r/formula1 Sebastian Vettel Mar 03 '23

With Vettel and Ricciardo out of the 2023 grid, Yuki Tsunoda is now the only Arai Helmet user in the grid. Is there a reason why this brand is barely used? Misc

Post image


u/3tenthsfaster Michael Schumacher Mar 03 '23

They fucked up the 2019 homologation and lost amongst other things Max Verstappen as a client because of it. The Schuberth helmet apparently also has superior cooling compared to Arai.


u/Answer_me_swiftly Mar 03 '23

Now we know why Yuki can't keep his head cool.


u/jamescloooyd Sebastian Vettel Mar 03 '23

That's pretty mad. My guess is that they couldn't adapt to their client's feedback in time while still keeping up with the homologation regs? (dunno how to phrase it better)


u/3tenthsfaster Michael Schumacher Mar 03 '23

They were late getting the homologation done and as such didn't have all helmets available for all their drivers. For example, during testing Max was forced to use a helmet that was a size too small which gave him a headache. And the Schuberth guy just happened to have a helmet that was perfect for Max, so the rest is history.


u/BoysenberrySpaceJam Adrian Newey Mar 04 '23

That is a long odds gamble to play. And a blindingly obvious one to play. Having a helmet the exact size of your rival’s driver.


u/newcalabasas Sir Lewis Hamilton Mar 03 '23

doesn't Adrian like working with a particular brand of helmets too? I remember reading about it but I cant remember the brand


u/andrews013 Sebastian Vettel Mar 03 '23

Used to be Arai, hence Vettel's usage.


u/newcalabasas Sir Lewis Hamilton Mar 03 '23



u/Emotional_Pizza_1222 Sebastian Vettel Mar 04 '23

Wasnt seb using arai already even during before he got into f1?


u/Disastrous_Score6757 Mar 04 '23

Yeah, the point-racing company which has been just under the visor for all of time is I believe one of the Arai dealers in Japan


u/i_max2k2 Michael Schumacher Mar 04 '23

Michael Schumacher back in the day worked with Schuberth to optimize for F1 as well.


u/Dank-memes-here Pirelli Hard Mar 04 '23

Yeah but AFAIK just so that the dimensions were known, not because of any aerodynamic reason. So everyone switching to another brand is fine given everyone goes to the same


u/pengouin85 Honda Mar 03 '23

Are there some STILO users? I think Bottas was using it?


u/wnotyard Felipe Drugovich Mar 03 '23

There's Drugovich, if we do count reserves as well.


u/One_Star_Gazer Mar 03 '23

Lance Stroll


u/DramaticIsopod4741 Mar 03 '23

De Fries as well I think


u/exit143 Flair Design Team Mar 04 '23

DeVries is using Bell.


u/DLArismendi Mar 04 '23



u/Silent_Node Fernando Alonso Mar 04 '23 edited Mar 04 '23

You're trying quite hard.

edit: /u/aresfiend clued me in. Not a reference I remember.


u/aresfiend Sir Lewis Hamilton Mar 04 '23

He's referencing Ferrari radio from last season.


u/susususussudio Mar 04 '23

Can someone please define the word homologation which keeps appearing in this thread?


u/ryangiglio Mar 04 '23

It’s basically a fancy word for meeting the regulations.


u/Yung_Corneliois McLaren Mar 04 '23

Yea it’s a big term in Motorsport but not much else


u/Abhimri Mercedes Mar 04 '23

It's pretty big in all product development circles.


u/renesys Murray Walker Mar 04 '23

It's not used in consumer electronic products for regulatory compliance.


u/Abhimri Mercedes Mar 04 '23

Thanks, TIL


u/Ouhzling Mar 04 '23

Homologation means that things that have to meet certain requirements are checked if they actually do meet before they are allowed to be used.

Basically the FIA says that helmets need to do this and be that and before a company's helmets can be used in F1, the helmets are checked. If they meet the FIA's standards, they pass homologation and can be used.


u/Abhimri Mercedes Mar 04 '23

Homologation is just an activity of comparison, also called benchmarking. It could be comparing your product with regulatory requirements, or comparing with competitor products available in the market. How soon and thoroughly you are able to conduct homologation, defines gauging your product acceptability and therefore gives you clear development goals to meet and exceed requirements.


u/paragon12321 Mar 04 '23

It's the word for when I log in


u/ALOIsFasterThanYou Honda Mar 03 '23

Arai has (or at least used to have) a thing where if you stop using their products, they don’t want you back as a customer.

