Up to this stage, all the company’s race helmets are identical – save for the shell size and paint finish. Only now does the customization process begin. The padding for the helmet is made using precise head and face measurements taken from the driver. The idea is for the head to be held firmly inside the helmet, but there is still some room for maneuver. “The drivers have to feel good,” says Krieter. “Together we try out different variants of the helmet until everything is just right.” The drivers also have the last word on visors and the special mini spoilers on the forehead area and back of the helmet. Rosberg prefers a top spoiler, while others don’t have any of these aerodynamic aids – designed to minimize the effect of lift at high speed – in the interests of saving weight. A finished race helmet weighs 1,350–1,500 grams.
Krieter has six different types of visor on hand for each helmet at each Formula 1 weekend. “When it’s raining, I screw on the clear visor,” he explains. “Then we have the variants with 50 and 80 percent tinting.” All visors are available in three different colours. Before the drivers head out onto the track, Krieter also sticks tear-off strips onto their visors, which the drivers have to be able to whip off in a single movement at speeds of 320 km/h (approx. 200 mph) should they get dirty or mist up. “Nico never wants more than three or four of them, whereas other drivers have seven or eight,” notes the expert.