Feature: Stories of Helmets
With (most of) the 2020 W-Series grid being revealed, let's discover more about the series protagonists, starting from the returnees. We asked them to describe their helmet designs.
W-Series revealed earlier this week a partial 2020 entry-list for the all-female championship sophomore season.
Following the last September's Almeria selection tests, six new drivers were announced and will thus join the top-12 finishers from the 2019 inaugural season. With the grid being expanded from 18 (plus two reserves) to 20 race drivers, two more names are expected to join the grid.
With drivers finishing at the bottom eight of last year's championship and thus without a guaranteed spot in the series not taking part in the tests at the Spanish venue, it is not clear yet whether they will have a chance of being picked for the two additional entries.
Other than the six new profiles, the W-Series announcement shone a light on the return of Jamie Chadwick and Beitske Visser, who both had expressed interest in evaluating alternatives for their 2020 schedules. Chadwick, a Williams F1 Junior, tested the Euroformula Open car at Silverstone and is believed to be revealing further plans soon.
W-Series will then feature an impressive line-up at the top with some very exciting additions. Will Jamie Chadwick defend her crown? Will Beitske Visser be her main rival again?
Today we discover a bit more about the returnees: we asked them to describe their helmet designs. The helmets are, in fact, not just crucial components of the driver's safety equipment: they are often integral parts of a driver's identity. It is, after all, the visible expression of their individuality.
"I've never really stuck to one helmet: on this one I had tried to add the JC in it, and then on the top now I have the 55, which is my number and a purple pattern. I always had blue on my helmet, and then I tried to incorporate the pink, and now there is suddently some green...
It's a bit random, but normally it's the big JC and obviously the blue at the top, which doesn't really have a meaning, I just like blue, it's a nice color."
"On the back I have the Friesland flag, which is the region where I live. Then I have the green and yellow colours on the helmet, which are just colours that I like. My design has helped me step by step to be recognized by my helmet."
"I like stars, I have a star tattoo on my wrist, don't ask me why, I just like stars.
It's like a symbol on my helmet. I did the graphic when I was in Ginetta Junior in 2008 and there's not a real meaning behind it. I am half-Irish and half-British, so I have an Irish flag on one side and the British flag on the other side. I like blue, so there's a bit of blue on my helmet, with the yellow and pink as well, just to make it stand out a little more as they're striking colours."
"I like the colour pink, I like to wear it, but it's not like there's some meaning to it.
I used this helmet because I could not use the other one, the one I had been using in karting. I liked that graphic more to be honest. But I like the colors and the overall feeling to it, even though it has not a meaning."
"My helmet is basically blue and white, which of course is the Finnish flag. I asked on Instagram to my followers what should I have as a colour and as a design and people suggested me the Finnish colours. I'm a person who likes it really simple, so my helmet is quite simple. There's some matte white and then some shiny blue on it. Simple and beautiful."
"My helmet design is brand new, as you might have seen in the last couple of races. I race with my favourite colour which is Ferrari red. Ferrari has been my favourite brand since forever and already my bobby-car was red when I was 1 or 2 years old.
Then, I switched from golden to silver, same as the car that I race in the Ferrari Challenge and they were the colours of the team Octane126. Since it is a carbon helmet, I also left some carbon visible."
"Since I was 5 years old, I always carry a small butterfly with me, it's like my lucky item.
In Japan, my team is Honda. My sponsor's colours are mainly red and blue, so that's why my butterfly is red and blue.
Also, my favourite colour is purple: when I was in high-school, I always wore purple. I like it, and of course purple is also the mix of red and blue!
So there are the big wings on the side of my helmet, there are some reference to Japan and above there is the world, as I've traveled the world with W-Series."
"As I was growing up I always had a thing for having a star on my helmet, so that's why the side of it features the big star. I've got the rainbow at the back for the LGBTQ community, the Yorkshire rose obviously, and then I've just added a cartoon elephant for my mum and a cartoon white tiger for my fiancee, and there's also my fiancee name at the top.
I've got a few bits and pieces that means something to me, but apart from that I kept the colours basic. It's been a while since I had a painted helmet, so I wanted to make it special."
"I've chosen white and gold as colours for my helmet because they're very pure colours: I like to bring the idea of purity in a world like motorsport and also because it's the feeling you have when you're in the car and you're going fast: it's the feeling of purity and perfection. I chose two colours that I felt represented me. On the side I have a stylized "V" in gold and on the back there's written "My Way", which is about the Frank Sinatra song.
This song is about my bond with my father and it gives me a boost during negative moments. It reminds me that I can go on in "my way".
I chose a very simple graphic because I like that people can immediately tell it apart and know that's me. Next year I'll have a very similar one but with minor changes: it'll always be white and gold, it's super cool. I can't wait to use it, but I kept it for next year."
"I actually designed the helmet a few years ago and kept the same sort of design and changed it a bit every time. I started off with a blue one, then I went for an orange one, a red one and then the last two have had pink, as I decided to be a little bit more girly I think.
The Garfield on the back of my helmet actually comes from my dad: when I was younger he used to call me "fat cat", so that's where it comes from.
Basically I've gone from one design to the next, just sort of upgrading it, but I kept the basic design the same."
"I've had my helmet colours since a young age with the same design. I'm not too sure where the design came from, it was really simple to begin with and the it's been an evolution from each version, since day one. My colours have always been pink, black, white and grey; not really too much change to that, just a bit of evolution to each other to get a little bit more funky every time."
"I like the yellow and the orange, they're colours that I always had on my helmet and I like it to be bright as people could really see me well in the car and see it in the mirror so.
I would love to have more chrome on it. The key figure I have it's the binary code on the side of it, which is my racing number in binary. And then I have a female symbol on the front of it. It's actually my own version that I sketched of the female symbol, so I always have it on the front of my helmet."
Ph credits: Racers-BehindTheHelmet.com