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How Are F1 Helmets Made? What Role Do They Play in Races?

Somin Bhattacharjee

How Are F1 Helmets Made? What Role Do They Play in Races?

F1 is one of the most popular sports in the world. Since it was first introduced in 1950, F1 has gone through several changes and the sport is completely unrecognizable today when one compares it to its early days. One of the most important changes brought about has been on the safety front, with introduction of modern F1 helmets.

Safety has always been of the utmost priority in a sport that is so dangerous. Earlier, the safety standards of the cars were not optimal and drivers wore helmets that barely protected their heads in case of a crash. However, as the sport evolved, so did the safety standards.

F1 cars became faster over the years, and cars today regularly travel at speeds over 200 mph. At that speed, the thought of a driver being in the cockpit of a car without a race helmet is almost unfathomable. It’s the most basic piece of accessory, that acts as the first line of defense, in case they suffer a crash.

Every single F1 driver today, has an helmet that they design according to their choice and likings, and fans find them very cool, but what are these helmets? What are they made of and what role do they exactly play in the races?

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What are F1 helmets made of?

Most of the helmets which drivers wear today are carbon-fiber helmets. There are 17 layers in those helmets, and the big shell we see on the outside has a big layer of high-density foam. The outer structure, that is the carbon fiber surface is very rigid, so the chances of them cracking are very less.

The inner layer includes a softer form of foam. This has been designed in a such way so that the drivers feel comfortable while wearing them for long hours, and to ensure that they fit their head properly. On the low exterior of these helmets, there are chin straps which are tightened so that the helmet is held in place.

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What role does wearing helmets play in races?

The outer layer of high density foam on an F1 helmet plays a huge role in saving a driver’s life in the unfortunate case of them suffering an accident. This foam lining, absorbs most of the strike and evenly spreads it out.

This layer plays a vital role in ensuring the safety of the driver. After the outer layer is made, the F1 teams customize the inner layer using a complete laser scan of the driver’s head.

How safe are F1 helmets?

Like all other components of an F1 car, an F1 helmet also undergoes a series of tests before it is deemed safe. According to the FIA, it is mandatory that 5kgs of steel anvils are dropped from a height of 3.3m. 

For a helmet to pass the safety test, the helmet has to show that they can protect drivers from a similar impact. The rules also state that the outer part of the helmet may be dented, but the inside should be the same.

Over the years, the introduction of F1 helmets have saved the lives of many drivers, who could have suffered fatal injuries if this aspect of the sport was not given much attention.

About the author

Somin Bhattacharjee

Somin Bhattacharjee


Somin Bhattacharjee is an F1 editor at The SportsRush and has written more than 2000 articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and considers sports to be a part of his life. Somin has been a fan of Scuderia Ferrari since 2010 and his favorite driver is none another than the legendary Fernando Alonso. Other than longing for a Ferrari Championship win once again, Somin spends his free time playing football and basketball.

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