When I was in Germany last week I was lucky enough to meet Jens Munser at his studio. For those who don’t know who he is, he paints and designs helmets for Alonso, Schumacher, Webber, Rosberg, Massa, Ricciardo, JEV and of course he’s known for being behind Sebastian Vettel’s 54 helmets.
You can read the interview I wrote up here – http://www.redbull.com/en/motorsports/f1/stories/1331579592071/-racing-isn-t-just-a-sport-it-s-a-show-
But I wanted to share a bit more with fellow F1 Fanatics.
I was interested to know how much input Vettel actually had in his designs. Jens gives him a long list of ideas and Vettel decides which ones he likes. Then they present a mock-up design to him before it’s made. The only time Vettel was left in the dark was at the British Grand Prix this year when he asked for his helmet to be designed by the mechanics, so Jens kept it a secret from him until the race. This design featured a German flag that was being covered up with a Union Flag.
The craziest helmet I saw was this one – http://www.telly.com/67YOJ (That Keith shared on Twitter a few days back) This wouldn’t pass FIA safety regs though and I imagine it would be quite off putting for the other drivers! The Singapore helmet (that’s the one that had the LED lights on) was fascinating. A small battery is placed in the neck part, which doesn’t effect safety regulations. I found out that the helmet actually reacts to vibrations, so that’s probably why it flashed so much in Singapore, the idea came from his son who had a bouncy ball that flashed when it bounced. He was also pretty worried that this helmet would interfere with the radio, so he had to do quite a lot of tests.
Vettel’s helmet design before he signed for Red Bull featured the crab from the Little Mermaid (called Sebastian) but I don’t think he’ll be using that if he leaves Red Bull! It’ll be interesting to see what he does.
He designed Schumacher’s helmet from about 2001 onwards. Apparently Michael told him that he didn’t want the German flag on it any more as everyone now knew he was German, so after a few changes it was scrapped completely.
One nice thing was that he was very honest and knew that people didn’t like what he was doing, as most people like to see a driver keep the same helmet throughout their career but his argument was that it’s one of the rare chances for a driver to show their personality nowadays.
Here are my photos including some of the helmets being painted – http://www.redbull.com/en/motorsports/f1/stories/1331579592309/behind-the-scenes-at-jmd
I spent most of the day with Jens and we chatted for quite a long time, so if you have any questions I’ll do my best to answer.
Thought you guys might find this an interesting topic :)