grand prix for Ferrari before his tragic death at the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix.
The Montreal track is named after the legend, whose son Jacques completed Gilles‘ legacy in 1997 when he won the F1 world championship.
Jacques was also one of the drivers to christen the wall of champions when he, Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill all crashed there in 1999.
Gilles‘ helmet was sponsored by Smeg, an Italian fridge company, but Leclerc‘s had to make do with the infinitely less classy Bitdefender in the same position.
Villeneuve won his home race once, in 1978, though Leclerc is yet to taste victory in Canada.
Described as ‘so bad it’s good’ by one fan, it’s certainly a statement design! Bottas said when he thinks of Canada, the first things he things of are lumberjacks and beavers, so that’s what he designed it around.
He also said the lumberjack is modelled on himself, and that figure reappears on his race boots too – he’s got special leather-effect shoes too.
The helmet scene would do well as a Canadian tourism board advert, what a design! And the cherry on top is the maple leaf holding his race number atop the helmet.
Is this design a bit disappointing from Stroll? It’s basically just a white-out version of his usual helmet, with Canada-red wings.
However, he’s using it to raise money for people affected by the Canadian forest fires, which is nothing but admirable.
“We’ve all seen how bad the wildfires across Quebec and Canada have been since the beginning of June,” Stroll said. “I have decided to auction my special edition helmet and race kit from the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix in order to raise money and awareness for those affected by the fires.
“I’d like to thank everyone who is helping, including the emergency services, the armed forces and all the volunteers.”
Perez only announced his helmet 25 minutes before FP1 started, and the photoshoot he did for it is a thing of beauty.
It’s probably more entertaining than the FP1 was in truth, and promotes Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny – the latest installment in the franchise.
The helmet itself is fine, and works in the iconic fedora and whip well – and judging from the reviews of Indy 5 – it might be better than the film itself.