Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has confirmed the FIA will review the regulation limiting the number of helmet designs drivers can use each season for 2020.

Daniil Kvyat was prevented from running a new helmet design for his home grand prix in Russia last weekend after he was deemed to have already used his one ‘joker’ change for the season at the Italian Grand Prix.

Drivers are only allowed to make one “substantial” change to their design each year in order to aid recognition in the cockpit, with the rule limiting changes initially being introduced in 2015.

Kvyat called the ruling a “joke” and was supported by his peers during the drivers’ briefing on Friday, with many pointing out the regular changes Sebastian Vettel makes to his helmet design.

Asked by Crash.net to explain the decision, Masi said that he had stuck to the regulations after a request was made by Toro Rosso regarding the helmet design.

“I don’t think that Kvyat was picked out. The question was asked, if the helmet design is substantially similar, and the response was ‘no it’s not’,” Masi said.

“The team asked me if the design was in my view substantially similar, which I believe is the wording in the regulations. That’s where from my end, that’s what the regulation said when the question was asked.”

Masi confirmed that he had discussed the matter with the drivers in the briefing on Friday, and agreed to review the regulation for next season.

“I said to the drivers on Friday night that yes, it’s something we will look at, but there are a number of inputs. It is not just the FIA, it’s the F1 Group, we’ve also got broadcast media,” Masi said.

“It’s funny talking to some of the commentators about it. They said the reason why it was there was because of us, when we’re looking down, we know who is in the car. If we’ve got someone changing helmets all the time, we’ve actually got to think and look twice on who it is when we’re doing the live television broadcast.

“There were various reasons why it was brought it, and it’s one of those we’ve already spoken about, we discussed it on Friday night, and said let’s have a look at it.

“It would require a regulation change, is the simple part. There is your one joker per year that you’re allowed, and when the question is asked, the response is relatively black and white.”

Asked by Crash.net if all teams asked the FIA to approve helmet design changes, Masi replied “not necessarily”.

Masi also confirmed he had not received any requests from Red Bull over Max Verstappen’s helmet design changes this year, with the Dutchman appearing to have used at least three substantially different designs in 2019.

Kvyat said on Friday that he was considering still using his one-off design before ultimately sticking to his regular red-based helmet.

Masi said that any breach of the regulation would be referred to the FIA stewards, who would then decide on a sanction.

“I don’t apply the penalties. I’d refer it to the stewards if someone came up, I’d have to refer it to the stewards,” Masi said.

“It would be their determination of what would or wouldn’t happen.”

 

Comments

Loading Comments...