Rubens Barrichello had to get an exception to continue using their helmets after he left Ferrari, explaining that Ferrari required him to switch to Schuberth helmets (presumably for aerodynamic reasons) when he joined the team.


u/mat_srutabes Mar 03 '23

I'm pretty into F1, but helmet politics was not a topic I had ever even thought about


u/[deleted] Mar 03 '23

Helmet politics goes crazy. I have a Stilo because only they are willing to make a helmet for a larger than average head. Meanwhile Arai is determined to make helmets specifically targeted to Japanese-sized individuals.


u/Npr31 Damon Hill Mar 04 '23

I’ve only tried an Arai a couple of times, and was nearly a couple of decades ago - but no matter how large i went, they were determined to make my cheeks touch both my eyes and chin simultaneously. Been using Bell ever since, can highly recommend


u/LightninCat Honda Mar 04 '23 edited Mar 04 '23

Just how big is your head? I've seen up to 3XL in multiple brands.

I believe all 3 I currently own were offered in 3XL (2 Scorpions and an RPHA 70) but I'm a medium so I can't relate to your struggles.

*edit: My bad looks like the RPHA 70 only went up to 2XL


u/[deleted] Mar 04 '23

A 63 it’s a 2xl. Idk if I have a weird head shape but all the other helmets really hurt.

Scorpions and HJC’s make motorcycle helmets, I was looking at auto helmets.


u/the_windfucker Mar 04 '23

I think it does have a lot to do with the shape of the head. When looking for a bike helmet I couldn't fit in XL and 2XL of some brands (nolan), sometimes could squeeze into XLs with too much room on the sides (my head is big but also elongated) and then there was one helmet from AVG where XL was too big and L was just perfect.


u/FilthyMindz69 Mar 04 '23

Did you try to have your head fitted by Arai? I don’t know if they still do, but they used to have shells for 3 different head shapes, and they’ll customize the padding. Also amazing customer service.


u/sundark94 Juan Pablo Montoya Mar 04 '23

It's a lot less than gear discussions than Moto GP, for sure. Riders get insane contracts for gear, HJC reportedly pays Marquez €1 million per season for the helmet, and Quartararo bagged a 2 season deal for €1.5 million.

The gear is a lot more visible though, so it makes sense.


u/Xayo Mar 04 '23 edited Mar 04 '23

Not only is the gear more visible in moto GP, but the number of viewers in the market for helmets is a lot larger for motorcycles than it is for F1.


u/ReV46 Sir Lewis Hamilton Mar 04 '23

Marquez brothers use Shoei. Quartararo uses HJC and so does Brad Binder.


u/heyarkay Kevin Magnussen Mar 04 '23

helmut politics?


u/AnegloPlz Sebastian Vettel Mar 04 '23

Hey we don't talk about that and what he was doing back in 1944👀


u/Kappie5000 Fernando Alonso Mar 04 '23

When he was 2 you mean? Please go ahead with your joke..


u/lowelled Mar 04 '23

It’s crazy, apparently Bell gives out loads of helmets for free and that’s why so many drivers use them


u/Omophorus Sir Lewis Hamilton Mar 03 '23 edited Mar 03 '23

Arai has a very... particular corporate culture.

They have been well-known for a long time to not have a lot of interest in listening to feedback from users of their products (e.g. thinking they know better), and being absolutely resistant to customize their products based on buyers' requests.

They were behind, as /u/bigoldie noted, during the 2019 helmet updates, and between not having a helmet ready to go in every size and not being as accommodating to drivers as Bell and others, they lost a lot of ground.

Historically, they have been very stubborn about loyalty - once you leave they generally don't want you back as a customer without an apology from you. They expect people to come to them, not the other way around.

Conversely, Bell markets/sponsors aggressively, is much more willing to adapt to customer requests, and has an entirely different approach to marketing/gaining market. Schuberth and Stilo are somewhere in between (not as aggressive as Bell, not as conservative as Arai).


u/Neveran8th Mar 03 '23

Tell me you're a japanese company without telling me you're a japanese company.


u/Omophorus Sir Lewis Hamilton Mar 03 '23

I was trying to tiptoe around that, to avoid appearance of racism or the like.

FWIW, I've spent time in Japan, studied the language back in college, and generally have quite a bit of respect for the people and the culture.

Their business culture can be unique (in good and bad ways) and the fetishism of craftsmanship/artisans is likewise unusual (in good and bad ways). When it works, it's really cool. But sometimes it's sort of wanky for wank's sake and not so productive.


u/random_user_notabot BMW Sauber Mar 03 '23

The day after the natural disaster that took out Fukushima, I was working corporate helpdesk for US/UK markets and we were flooded with calls from Japanese employees asking what does corp want them to do and how to work because their office is a pile of rubble.


u/roron5567 Mar 03 '23

The uppity mentality is not exclusive to Japanese companies, Ferrari is a good example of that. It's more of a business model.

