Feb.20 (GMM) The new ban on helmet livery changes was actually a compromise measure, it emerged on Friday.
So far, news that drivers will be limited to just a single helmet livery per season has been highly controversial.
“I am a fan of consistency,” Grand Prix Drivers’ Association president Alex Wurz said, “but seriously! What’s next? Rules on haircut?”
Felipe Massa, however, is not sure what the fuss is about.
“The helmet is your second face,” said the Brazilian, who rarely races without his familiar dark blue and incandescent design.
“I don’t understand why you need to change it all the time.”
From now on, drivers will not be allowed to. Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport claims that the measure was a desperate attempt to make the drivers more easily recognisable from the grandstands and on television.
Reportedly, Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone pushed for bigger race numbers on the cars, only to be met with opposition from teams who argue the space is needed for sponsors.
FIA president Todt then proposed at the recent F1 Commission meeting that cars be mandatorily fitted with a large, Le Mans-style fin on the engine cover, making room for a big race number, driver name and nationality flag.
“The (race) organisers were delighted,” claimed correspondent Michael Schmidt. “But the teams again resisted, heeding the protests of their engineers.”
The helmet livery ban was Todt and Ecclestone’s compromise solution.
“I think the rule makes sense,” said F1 legend and Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda. “Sometimes I can’t recognise even my own drivers in the car.”