Gallery: Racing’s artist in residence


Meet Mike Fairholme, the man who has been painting crash helmets for 40 years, servicing more than 60 Grand Prix drivers and thousands of other racers, from the March issue of the magazine

Artistry on a racetrack. Traditionally it’s associated with such as Juan Manuel Fangio (the Nürburgring 1957, perhaps), Stirling Moss (Monaco 1961), Jim Clark (Monza 1967) or Ronnie Peterson (any time he negotiated the original Woodcote), but the concept has a more literal aspect.

It’s sometimes easy to forget, in an age when drivers’ personal trademarks lie buried beneath corporate logos, but crash helmets were once every bit as individual as the human within. Remember Innes Ireland’s chequered strip? Jackie Stewart’s similarly straightforward tartan? Those white-and-orange bands with a large JODY stamped below? The simple colour schemes that defined Hulme, Amon or Cevert, easily sketched on a school exercise book? Ayrton Senna’s dominant yellow?

Nowadays Formula 1 drivers are wont to make wholesale design changes from season to season, to tie in with team liveries, and the results are in any case harder to define from trackside thanks to steeply raked cockpit sides. Can anybody out there provide detailed descriptions of what Max Verstappen or Esteban Ocon wore in 2017, other than that one was mostly orange, the other pink – and that both differed significantly from what either had used the previous season?

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