Why Do F1 Drivers Wear Balaclavas?

Published 12/17/2020, 11:49 PM EST
Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – December 5, 2020 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates after qualifying in third position Pool via REUTERS/Tolga Bozoglu

F1 is a fierce race that is intensely competitive and also extremely dangerous. Further, it tests the speed and strategy of every racer. However, Accidents are inevitable at times. Hence, there is a certain protection kit for it to help the driver out alive.


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The engineers craft the balaclava with two layers of Nomex. Subsequently, it is a fireproof material, and it protects the racer’s face from the fire. Further, there are two types of balaclavas, the more protective eye hole ones, and the more open face ones. The balaclavas are not facemasks but fireproof attire.

Refueling an F1 vehicle is evidently a dangerous task. Subsequently, moving a profoundly combustible fluid around rapidly near extremely high temperate things is absolutely not safe. Further, the refueling of the cars between the races is not under the FIA rules anymore.


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Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 12, 2020 Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the garage before practice FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

The pit crew members, much the same as the drivers, wear defensive apparel. Further, their suits are heatproof too. Most of the locations for the Grand Prix has a warm environment. Since the cockpit runs at a high speed, the fuel and friction further heat the cockpit, making it volatile.

In the present-day where mid-race refueling stands out of the question, pit groups still wear security gear. From protective caps, security goggles, flame-resistant suits, and gloves, they cover themselves from head-to-toe during races. The pit teams wear the same fire-resistant apparel as the F1 drivers during the racing session.

The F1 Safety Norms for all

The helmets of the racers are the most important wear in the kit. They are made of exceptionally tough material to withstand heavy accidents. Furthermore, the helmets are crafted of exactly the perfect fit of the driver’s head.  The visors attached to the helmets also reduces disturbances while racing.

racers further wear a set of earplugs to avoid the screeching loud noises while racing that can distract them. Following that, on top of it, they wear balaclavas. The balaclavas play an important part in the entire attire. In a fire break out during an accident, the fire-resistant balaclavas play the most protective role for the head.

Further, in contrast to the drivers, the pit team is regularly just observed completely outfitted during the race itself.  Pit crew members wear fire-resistant suits and the balaclava during the racing session. It is for their safety, who handles the car in the pit. However, modern F1 cockpits are more strong and built with higher technology.  Further, it can absorb force in case of an accident and keep the driver safe.

The F1 Balaclavas and Kit Helps During Crashes

First-lap crashes aren’t that abnormal in the game, dissimilar to what occurred straightaway. The Sakhir Grand Prix incident this season proved how effective the present protective kit is.  The F1 cockpits had scarcely made it 33% of the route around the track. However, the warning carried a transitory end to this current week’s Sakhir Grand Prix.

On the weekend at Bahrain, the beginning of the race was subsequently problematic. In the turn three the Haas VF-20 driver, Romain Grosjean went off-track to a side and resulted in a dreadful accident.

Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – December 3, 2020 Haas’ Romain Grosjean arrives to thank marshals ahead of the Sakhir Grand Prix REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

In the wake of hitting the guardrail at about 137mph (220km/h), Grosjean’s vehicle tore fifty-fifty and afterward burst into flares. It was something that hasn’t occurred for over 30 years.


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To exacerbate the situation, the front half infiltrated between the guardrails that lined this segment of the track. As accidents go, this one was more suggestive of the terrible past times of F1. Accidents of this sort led to the death of a driver like Roger Williamson. However, Grosjean bravely fought out his way from the cockpit. He survived the crash with minimal injuries.

He had burnt in his hands, however, his head and entire body suffered no injuries. This portrayed the effectiveness of the balaclavas and the suits in the F1 kit.


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Debarati Saha

42 articles

Debarati Saha is an F1 and NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing English Honours from Calcutta University, she is an avid fan of Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher.