24 September 2018 · Dennis Schmidt

The Inspiration Behind Sirotkin's Special Helmet

The 2018 Russian Grand Prix will be Sergey Sirotkin's first home race since joining Formula One with Williams. For this special occasion, the 23 year old driver from Moscow has launched a competition for a one-off helmet design which will be worn on the upcoming race weekend in Sochi. The contest's winner was German designer Andy Werner.

The name that might ring a bell for you – it hasn't been Andy's first win this year. At the beginning of the 2018 season, Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas launched a competition for his helmet design as well. It was also won by Andy.

Although designed by the same person, the helmet designs of Bottas and Sirotkin follow different philosophies. Sergey Sirotkin's special design shows a burst of diagonal thick red and thin light blue stripes that divide the white and blue areas of the helmet. It's a colour combination that just makes sense. White, blue and red are the colours of the Russian flag; blue and red are part of Martini's – Williams' main sponsor – legendary colour palette.

According to Andy Werner, the design is mainly inspired by Soviet architecture from the cold war era. While this might sound a bit Marxist, there's by no means a political reason behind that. It's the strict geometry that Andy admires about the style. “It was more about working with clear shapes and taking an alternative path with my design.”

This philosophy can also be found in the eye-catching artworks that Andy designed to present his helmet. In these, the influence of the concrete building block can be seen very clearly. In this context it also gets apparent that the diagonal red lines actually represent an angled view on the buildings of that era.
Further, these strictly geometric shapes blend in very well with the blocky cyrillic type Andy has chosen for his artwork.

In total, Andy submitted three designs. His winning entry was picked absolutely rightfully. Over the past two decades, helmet designs got increasingly complicated and nearly impossible to remember in detail. Simple approaches – like this one or Vettel's plain white helmet with the German flag – can rarely be seen but are a welcome change.

But what's more striking than Sirotkin's actual helmet is where it was derived from and how Andy translated this leitmotif into a very strong design that could easily become visual direction for an outstanding overall branding. Let's see if it's something Sergey Sirotkin will pick up on.

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About the author

Dennis Schmidt is a graphic and UI/UX designer as well as motor racing enthusiast from Hamburg, Germany.