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 But expect it to be out of date soon after the 2013 season starts…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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73 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.

    • 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

    • Charleston said on 19th July 2014, 17:30

      Hamilton always gives credit to his team you clown. He had a frayed business relationship with mclaren in the end but they still have a relationship like a family. He’ll always be part of mclaren. It’s Funny how you promote vettel as a “team guy” when he’s the worst in the grid in terms of attitude and team first mentality but You just couldn’t help yourself ripping on Hamilton, get a grip.

    • Charleston said on 19th July 2014, 17:31

      Hamilton always gives credit to his team, you goof. He had a frayed business relationship with mclaren in the end but they still have a relationship like a family. He’ll always be part of mclaren. It’s Funny how you promote vettel as a “team guy” when he’s the worst in the grid in terms of attitude and team first mentality but You just couldn’t help yourself ripping on Hamilton, get a grip.

  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…

    • Klaas (@klaas) said on 15th January 2013, 14:44

      Well his helmets are quite a piece of art, but I don’t think many remember how his usual helmet looks like. I think he should keep bringing new helmet designs but also have a very distinctive usual helmet.
      I like how Valentino Rossi shows new helmets but only on special locations like his home races or when his favourite football team is playing in a big event but also keeps his distinctive design which all MotoGP followers know.
      I think Vettel finds too many occasions so a new design doesn’t get so ‘special’ anymore.

  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.

    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2013/01/15/helmets-sebastian-vettel/spanish-f1-grand-prix-qualifying-33/

    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2013/01/15/helmets-sebastian-vettel/canadian-f1-grand-prix-qualifying-29/

    • 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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th January 2013, 14:35

      @vasschu Yeah me too!

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 15th January 2013, 15:19

      +1

      • tmax (@tmax) said on 15th January 2013, 16:50

        +1 Me too.

        Since it is Disney character From a practicality stand point , I think they might have to get Disney’s approval before doing so in case if they are going for it. Not a bad idea for Disney too making use of the the Name and the branding. Good Publicity. Maybe in 2013 US GP helmet design. I guess Disney is not an F1 sponsor still so there is a room for that.

        • celeste (@celeste) said on 15th January 2013, 17:51

          @tmax Sebastian did the voice of one of Cars 2 characters… and they made him a cute little video for congratulation after his 2011 championship… so ility maybe it is a posibility but with Pixar

          • tmax (@tmax) said on 16th January 2013, 0:48

            @celeste Oh I didn’t know that . thanks . are you referring to the German version of cars 2 . I thought in the English version only Lewis was present from the current grid.

            BTW Thanks for sharing the video. Never saw that before. Now I can see even more possibility of the crab climbing on to the helmet :)

  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

        @tommyb89

        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. Michael Brown (@) said on 15th January 2013, 14:55

    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.

  16. He was eight years old and he wanted the crab from The Little Mermaid on it, which was called Sebastian too.

    So Jens Munser was his helmet designer since he was eight years old?! Did Vettel grow up in a fairly well of family or has he been receiving backing from such a young age? I would think that someone of Mr. Munsers reputation would be quite costly…

    • off*

      • celeste (@celeste) said on 15th January 2013, 20:34

        @dpod well his father is a carpenter, but I don´t think they were rich, but I don´t think a simple crab will be that expensive, after all it was a kart helmet not an F1 one… but I have no idea how much they cost…

        • tmax (@tmax) said on 16th January 2013, 1:16

          yeah I knew the fact that his dad was a carpenter . he has managed to keep his private life private so far. even after so much limelight on him.

          I guess when Seb was 8, Jens Munser might not have been famous as he is today. He might have been Seb or his dad’s friend from the same town or region . that might explain the ease with which Seb could walk up to him and ask for the crab on the helmet !!!!!

    • http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/groups/f1/forum/topic/a-chat-with-helmet-painter-jens-munser/#post-82806
      “The crab thing was pretty funny. Jens actually designed this helmet for Seb when he was 8 as word around Germany was that he was going to be the next Michael Schumacher. Looks like they were right…”

    • has he been receiving backing from such a young age?

      Pretty much. There’s a photo around of an eight-year old Vettel receiving a karting trophy from (then two time WDC) Michael Schumacher. By the age of 11 he was signed to the Red Bull junior team. The parallels between Vettel and Hamilton are striking – and strikingly unknown among most F1 fans.

  17. Nick.UK (@) said on 15th January 2013, 19:45

    Silverstone 2010 is perhaps the only one I like.

    I don’t necessarily mean that I dislike all the others. Just that I don’t particularly care for them one way or the other.

  18. http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/2009-14-sing-2-e1358253359716-208×117.jpg

    Man I had to look twice at this pic. I thought he was showiing the middle finger on this pic…

  19. Lewis Glover said on 15th January 2013, 22:44

    The only reason he changes his helmet after every Grand Prix victory is so that in twenty years time he can say that “that was the helmet I used to win X grand prix” which in turn will make it unique and therefore more valuable… he’s just making sure he has a nice retirement fund.

    • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 27th January 2013, 21:42

      That’s a bit shallow isn’t it?
      As a karter, I enjoyed the moment when the helmet came out of the box and there was a fresh design on it, and maybe Vettel likes it, and seeing as he can afford it, why not?
      It also keeps Jens Munser in business, so that can only be a good thing as well

  20. James_mc (@james_mc) said on 16th January 2013, 0:08

    On reflection, some are quite good.

    However I really struggled with the “commemorating 50 helmet designs” one. It’s a bit like the Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton of the helmet world – famous for being famous (or in the case of the helmet – a new design to commemorate new designs… :-/)

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