Formula 1 comes home for the 2023 British Grand Prix, and six drivers are celebrating that with special helmet designs.
The paddock was light of any special helmets for the Austrian GP but they’re back with a bang at Silverstone after the 2022 British GP saw six different headwear designs.
F1 went bonkers for the 2023 Miami GP as 11 (yes, you read that right) drivers brought new designs to the race but the British GP isn’t far off and has eclipsed the seven on display in Monaco earlier in the season.
Silverstone is possibly F1‘s biggest race of the season, as nearly half a million are expected through the gates of the track that hosted the first-ever F1 world championship race way back in 1950.
Coming halfway through the season, still in that bit of British summertime where the weather could be scorching or soaking, there’s not been a bad British GP for at least five years and fans will hope for more of the same in 2023.
It’s also the home race for three drivers and seven of the ten F1 teams, and a huge occasion for sponsors.
At first glance, this looks like it could be confused with Lance Stroll‘s helmet (assuming he doesn’t also bring a special design to Silverstone), so prepare for that especially if you’re planning to be at the track over the weekend.
With that PSA out of the way, what’s it all about? Well the design looks to have been inspired by the DBR4, Aston Martin‘s first foray into F1.
The wooden steering wheel atop the crown of the design plus the long external exhaust, white circled driver number and even the dent-effect around the finetwork sponsorship are all hallmarks of the DBR4.
That car too has an interesting history – its entry into F1 was delayed as Aston chose to prioritise the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which it duly won in 1959.
That meant by the time the DBR4 was unleashed on F1 – at the Dutch GP that year – it was off the pace.
Piloted by the legendary Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori in both F1 and Le Mans, for the David Brown team, the DBR4 recorded four finishes out of eight starts with a highest of sixth – Alonso will be hoping for better this weekend.
Possibly the pick of the bunch, the chromed McLaren livery makes a partial comeback on the MCL60’s engine cover at the British GP and Norris is following suit with his helmet.
The chromed McLaren is an absolute icon of F1 – there were very few bad liveries in 2007-08 but the MP4-22 and 23 were arguably the pick of the bunch.
And Norris should stand out in the Friday sun and whatever weather appears on raceday. His helmet features a Google Chrome logo on top, and silver the rest of the way round.
He’s been known at Alex ‘The Zebra’ Albon since his junior formula days… just kidding, but Albon’s British GP special helmet is still pretty cool.
Going with the Williams 800th GP theme – at their 799th race, obviously, number 800 is in Hungary – he’s paired their current blue theme with the white that was the livery of their first-ever F1 car, the FW06 in 1978.
Williams have also got a neat little burnt-effect union jack on their engine cover for the weekend.
It’s two-by-two from here, as both Alpine, Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin drivers have also switched headwear.
First up, Esteban Ocon‘s gone for a white design with every member of the Alpine F1 team listed. It features the co-ordinates of their Enstone HQ and engine base in Paris suburb Viry-Chatillon atop the design too.
“I’m very proud to have every single member, everybody that’s working so hard to get these top cars that we’re driving,” Ocon said when announcing the design.
Gasly‘s opted for a British flag-based design, as part of a wider range of Gasly-union jack merchandise. It’s not dissimilar at all to Jenson Button‘s F1 helmets.
Notice a theme? Bottas has also leaned into the union jack idea but if anything has gone even harder – it looks like if someone turned one of those 2021 VE Day street parties into a helmet.
There’s bunting on top ringing an adaption of the Second World War message ‘keep calm and carry on’, and British icons filling the arms of the flag – from London buses to phone boxes to teapots.
It’s a caricatured Anglophile design, complete with ‘lovely day for it’ scrawled across the back.
Rounding out the F1 drivers, Zhou‘s helmet rivals Norris‘ as the best of the weekend.
In shades of Narain Karthikeyan‘s ‘cucumber’ design, Zhou has invoked his karting design to create a sumptuous orange, green, blue and white number.
Stroll‘s British GP design is actually more removed from his usual helmet than his special effort for his home Canadian GP was.
The blue is suspiciously close to Williams – who Stroll did start his F1 career with – and features wings coming up from the bottom and a green-turquoise ring around the crown.
Ok, this isn’t an official change, but it’s still a new bit of headwear on track at Silverstone.
Sonny Hayes is Brad Pitt‘s character in the (as yet untitled) Apple Studios/Bruckheimer Films F1 film that’s in production.
Driving for Apex, a fictional 11th team on the F1 grid, the team are using a modified Dallara F2 chassis.