CLAMP ON HELMET CHANGES: Bold colours made it easy to identify Fernando Alonso's Ferrari helmet. Image: Shutterstock.
LONDON, England - Formula 1 drivers are to be barred from changing their helmet design during the course of a season, a rule made to help fans identify their heroes andto please traditionalists.
It will be less well-received by those drivers who like to change the look of their lids with some frequency.
The decision was taken by the governing International Automobile Federation’s Formula 1 Commission which met on Tuesday (Feb 17 2015), one of those present confirmed to Reuters. It has yet to be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council.
"The federation is keen to have stability so people can identify who is in the car," said the source. "The new phenomenon of drivers changing helmets every few races isn't helping."
The news received a mixed response on social media, with sports-car racer and former F1 driver Alexander Wurz one of those critical of the decision. the Austrian wrote on Twitter: "I hear F1 banned drivers to change helmet design during season. I am a fan of consistency. BUT SERIOUSLY! What's next? Rules on haircut?"
Australian Mark Webber, who left F1 at the end of 2013 and now races Porsche sports cars, suggested there were "bigger issues than this" for the sport to address.
Others pointed out that once-off helmets, such as the special design worn by Jenson Button in 2011 and auctioned to raise money to help victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, would not be allowed. Neither would tribute helmets, such as the James Hunt one worn by Kimi Raikkonen in 2013.
According to the autosport.com, four-times F1 champion Sebastian Vettel has used about 60 designs since his debut in 2007 - although he said recently he was likely to stick with one now he has at Ferrari.
The frequent changes have rankled more traditional fans who yearn for the days when drivers were easily recognisable by their crash helmet and when cars also had much bigger numbers on their sides.
Britain's double F1 champion Graham Hill famously raced with the colours of the London Rowing Club (dark blue with white tabs) in the 1960’s and 70’s with son and 1996 champion Damon continuing the tradition.
The generally accepted most-distinctive helmet belonged to the late Brazilian triple F1 champion Ayrton Senna who was always associated with his country's yellow and green colours.
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