It’s been reported for years that helmets in Formula One maintain rigorous & extensive checks before being permitted for driver-usage. That report hasn’t been confirmed until November 4th, 2020. Red Bull – Aston Martin Racing clarified that F1 helmets require extensive testing before being designated race-ready. These laborious tasks ensure that drivers are protected & safe during collisions into other cars or the barriers. Knowing this information doesn’t implicate Formula One operations, Red Bull Racing detailed what’s required from F1 helmets.
The initial check is named “Crush Tests”, where weights of 10kg are dropped from heights of 5m. Specific requirements on weight & distance are overseen by the Formula International Association, with FIA approval permitting the second test before. The purpose of “Crush Tests” is eliminating drivers from feeling an impact when surrounding vehicles & barriers create unfavourable conditions. F1 helmets are strong enough for minimal military usage, with the second check requiring air rifle pellets strike helmets make contact hundreds of times. It guarantees that durability is consistent & strong, giving driver confidence that multiple impacts won’t dampen the core strength of an F1 helmet.
There are two additional tests engaged before being permitted for driver usage. This includes the “Ballistic Test”, which is meant to eliminate concerns that oncoming debris will impact helmets & cause serious injury to drivers. This required a steel disc weight 225-Grams thrown towards the helmet at 250km/hr. After FIA approval is given on the three previous tests, a final phase of testing is implemented. An oven supporting temperatures at 790°C is turned on & helmets are placed inside for upwards of ten minutes. This test ensures that drivers aren’t burned alive whenever the rare possibility of their vehicle being engulfed in flames occurs.
It should be noted that drivers don’t receive their helmet immediately after tests have finalized. Designers receive the helmet pre-emptively & create artwork that suits the specifications of drivers. Afterwards, engineers will fit the helmet with “Drink Tubes” and “Radio Lines” for on-track communication. Once this process is completed, drivers will receive their final product hours later to weeks later.