The many helmets of Sebastian Vettel

F1 pictures

For many racing drivers their helmet design is a fixed part of their identity. But for the current world champion that identity is ever-changing.

Since he first appeared in F1 in 2006 Sebastian Vettel has used over 50 different helmet designs. He even had a special design to mark the appearance of his 50th style in Italy last year.

Vettel’s passion for different helmet designs started at a young age, according to his helmet designer Jens Munser. “He was eight years old and he wanted the crab from The Little Mermaid on it, which was called Sebastian too.”

Munser has typically produced a new design following each of Vettel’s 26 Grand Prix wins so far. And he also uses special designs for some races.

At Singapore last year Vettel raced with a unique flashing helmet, with LEDs used to represent stars and constellations. This gave Munser a few headaches.

“I was worried it might interfere with the radio. I was hoping the battery would last, it?s a long race, nearly two hours. It was amazing when he won the race, he was greeting the fans and the helmet was still flashing.”

The Singapore helmet and the rest of Vettel’s F1 designs can be seen in the gallery below. But expect it to be out of date soon after the 2013 season starts…

Pictures: Sebastian Vettel’s F1 helmet designs

This is the first helmet Vettel used in F1 while participating in practice sessions for BMW in 2006.

Sebastian Vettel helmet design, BMW, 2006

2009 Chinese Grand Prix

Vettel sported this design when he scored his second career win and first for Red Bull.

Sebastian Vettel helmet design, Red Bull, 2009 Chinese Grand Prix

2009 Singapore Grand Prix

Vettel has always used a new helmet design for the Singapore Grand Prix. This one from 2009 also appeared in Brazil and Abu Dhabi that year.

Sebastian Vettel helmet design, Red Bull, 2009 Singapore Grand Prix

2010 British Grand Prix

Several of Vettel’s helmet designs have included references to his mechanics, such as this one from Silverstone in 2010.

Sebastian Vettel helmet design, Red Bull, 2010 British Grand Prix

2010 Japanese Grand Prix

Suzuka is Vettel’s favourite track – in his four appearances there he has won three times and never failed to start from pole position. His 2010 helmet incorporated the Japanese flag.

Sebastian Vettel helmet design, Red Bull, 2010 Japanese Grand Prix

2011 Monaco Grand Prix

A retro design from Monte-Carlo in 2011, when he scored his only victory in the principality to date.

Sebastian Vettel helmet design, Red Bull, 2011 Monaco Grand Prix

2011 Indian Grand Prix

Another of Vettel’s team-orientated designs from the first Indian Grand Prix in 2011

Sebastian Vettel helmet design, Red Bull, 2011 Indian Grand Prix

2012 Italian Grand Prix

Vettel marked his 50th different helmet design at the 2012 Italian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel helmet design, Red Bull, 2012 Italian Grand Prix

2012 United States Grand Prix

Vettel’s most recent new design was this Texas-themed one for the first race at the Circuit of the Americas last year.

Sebastian Vettel helmet design, Red Bull, 2012 United States Grand Prix

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Images ?? BMW, Red Bull/GEPA, Red Bull/Getty

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69 comments on The many helmets of Sebastian Vettel

  1. BradFerrari (@brad-ferrari) said on 15th January 2013, 12:28

    Love them all. :)

  2. sumedh said on 15th January 2013, 13:02

    Purists might disagree but I like how Vettel emphasizes his team effort at almost every moment and through his helmet. I think it is important for a driver to always encourage the team and say nice things about them in F1. Something Hamilton should learn when he goes to Mercedes.

    • Sebas (@seabass) said on 15th January 2013, 13:40

      Yeah, I’d rather have he not change his helmets. I grew up with the distinct helmets of Hill, Coulthard, Villeneuve and Barrichello, and it’s awesome to see those designs in old replays. But I like that Vettel also has designs which honor his team crew, great attitude.
      But fair is fair, I really, really like his 2011 Suzuka helmet, which is way better than a boring standard issue Red Bull helmet. To each is his own I guess.

    • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 15th January 2013, 13:42

      Agree. What a great way to say thanks to the team by writing their names on the helmet or putting their pics in there! For his fans (me included) it’s like you’re waiting what new designs will be created. I must admit i don’t like some of them, but some are great (one of my favorites is the 2-stars design for korea

  3. celeste (@celeste) said on 15th January 2013, 14:15

    I like that he change helmets, and I feel disapointed when he doesn´t do it. Japan, Singapore and Monaco have nice desing. If I were to choose maybe Singapore 2012, Silverstone 2011, Monaco 2011 will be my fovorites…

  4. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 15th January 2013, 14:25

    At first it annoyed me, but I do like his changing helmet designs now. Munser seems to stick to the same basic layout and then fiddles with the colours to create another unique design, quite cool really. I buy the argument for drivers keeping the same design and “creating an identity”, but by changing his lids so often Vettel has actually created his own identity but not having one! I quite like seeing what he comes up with at each race.

    Seeing all these designs also leads me to a gripe I have with Red Bull: We know that certain drivers are supported by Red Bull because they often pop up in cars that are painted predominantly in Red Bull colours (in f1 and in Junior fomulae). But what I hate is how they force tehir drivers to give so much space on their lids to Red Bull branding, giving the driver so little space to play with. The result is generic designs which you can’t tell apart (Alguersuari and Buemi anyone) and it sometimes (in Coulthard and Webber’s cases) ruins simple classic helmet designs. These two pictures show how the Red Bull branding can be fiddled with to freshen it up. I wish they would, I’m so sick of the “can design” now…it’s getting old and for a brand which is so keen to be on the cutting edge, that can’t be good.