It works when you're industry leading and have the research to back up your attitude. When you are making something comparable to other companies, not so much.


u/ManyFails1Win Nico Hülkenberg Mar 03 '23

When it comes to consumer helmets, it doesn't get much better than Arai. There's Shoei and a few others that are up there as well.


u/sherlock2223 Inspector Sebastian Vettel Mar 03 '23

They've got like a 1000 levels of bureaucracy lol


u/Mukke1807 Mar 04 '23

Was about to say, this sounds awfully similar to a gaming company starting with N…


u/Doogleyboogley Mar 03 '23

*any money grabbing company


u/JoJo_____ Fernando Alonso Mar 03 '23

Most Japanese companies have a pretty shitty corporate culture.


u/Alexlam24 Charlie Whiting Mar 03 '23

Honda bans any employee who leaves them from returning.... Even if it's Honda of America


u/Aggressive_Cherry_Bl ありがとう Mar 03 '23

That's not true...


u/Alexlam24 Charlie Whiting Mar 03 '23 edited Mar 03 '23

That's my knowledge from working with Honda engineers and Honda supply chain who went to my company. Once you leave don't expect to get rehired. Just look at the answers here. https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Honda/faq/if-you-quit-honda-or-get-fired-or-took-the-buy-out-option-package-i-e-timmonsville-sc-can-you-be-rehired-if-so-do-you-have-to-go-through-a-temp-servic?quid=1bci1k4n35n95fot


u/What_the_8 Daniel Ricciardo Mar 03 '23

Man that’s Fkn ironic coming from Honda of all F1 engine suppliers!


u/Alexlam24 Charlie Whiting Mar 03 '23

I know a lot of coworkers who wanted to return to Honda(who is still doing WFH/hybrid) once our current company announced workers would have to return to office and were told "You voluntarily left us so we don't have to voluntarily hire you". They were from various departments in Honda and all of them weren't allowed back.


u/What_the_8 Daniel Ricciardo Mar 03 '23

Man wtf! Rules for thee but not for me at Honda it seems.


u/Aggressive_Cherry_Bl ありがとう Mar 03 '23

I know of several engineers who returned after leaving. Leave on good terms and you could return. Leave on bad terms and that door will be shut.


u/Alexlam24 Charlie Whiting Mar 03 '23

Honda of America? Keep in mind this is 2021 Honda with the new CEO I'm talking about.


u/Aggressive_Cherry_Bl ありがとう Mar 03 '23

Technically not American Honda but also yes (yay weird corporate structure!). HR is a mess and might have some issues with rehiring but the actual engineers don't have an issue attempting to rehire people. It can just be a little painful sometimes.

→ More replies


u/GasOnFire I was here when Haas took pole Mar 04 '23

This is old news. I find American companies much worse.


u/BeefCurtain69420 Mika Häkkinen Mar 03 '23

That's not a Japanese thing that's a universal thing


u/JoJo_____ Fernando Alonso Mar 03 '23

If you think western corporate culture is anywhere near as bad as Japanese work culture you’d be very very wrong.


u/BeefCurtain69420 Mika Häkkinen Mar 04 '23

Corporates don't care about their employees some just do a better job at hiding it


u/Ping-and-Pong Alexander Albon Mar 04 '23

And my reddit bingo is done for the day!


u/JoJo_____ Fernando Alonso Mar 04 '23 edited Mar 04 '23

First of all despite what neckbeard redditors will tell you many corporations do value their employees. Obviously depends highly on your position and where you work. Second of all that wasn’t even really my point to begin with. Japanese work culture is extremely traditional. For example the level of position you end up working in depends almost entirely on your age rather than your ability and work ethic. Japanese companies also tend to be pretentious if that’s a good way to put it. They believe their product is the best regardless of customer feedback.


u/transient_signal Mar 04 '23

No it’s not.

I’m currently negotiating a job at an employer I left 18 months ago for a 22% salary increase.


u/gyutop Logan Sargeant Mar 03 '23

So weird for a helmet company to act like they’re selling La Ferraris


u/lowprofile14 Honda Mar 03 '23

Typical Japanese company culture


u/Reasonable_Relief_58 Mar 03 '23

Snort. Pretend Enzo’s is what you’re saying.🤔


u/BrettTheThreat Carlos Sainz Mar 03 '23



u/StefonGomez Mar 03 '23

What a weird approach, making professional F1 drivers beg to used your inferior product again? Who would bother?


u/Omophorus Sir Lewis Hamilton Mar 03 '23

Good luck convincing either Newey or Arai that they're inferior.

But beyond that... I agree with you wholeheartedly.

The standards are so high that the practical differences between the helmets are minimal. So long as helmets fit equally well, I'd 100% want to work with the company that wants to work with me instead of the one that looks down its nose at me.


u/Driver9211 Default Mar 03 '23

What's the Newey angle?


u/benedictfuckyourass Spyker Mar 03 '23

I think he preffered arai from an aerodynamic standpoint


u/second-last-mohican Mar 04 '23

They designed an air intake based on Maxs Helmet for that season, then Max changed Helmet last minute as Arai didn't have his size made in time.

