F1 Stealth Helmet

Driving Design with a Need for Speed

In 2007 the Design Institute of Australia and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation staged a unique exhibition of helmet designs from the top designers in Melbourne. To mark the occasion, in 2017 we revisited our original ideas and created fresh views of Cobalt’s concept that completely rethinks how a F1 helmet might be.

Our concept was based on wanting to connect fans with the drama felt by F1 drivers. To do this, we needed to see the Grand Prix driver’s face as openly as possible, meaning a radically larger visor.

Traditional F1 helmets have a relatively small visor due to the way they are fitted; squeezing over a driver’s head & ears through a single opening which then needs to be tightened with straps under the jaw and chin.

Cobalt’s Stealth Helmet twists this tradition; hinging open at the back to fit from behind the driver’s head, allowing a smaller opening with greater comfort around the jawline. The large rear-hinged visor tightly & securely locks the helmet into position around the driver’s head, and reduces the need for over-sizing. The result is a perfectly fitted helmet with a clear view of the driver’s face, allowing each clenched grimace and each steely reaction to be seen by millions of fans.

OBJECTIVES

  • Re-imagine Motorsport helmets
  • Consider the spectacle for TV viewers
  • Showcase Cobalt and DIA at a special exhibition at the Melbourne F1 GP

DESIGN ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Innovative front-entry system for a closer and safer fit
  • Streamlined, sleek design
  • Large open visor reveals driver’s reactions
  • Heat-mouldable inner foam lining to adapt to the driver’s head shape

COBALT TASKS

  • Industrial Design
  • Foam Form models
  • Surface CAD modelling
  • Rapid prototyping
  • CGI (Computer generated imagery)
  • Shannon Smith
  • Steve Martinuzzo
  • Lorrin Windahl
  • Simon Anderson
  • Daniel Booker
  • Jack Magree

Safety, Speed and Serious Design

Protecting the head requires an energy absorbing layer fitted as closely as possible to the wearer’s skull. To achieve a perfect fit, we based our concept on digitally scanning a driver’s head to perfectly mould the foam inside. For those who don’t have F1 budgets, however, heat-mouldable foam would instead be a more cost effective alternative to achieve a better fit than traditional helmets. Despite the name, heat-mouldable ‘foam’ is high-density enough to cushion a driver’s head from impacts, making it as safe as it is comfortable.

From the perspective of 2017, the curvaceous and dynamic form and user-driven thinking behind our 2007 concept for a F1 helmet is still relevant ten years on. And in the case of fitment, materials and scanning technologies, it has since paved the way for subsequent innovations.  Concepts such as the Cobalt F1 Helmet allow designers to imagine outside the practical constraints of immediate projects. As well as being fun to work on, they serve to inspire ourselves and others in what future products might be.

Related projects