The 2023 Formula 1 circus travels 11,000km in less than a week after leaving Azerbaijan straight for Florida and the second-ever Miami Grand Prix, with drivers getting new helmets for the first US race of the season.
Although last year’s event was a pretty turgid affair on the track, it proved to be a flagship event off it, with F1 pulling out all the stops to provide a party atmosphere for track-goers.
And plenty of drivers are already getting into the festival spirit, with a slew of special helmet designs ahead of the weekend that stay true to everything F1 is trying to build up the Miami GP to be – regardless of whether the racing action lives up to the hype.
Max Verstappen was the first driver to break cover with a new helmet design, sporting a tidy little number that stays true to his base design for the season.
The turquoise and magenta colour scheme is very in keeping with the Ocean Drive aesthetic F1 wants to be synonymous with the event, which Verstappen won the inaugural edition of in 2022.
He heads to Miami after a frustrating weekend in Baku where he was beaten by Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez in three out of four meaningful sessions and lashed out at the sprint race concept, format and George Russell‘s aggression in the sprint itself.
However, how could anyone not feel a little calmer with this headwear in place? The lining of the helmet is also turquoise, in what’s apparently a first for manufacturers Schuberth.
Verstappen also hinted at how some future special designs will look too, though for now all his focus will be on the Miami weekend with his championship lead cut to six.
“The general design is the same, as my normal helmet, I thought it was quite nice to keep it like that,” said Verstappen.
“It’s quite a clean design, I like it anyway this year and I’m trying to keep that for all special helmets, but of course some are impossible to keep clean – more on that later.”
After Lando Norris‘ ultra-successful basketball helmet at the 2022 Miami GP, Albon clearly figured if you can’t beat them, join them.
He’s rocked up in Florida with a golf ball-inspired helmet and managed a pretty cool photoshoot with it ahead of the weekend action.
It will almost certainly look better inside the cockpit from a distance, but it doesn’t really hit the spot in the same way Norris managed in 2022.
Speaking of which… Norris knocked it out of the park (though that expression would work better with a baseball-looking helmet, get scribbling for 2024 MDM Designs) yet again.
Asked about how he made sure not to turn up with the same headwear as Albon, Norris explained most drivers have the same designer which avoids clashes.
Everything about this design works, right down to the inflation popper and the beach-themed font for his driver number on top of the helmet. Full marks Lando, well done.
Ocon very much opted for the Verstappen school of thought on this one, again making turquoise and magenta the central theme of his design. There’s also hints of Zhou Guanyu‘s Australian GP design.
He was the only driver to have a special helmet in Azerbaijan too so he earns the prize for working his designers the hardest in this double-header.
The only F1 driver named after a rank of the US military, Logan ‘The Drill’ Sargeant also happens to hail from Fort Lauderdale which is just a quick hop up the coast from Miami and all in the same metro area, making it a doubly special weekend for the Williams driver.
He took a few days off at home with his family after jetting into America and if all goes well this year he’ll join a pretty select group of drivers to enjoy three home races in a season.
His design certainly channels Miami dialled up to 11, classy probably isn’t the right word – it looks a bit like the artwork on a fairground ride in England in the 2000s if anyone gets that reference – but there’s something lovingly unapologetic about it too.
Well this one’s… different. Hulkenberg‘s design channels a sunset orange (for a race on the east coast of America) and isn’t light on either palm trees or aqua blue.
Each to their own and all, but it does feel a bit Microsoft Paint x bored 14-year-old.
However, Hulk is one of only two drivers who haven’t tweeted a picture of their helmets, which is very on-brand.
Much more back-to-basics for Gasly, who offers up a solid design but one with the added bonus that it’ll keep your toes warm as no socks are being blown off here.
However, freed from the shackles of the samey Red Bull/AlphaTauri designs Gasly has one of the best normal helmets on the grid so maybe he can be let off.
It’s a helmet that ticks all the standard Miami boxes and features a simple but effective tribute to Anthoine Hubert on the back too.
Pay attention Nico, this is how to do it. Possibly the pick of the bunch, the palm/fern leaves have been masterfully meshed together and the more subtle blue and red on the white base works so well too.
Leclerc always seems to do a solid job on his special helmets and this is no different, and the design deserves extra credit for retaining the Monegasque theme without any feeling that it clashes with Miami.
“How much neon do you want on Carlos?”
The best thing about this is we still have Las Vegas to come later in the year too – just a good job we’re not travelling to Memphis as well or Sainz could be driving around with fairy lights wrapped around his head.
It’s just so everything of a design. Why does it need the Miami track map and ‘Miami’ and a (the Bermuda?) triangle all on top? Why is the number of colour blocks on either side in the double figures? What other monstrosity could be hiding on the back?
Absolutely no idea… but if it goes fast Sainz won’t care either.