I've always been fascinated by the world of custom-painted Formula 1 racing helmets. These high-tech safety devices for your noggin can cost as much as a new Honda Civic Type R once fully equipped with aero ducts, crash sensors, comms, and drink systems. F1 drivers then commission pricey paint jobs to represent whatever mood they're in on any given weekend, but none—or perhaps very few—as original as Valtteri Bottas' new helmet for the 2023 racing season.
The Finnish racer's new lid is equal parts creepy and original, but overall very freaking hilarious. As these images shared on Alfa Romeo's social media channels show, the design is a cartoon depiction of Bottas' head. That's right, it's a helmet that's sorta made to look like there's no helmet. Genius!
The design, which was masterminded by the driver's own girlfriend Tiffany Cromwell, is complete with Bottas' new signature mustache, mouth, scruffy beard, luscious blonde hair (part of a mullet), and, of course, two ears.
From afar it mostly looks tan and yellow, but it truly comes alive when you get a closer look. When Bottas isn't driving and his helmet is perched on its stand, however, it gets even better. A custom visor cover with Bottas' eyes and eyebrows sits over the eye-port, completing the full-face look and appearing like an actual head. It's bizarre and I can't look away.
When helmet designs make headlines nowadays it's often because of personal messaging related to politics, activism, or religion. And while I personally don't see the problem with that, it's also great to see a driver just having fun out there. After all, with Daniel Ricciardo no longer on the grid, someone's gotta take his place as the childish, spontaneous, and down-to-earth F1 racer everyone loves.
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