Ayrton Senna Karting Ayrton Senna Helmet, 1988

When he first started out in motor racing, Ayrton Senna’s helmet was completely white, and it remained so until the mid-1970s.

After he experimented with several design schemes, he entered the 1978 World Karting Championship at Le Mans with a helmet bearing a yellow decal with a longitudinal green stripe.

In 1979, he used a design created by Sid Mosca, and in the 1979 World Championship the design he sported became the trademark scheme he’d use for the rest of his career: a yellow helmet with two parallel white-bordered bands (one green, one blue) to represent the national colours of his homeland.

The design would remain largely untouched for the rest of his career, although he would occasionally run a black band in place of the blue, and the yellow background would alter in shades.

Senna used a host of helmet manufacturers during his career, and often switched providers if they could provide him with a lighter (and therefore weight-saving) construction. Arai (1979-1982), Bell (1983-1989, 1993-1994), Rheos (1990-1991) and Shoei (1992-1993) were all manufacturers of his helmets at various points in his career.

[Image via Ayrton Senna and The Cahier Archive]


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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.