Along with its owner, we went to discover how Kimi’s helmet was born, in the factory that Bell Helmets Racing has built a few meters from the entrance of the Al Sakhir circuit, in Bahrain.
The parts of pre-impregnated carbon fiber are cut into specific shapes before being placed in a shell mould.
Up to 40 pieces of carbon fibre are positioned very precisely in a female mould. This is called the “lamination” of the shell.
When lamination is completed, the shell goes into an oven at 150 °C under vacuum for 30 minutes. This is a shell coming out of the oven.
The opening for the visor, called the eyeport, and the excess of carbon in the lower part of the shell are cut with a jig saw.
Now the shell already looks like a real helmet… The technician will now position the shell in a jig, allowing him to precisely trim the 12 ventilation holes on the helmet.
To obtain homologation, the helmet must pass a series of tests including penetration. This test consists of a spike weighing 4kg being fired into the helmet at a speed of 10 meters per second. Bell uses a special machine for this kind of test, developed and built in-house.
The shell is being prepared for painting by being carefully hand sanded…
The shell receives a thin and smooth layer of clear coat, before being personalized into Kimi’s design.
The interior parts are now fitted inside the painted shell.
Finally, the transparent aerodynamic spoilers and the air intakes are glued onto the helmet, and here we are…
…ready to go!
Video: watch how it’s made!
For Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, energy saving was the first item on the agenda at Spa-Francorchamps, the backdrop to Sunday’s twelfth round of the Formula 1 World Championship.
Along with Shell Project Leader Mike Evans, they met students who had designed highly efficient cars to take part in the Shell Eco-Marathon, in which teams from all over the world compete to see who can cover the furthest distance using the equivalent of one kW/h of energy or one litre of fuel.
Before having a go at the wheel of six of these unusual prototypes near the famous La Source hairpin, Fernando and Kimi spent a long time talking to the young engineers, about environmental sustainability, at the event organised by Scuderia Ferrari’s technical partner Shell.
Much less powerful but greener than a Formula 1 car, the best of these innovative cars can cover one lap of the track using just 2.2 millilitres, or about a teaspoonful, whereas a Formula 1 car requires around two to three litres to cover the same distance.
Fernando Alonso: “Energy efficiency is now one of the key factors for Formula One teams in 2014 and moving forwards. As such, it’s amazing to see these students using the same technologies as the teams to keep improving SEM technology and vehicle design. It’s extremely important to have a younger generation of innovative engineers and scientists raising questions and taking part in events such as the Shell Eco-marathon and today has provided a great opportunity to see first-hand how we work together with the students to develop the latest innovations in the fields of science and technology on a daily basis. Their work is really inspiring. I wish I’d been given this opportunity when I was at school!”
Kimi Räikkönen: “I already met some of the students this year in Goodwood at the Festival of Speed and drove their simulator. It’s normal to drive apart from the low speeds and they look simple on the outside but actually they are more complicated cars and the students that build them are very smart people. I think the Shell Eco-marathon is an excellent event and gives the students a good way to learn and improve and hopefully move into bigger things in the future.”