    • Tomcat173 (@tomcat173) said on 15th January 2013, 22:45

      @geemac I agree with what you’re saying about Vettel creating his own identity by changing dhelmet designs so often.

      That only works though because most other drivers tend to keep their designs the same, aside for some ‘special’ races. If every driver changed helmets all the time then it would be really annoying to not be able to tell drivers apart. When a Red Bull is on the screen you can only pick whether you’re looking at Vettel or Webber based on whether its Webber’s consistent yellow/red/blue design or the random design from Seb (you can also tell by Seb usually being out in front), but you get my point.

  5. V. Chris (@vasschu) said on 15th January 2013, 14:31

    I’d like to see Vettels helmet with the crab from The Little Mermaid.

  6. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th January 2013, 14:34

    Having spent rather a long time looking at all these designs I’m surprised to find there aren’t many I dislike. That Bahrain ’09 one’s a bit garish but most of them are pretty good.

    He seemed to have some particularly decent ones in 2011: His Monaco, Canada, Italy and Singapore helmets from that year all look good to me.

    • tmax (@tmax) said on 15th January 2013, 16:53

      @keithcollantine I Agree. The Singapore 2012 looks stunning so is the Texas 2012 giving a pure Wild Wild West Flavor.

      BTW thanks for keeping giving the spirits alive during the cold winter break of F1.

    • George (@george) said on 15th January 2013, 18:30

      I have to agree Keith. I’ve never noticed before, having not seen them all together, but they are all great artistically. I wonder if he’ll do an exhibition of them after he retires.

      • @george

        I wonder if he’ll do an exhibition of them after he retires.

        You’ll need an entire art gallery by the time he retires at the rate he’s changing them! If we go by the current rate of a new helmet every 2 weekends, with 20 races per season for 10 seasons that’s another 100 helmets to add to the 50+ he already has!

        I agree though, there are some real gems in there: I particularly like his 2011 Japanese GP one and actually his 2011 Singapore GP for the psychedelic colour scheme!

    • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 15th January 2013, 21:52

      Cool post Keith, nice to see all the helmets together.

      I think people need to start getting over the fact that Vettel changes his design, you still get commentators moaning at the start of every practice session.

      The silliest thing I heard is that Vettel can never been a legend or idol because he doesn’t have a helmet design. Ummm, what? You telling me Rossi isn’t idolised in MotoGP. I think people are too quick to assume that every driver must be like Senna.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th January 2013, 23:04


        you still get commentators moaning at the start of every practice session.

        Yeah we’ve had colour-coded T-bars for years now and that’s by far the easiest way to tell two drivers in the same team apart most of the time (admittedly not from the onboard camera itself!) so I see no need for those kind of complaints any more.

  7. Dan (@danb) said on 15th January 2013, 14:41

    China 2009 he won in a white helmet with black flowers on it (the one labelled as Malaysia 2009). Confusing because he often wears two or three across a weekend, but he took the flag in the white design.

  8. I know people complain about drivers changing helmets all the time but I enjoy Vettel’s designs

  9. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 15th January 2013, 15:02

    They’re all really nice, except for this earlier BMW helmets, they’re a bit boring.

    But it’s a bit of overkill really. lol
    I mean, he’s winning at such a high percentage that he’s gonna have a new helmet for a good portion of the season, and then on top of that, he gets special helmets for the special races. So he’s pretty much going to have a new helmet for every GP. ahaha.

    Still, i bet Jens Munser isn’t complaining. Plenty of work for him. ahah

  10. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 15th January 2013, 15:13

    My favourites are Singapore 2009, Singapore 2010, Monaco 2011 Korea 2011 and Germany 2012.

    I think it’s great that Seb has such unique and varied designs and a different one at almost every race. However, I definitely wouldn’t like it if the rest of the field decided to do the same! Every once in a while, like Alonso’s Gold Monaco helmet or glitter-effect Singapore helmet are as far as most drivers should go.

  11. Gabriel (@naylamp) said on 15th January 2013, 15:45

    At this point, I don’t remember his default helmet.

  12. AndrewT (@andrewt) said on 15th January 2013, 16:32

    i used to like when once in a while, once in a year, for a special occasion, a driver appears with a different helmet style that he usually wears. home grand prix, jubilee, other events. this way the default helmet is well known, and specials ones are well remembered. i don’t say that i don’t like what Vettel does with his helmets, i’s rather say that i can’t find if fascinating or interesting. there are a couple of his helmets that are visually appealing, period. most of his helmet designs pretty much looks alike, so nothing really special in them. it’s a nice gesture towards team. i also wonder, did he have an own helmet design before he joined Red Bull?

  13. DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 15th January 2013, 16:59

    Shame most of them are ruined by the massive Red Bull logo and yellow circle he probably has to have on them.

  14. filippo (@filippo-vettel) said on 15th January 2013, 18:50

    OMG this link is my youp0rn!!!
    I’m addicted to!!!
    Vettel I love you!!!

  15. Brace (@brace) said on 15th January 2013, 19:07

    Most of these could be used as an example of clutter and over-complexity, which makes everything look 10 times more amateurish.

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