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Helmets in F1: The Yellowish Formula

893   //    06 Mar 2013, 12:25 IST

Surprisingly, many drivers in Formula One use yellow or partly yellow helmet today. Is this just some kind of coincidence, or are there any particular reasons for that? Drivers decide their own helmet designs, and every helmet has a story behind them. Why yellow? We are going to speculate next on what’s the meaning of yellowish color and what might be the reason for its popular use today.


If we look at the meaning of yellow color itself, its described as ‘the color of the mind and intellect, optimistic and cheerful’. Looking at these words, it makes a lot of sense. Optimism and, especially, intelligence are something that a racing driver needs – optimism as a positive thinking (with some realism, of course) and intelligence in what you are doing on the track and knowing when it’s the right time to attack, the right time to save tyres. Of course, only the color won’t bring these qualities for a driver who uses a yellow helmet, but this is the symbolism of yellow. Yellow is also a bright color, which is very easy to notice, especially when driving fast cars around the racing track.


One of the reasons for yellow’s popularity is also that in the history, there is a legendary, very respected and admired driver who used to have a yellow helmet – Ayrton Senna. Senna’s achievements, racing style and the way of being is something that drivers and fans look up to. Many people rank him as the best driver of all times. Lewis Hamilton, who is one of those today who uses a yellow helmet, has openly admitted that his helmet is kind of a tribute to his idol Senna (one of the other reasons being the fact that he used the yellow helmet to help his dad in identifying him on the track). Yellow seems to be very popular among drivers who grew up having Ayrton Senna as their idol. In the 2000’s and forward, yellow has turned into a more and more popular helmet color. Back in the 1990’s for example, there wasn’t that much yellow in use. It should also be noted that certain drivers have grown superstitious over the years, and are refusing to change their helmet shades as often as it was done in the yesteryears. Certain other drivers have contractual agreements in place with their sponsors, and changing the shades of their apparel will significantly hurt their finances. There seems to be too many strings (We are referring to the modern day contracts, among other things) attached to the attire of these drivers, which aren’t allowing them to refresh their appeal.

In the upcoming Formula 1 season, we might get a lot of confusion as both Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and his team mate Nico Rosberg, use a yellow helmet. Both of them have a slightly different shade of yellow and slightly different design, but this might be hard to realize on track. We need to take more attention to the camera color on their cars. In total, there will be at least 9 drivers who have a fully yellow or partly yellow helmet. The number is really big.

Will the color bring them good results? The season is just about to roll.

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