Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat was understandably miffed when FIA forbade him from using a special helmet livery design for the Russian Grand Prix 2019. Apparently, the issue stemmed from the Italian Grand Prix when he used a different colour scheme to celebrate Toro Rosso’s home race.
Kvyat hoped to race with a new colour scheme for his home race, complete with a white, red and blue design. Unfortunately, he had already played the second special helmet card in Monza.
So, ahead of the weekend the FIA told Kvyat that he was not granted permission to wear the new helmet. They even explained that since he raced in Italy with a different design, that was counted as the single permitted change.
According to Article 9.1 of F1’s Sporting Regulations, “In order for drivers to be easily distinguished from one another whilst they are on the track, the crash helmet of each driver must, with the exception of one Event of the driver’s choice, be presented in substantially the same livery at every Event during a Championship season.
“A change to helmet livery will also be permitted if a driver changes team during a Championship season.”
The dumb helmet rule is what happens when the FIA react to fan chat rather than focussing on proper issues. It all came from people complaining about Vettel changing his helmet every weekend "because helmets should be iconic like Senna's."
— Tom Bellingham (@TommyWTF1) September 27, 2019
One loophole is when drivers can run the same overall design with different colours. It was also worth noting that back in his Red Bull days, Sebastian Vettel was notorious for changing helmets. So, this new change is sometimes dubbed the Sebastian Vettel rule.
For the Russian Grand Prix 2019, Kvyat wanted to change his helmet’s base colour to white. However, when he submitted the plans to F1 race director Michael Masi, he was told that the change was too much.
So, Kvyat was forced to use his regular helmet design for FP1 of the Russian Grand Prix 2019.
“The rule says, that there is one [extra] helmet you can use per year, which I didn’t know about,” Kvyat said. “It is a good helmet. I hope you saw it. I put it there in the garage, just to show it to everyone.”
“It is a joke. But anyway. The rule is a rule. We’ll see. Maybe I will use it tomorrow. I still don’t know what the consequences could be. But to be honest, there are bigger problems to focus than a helmet design of a driver, I guess.”
“It is something a bit different, but simple at the same time. [I’m] very happy with design.”