Felipe Massa has taken advantage of the relaxed rule on crash helmet designs to carry images of his wife and children with him through the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.
After a season in which nay alteration to first race helmet liveries were banned, the FIA has lightened up a little and now allow drivers to make one change during the season, giving them free rein to produce 'specials' for Monaco or other significant rounds such as a home race.
In common with several of his rivals, Massa has decided to bring his change to the blue riband event in Monaco, completely changing his usual yellow, blue and green design for one featuring stylised images of his family. He is not alone this weekend, as Romain Grosjean is sporting a tribute to Jules Bianchi amongst elements of his more usual design, while Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas has incorporated a nod to Monaco's famous casino and Sebastian Vettel has achieved a full-on leather-look version of his regular Ferrari lid.
“They allow the drivers to use one per year which I think we have been asking since the whole season,” Massa explained, “I understand what Sebastian was doing was too much but, if you want to do something special once a year, I think it is totally nice and they accepted it.
“This [design is by] a very famous Brazilian graffiti artist and they became really famous, so they painted the helmet for me. I have also my son, my wife and a very special art that I will keep.”
Massa's change of helmet did not bring the Brazilian much luck at a circuit where fortune has often deserted him in the past, and he spent Thursday playing catch-up after an early meeting with the barriers at Ste Devote.
“It was definitely not a very good Friday [sic
],” he confirmed, inadvertently forgetting that Monaco practice kicks off a day earlier than any other race, “We had a crash in the first session which, in Monaco, can happen, especially when trying to find the limit of the track and the car, a dirty track. The guys did a fantastic job to put the car back on the track but then we were struggling a bit, so it was not a good Friday [sic
“When we see we are 14th and 16th, it is not really positive and we need to understand how to make the car quicker here and how to make the car better on slow corners, get better traction. We are struggling a bit [in] the slow corners. I would say the traction is a big point, but understanding the balance can definitely help, which is something we are doing. We are trying everything we can in the set up to see if the car works or not. It was not a good Friday [sic