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Vergne’s tribute tops Monaco helmet-fest

23 May 2013

The spate of special Monaco helmet designs showed no sign of slowing down as opening practice approached in the Principality, but one stood out from the crowd.

While the majority of the field produced one-off livery changes to mark F1's annual trip to the tortuous street circuit, Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne unveiled a throwback design in honour of late French legend Francois Cevert.

No stranger to 'tribute' helmets – he wore Jean Alesi's colours on his F1 debut in Monaco last season – Vergne admitted that he wanted to be different to his rivals.

"I do not want to do like everyone else and come with a shiny foil helmet for Monaco," he explained on his official website, "It's more symbolic to have this helmet, which I personally find very beautiful tribute to François Cevert. For me, this driver is the belle époque of F1."

Cynics will note that Vergne's gesture coincides with the publication of a book detailing Cevert's life, but it also comes 40 years to the weekend from one of the Frenchman's stand-out performances.

As well as the various helmets unveiled early on Wednesday, Sebastian Vettel – as expected – Romain Grosjean, Jules Bianchi and Paul di Resta all revealed redesigns, while others noted that they had added Monaco 'tweaks' for the weekend. Adrian Sutil, meanwhile, has added the Uruguayan flag to his regular design in honour of his father, and says the change will stay on board for the rest of the season.

Kimi Raikkonen is understood to be sporting another James Hunt replica, following a successful foray into history last year, while Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean has opted for a patriotic red, white and blue affair in honour of the closest race to his native France. Bianchi's new look includes what appears to be an atomic structure on the top, while di Resta has gone for various shades of red instead of his usual multi-hued design.

Most intriguingly, however, is Vettel's move to follow in the footsteps of Rubens Barrichello and incorporate heat-sensitivity into his Monaco 'special'. While the livery focuses on some of Monaco's historic moments, it also includes a 1960s pin-up girl on the back, complete with a swimsuit painted with black Themolack that becomes transparent when it gets warm...


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