Formula 1's new ballistic-tested helmet revealed at Italian GP

The first race-ready version of Formula 1's new ballistic-tested helmet concept that all drivers must use next season has been unveiled by Italian company Stilo

The new design [on the right of the above image], which is the result of nearly a decade of research by the FIA since Felipe Massa's crash in qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, is aimed at helping take driver head protection to the next level.

The current zylon forehead protection area is replaced with a fully integrated extension of material - which results in the top edge of the helmet face opening moving down by 10mm.

This new toughened part will increase energy absorption in the event of an accident by up to 25%, and has been tested to withstand a 225g projectile striking a driver at 250km/h. The helmet has also undergone extensive military ballistic testing.

With Stilo's first version of the helmet having recently been completed, a visibility test was undertaken by Valtteri Bottas in first free practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Lance Stroll is expected to test it at Monza this weekend, but the trial may be delayed if poor weather conditions affect Friday running because of the need for different spec visors.

Bottas said it was important for helmet technology to continue to evolve as F1 focuses on car safety developments like the halo.

"The halo was very good protection in Spa for Charles [Leclerc], but there can still be cases that bits can hit you a lot," said Bottas.

"The stronger the helmet is, it's always better. The regulations for the helmets have been still for a few years.

"They want more safety and they need to take harder impacts than before.

"It is very important that the helmets keep developing, there is always margin to improve."

Stilo's managing director Guglielmo Belotti said his company had managed to produce the helmet to the new stricter homologation characteristics without adding weight, and Bottas had reported no visibility consequences.

"The feedback was absolutely identical to the old," he told Autosport.

"The important thing is that even if this is absolutely safer than the old standard, we could get this result without increasing the weight.

"The current helmet is the lightest in F1, and this one in racing conditions is identical."

Previous article Nico Hulkenberg still has 'mixed feelings' on F1 halo after Spa crash
Next article Kvyat emerges as a contender for shock Toro Rosso F1 return in 2019