When roaring engines take on the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps at the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend, all eyes will be on Esteban Ocon, not only for his prowess behind the wheel but for the unique helmet he will be sporting. A helmet is more than just safety gear; for a racer, it is a symbol of identity and pride. Ocon, the French driver from the Alpine team, will introduce a helmet like no other – a masterpiece designed in collaboration with the celebrated watchmakers, Bell & Ross.
Esteban Ocon’s professional journey in the world of Formula 1 is peppered with victories and the joy of crossing the finish line. But for Ocon, winning is more than just securing a podium. “The happiness of crossing the finish line is entwined with the twists and turns of the race, the pressure and the collective effort of the team,” says Ocon. Wearing the helmet is a significant part of this journey. “When you close the visor, you’re in your own bubble. It’s just you, the race and the car,” he adds.
Over the years, helmets have evolved massively in terms of comfort and safety. Esteban Ocon has been using Bell & Ross helmets since his Formula Renault days back in 2012, and he has witnessed the changes first-hand. “There have been a lot of shape adjustments and added reinforcements to the front of the helmet. Visors have become more compact. Helmets now have large reinforcements at the front, hence the carbon headband in the visor. All these features are integrated seamlessly inside the helmet,” he remarks.
Now, Ocon is set to wear a special Bell & Ross helmet for the Belgian Grand Prix. This collaboration is the first of its kind, marking the debut of a watch brand in Formula 1. The helmet embodies a racer-oriented design, adorned with the signature Bell & Ross colors and their brand symbol, the large black ampersand, prominently displayed on top. The design also includes a hint of the Alpine logo, akin to the Bell & Ross watch dial, and a dash of the red, white, and black racing colors.
Esteban Ocon’s relationship with Bell & Ross is deep-rooted and personal. “It’s much more than something official on paper,” he affirms. “They were the first people to approach me, and I received an exclusive Bell & Ross BR-X1 watch to celebrate my win. Creating a helmet with a watchmaker has always been a dream, and it was only logical to do it with Bell & Ross.” This relationship is evidently mutual, as Carlos Rosillo, co-founder of Bell & Ross, was involved in the decision to craft the unique helmet.
The design of the helmet embodies the essence of both the brand and the racer. As the last bastion of a driver’s personal freedom, Ocon takes pride in designing his helmet. “My helmet is my identity. It’s the last thing that I can design myself. I choose the colors and I work with whoever I want to make it,” he explains. The choice to partner with Bell & Ross was natural for him, considering his long-standing relationship with the brand and his appreciation for their beautifully crafted watches.
As the countdown begins, Esteban Ocon promises, “The helmet is going to be incredible, you’ll see! It’s going te be off the chain.”
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