Check Out The Tough New Helmet Being Rolled Out In Formula One

The FIA may have instituted the “halo” protection device in F1 (and an array of other single-seater formulae), but the cockpit remains largely open. That leaves the helmet as arguably the most important safety feature protecting drivers in grand-prix racing. And now the motorsport governing body is introducing a new design that aims to offer an even higher standard of safety.

The result of over a decade of research with leading manufacturers like Bell, Stilo, Schuberth, and Arai, the new FIA 8860-2018 helmet standard promises better ballistic protection, energy absorption, and overall coverage. It was introduced yesterday at the FIA Sport Conference, held ahead the World Motor Sport Council meeting currently taking place in Pasay City on the outskirts of Manilla in the Philippines.

The helmet’s designed to withstand impact at 9.5 meters per second and 275 Gs of deceleration. It can deflect a 225-gram (half-pound) metal projectile at up to 250 km/h (155 mph), a 10-kilo (22-pound) weight falling from over five meters (16 feet), a 1.2-gram pellet fired from an air rifle at the visor, and a flame burning at 790 degrees Celsius (1,454 degrees Fahrenheit) – not name just a few of the rigorous new standards.

“The current top-end helmets are already the safest in the world but the new standard will take them to the next level,” said FIA safety director Laurent Mekies. “It is important for all of our safety research that we continually strive to improve and this is why we are requiring all manufacturers to meet this tougher standard for our championships.”

The new helmets will be mandatory in Formula One starting next season, and will then proliferate into other championships regulated by the FIA.


  • Mind Synthetic

    can you even see out of it? at first i thought it was one of these medieval helmets

    • Perry F. Bruns

      NONE shall pass!

  • Auf Wiedersehen

    I think this is all well and good for penetrating the helmet but do all these specs take into account the results of the mass, of any of the heavy objects mentioned, using the human head to slow their momentum? For instance, take the half pound metal projectile travelling at, let’s just say 100mph, hitting the head of a driver traveling 150mph. Sure it may not penetrate the helmet, but what about the impact and the head taking the inertia? As they say, it’s not a fall that kills people, it the sudden stop. I know the inside is padded, so that likely absorbs some of it…but.

    I’m sure there are much smarter people than me doing this work, but it seems like they are focused on penetrating the helmet. Which is not a bad thing of course…just makes me think.

    • DMax

      That’s what the HANS device is for and has been used for years.

      • Auf Wiedersehen

        I’m not talking about the movement of the head and neck, as the real reason for the HANS device is to prevent the head from being whipped and hitting something stationary in the car. I’m talking about the impact of a 100mph object to the head. Sure with the helmet it likely will not penetrate but you still have the impact transferred to the head through the helmet.

  • SteersUright

    Awesome. I hope they sell these to the public for general racing as well.

    • Vassilis

      They will, they’re all retail helmets. It’s just that the top spec ones cost around €5000. The non-carbon ones should be much cheaper. Maybe around 800.

  • Six_Tymes

    always good to see new safety for the drivers

  • Bob

    Man. The comments here are one of the reasons I come back to this site. I think I’ve grown quite a soft spot for you guys.

  • Mark Seven-Ultranine

    I think this helmet looks awesome! Looks old school, shades of James Hunt!

  • Moveon Libtards

    Bell, a truly great American company. Glad to see them being chosen for F1.

  • Vassilis

    Love those developments. Great stuff!

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