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Drivers forced to stick to one helmet design

ESPN Staff
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The FIA is planning to ban changes to helmet designs this year, forcing F1 drivers to stick to a single design for the course of the season to make it easier for fans to identify their heroes on track.

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In recent years several drivers have changed their helmet colours and designs from race to race, but according to a report on Autosport.com they will now have to choose one design and stick to it for a whole season. The decision was taken at an F1 Commission meeting on Tuesday but still needs to be ratified by the FIA's World Motor Sport Council ahead of the start of the season.

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel is best known for switching between designs, often using more than one per grand prix weekend. However, even before news of the new rule, he had made clear his intention to stick to his new white helmet now he is a Ferrari driver.

One-off or novelty designs have become the norm at races such as Monaco and drivers have also used their helmets to mark milestones in their careers. At the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen wore the helmet design of James Hunt while Jean-Eric Vergne paid tribute to compatriots Jean Alesi and Francois Cevert with replica helmets in recent years.

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Off-beat designs have included Tonio Liuzzi's chalkboard helmet at the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix (right) and Romain Grosjean's tribute to Friends star Matt le Blanc at the 2014 US GP.

The issue created some debate on social networking website Twitter, with ex-F1 driver Alex Wurz saying it imposed too much control over drivers' individuality.

Mark Webber pointed out that F1 currently has "bigger issues" for the FIA to deal with, making reference to Force India's absence at the first pre-season test earlier this month.