Keep a cool head.
Back in the day, Sven Krieter didn’t really know what to make of Formula 1, he explains. His last ten years, however, have been spent at the sharp end of the grand prix action in his role as protectorin-chief of drivers’ craniums. He ensures they can literally keep a cool head and continue to see clearly, even when the weather isn’t playing along. Krieter is busy applying a rubber lip to the edge of a black helmet, turning it constantly, wiping away excess adhesive and pressing the elastic material firmly with three fingers. Welcome to the headgear specialist’s workplace in the German city of Magdeburg. The finished item will protect and adorn the head of Nico Rosberg in his next race for Mercedes AMG Petronas. Schuberth supplies five Formula 1 drivers, and Krieter is one of the company’s key figures – the face of the long-established helmet-maker’s motor racing activities. The 40-year-old travels with the Formula 1 circus to all the races and testing dates on the calendar to look after the drivers. That means he racks up more than a quarter of a million airborne kilometers every year. And he wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
Krieter, who trained as a heating and ventilation system fitter, hesitated before taking up the F1 job, such was the initially overawing nature of the assignment. However, after sleeping on it several times and taking an intensive English language course, he accepted the offer. “My first race was Silverstone in 2005. I’d never flown anywhere before,” he recalls, “let alone somewhere as hectic as Heathrow. And then there was driving on the left-hand side of the road without a navigation system. It was tough.” Nowadays, thinking back to those early days makes him smile.