Nothing to do with Arai being better.

As they will just use his current helmet when they do aero for the intake.


u/second-last-mohican Mar 04 '23

That was just for that season as Max changed last minute.

Newey will obviously have new intakes based on his current Helmet.


u/Driver9211 Default Mar 03 '23

I don't think so personalities like Vettel or even Ricciardo begged Arai for their helmets.


u/Spider_Riviera Jordan Mar 03 '23

I ended up buying a Bell bike helmet off the strength of the F1 exposure when I got a bike a couple years ago. Really impressed with it too.


u/Omophorus Sir Lewis Hamilton Mar 03 '23

I had a Bell bike helmet.

The coverage was good. The ventilation sucked.

I am much happier with my Troy Lee Designs helmet that I replaced it with after it hit its 5 year life expectancy.


u/ManyFails1Win Nico Hülkenberg Mar 03 '23

does Shoei get a look? i love my motorcycle helmet...


u/EvelcyclopS Mar 04 '23

Their product is the best out there imo.

I struggle to imagine a scenario where an Arai is available and I wouldn’t choose it. They are just that good.


u/ReV46 Sir Lewis Hamilton Mar 04 '23

IIRC a couple motorcycle road racers (Isle of Man TT etc) faced the same issues with Arai. Can’t find the article on it though.


u/BeakersWorkshop Mar 03 '23

As someone wearing helmets extensively in both motorsport and Motorcycle, a helmet is not a helmet. Everyone's head is different. I wear a Stilo as my race helmet. The Bell and Arai don't feel comfortable (pressure points) after any length of time for me. Granted they are off the shelf models no custom service. For my bike Shoei is my best fit, Arai and Schubert don’t feel right. Some of the grid choices may be the purely head shape, but if a supplier can/will customize the internals that’s who I would use.


u/Fast_Sparty Dan Gurney Mar 03 '23

I always liked the looks of the Arai, but they are freaking SMALL. I have a 7 3/4 size head, and I can't get an Arai that fits. The largest Bell fits perfectly.


u/MoboMogami Max Verstappen Mar 04 '23

I have a pretty large head and used to use an XXL Arai RX-Q. Really comfy helmet.

Recently moved to Japan and it seems like they just straight up don’t sell XXL domestically without a custom order so I ended up switching to Shoei.


u/underdonk McLaren Mar 03 '23

Stilo fits me the best as well. Tried most brands. It seems to have something to do with my long slender face that it works better with.


u/Reasonable_Relief_58 Mar 03 '23

Race car helmets and bike helmets are built to different standards for differing conditions.


u/[deleted] Mar 03 '23 edited Apr 03 '23



u/Reasonable_Relief_58 Mar 03 '23

That’s not my argument with him. People get turned away from track day events all the time because they show up with a moto helmet and it takes time to explain why it’s not allowed and some go away thinking we’re just being pedantic.


u/ScryForHelp Sauber Mar 03 '23

So nobody said anything about being turned away for the wrong helmet lol the conversation is simply how it fits


u/Deranged_Idiot Formula 1 Mar 04 '23

I tried shoei for my motorbike helmet and it was the most uncomfortable thing I’ve put on my head. Medium arai fits like a glove though


u/bigoldie Mar 03 '23

IMHO Arai lost some of the drivers (at least one, Max) because Arai didn't had their new helmets homologated during the 2019 tests.


u/Icy-Personality2586 Lotus Mar 03 '23

Could be that the sizing is better for yuki


u/zoomie14 Ferrari Mar 03 '23

Arai is a Japanese company so I'd assume that plays a part too


u/mar33n Yuki Tsunoda Mar 03 '23

i think he's always used arai helmets


u/Omophorus Sir Lewis Hamilton Mar 03 '23

Red Bull drivers in general have been forced by the team to use Arai helmets since Red Bull (due to Newey's preference for them) has had a contract with them for a long time.

Verstappen is a bit of an exception, and the main reason why is that with the new 2019 generation of helmets, Arai didn't have a lid that fit his head in time for testing. Verstappen is one of the few guys, like Hamilton, who are bigger than their teams and even the sport and inevitably get more leeway than others.


u/jakinatorctc Racing Point Mar 03 '23

Verstappen, Perez, and De Vries all don’t wear Arai helmets. It’s just Yuki


u/Omophorus Sir Lewis Hamilton Mar 03 '23

Verstappen did until 2019. Arai was late getting their new helmets homologated and didn't have a size that fit his head. Schuberth did. Regardless of what Red Bull or Newey wanted, having an actual fitting helmet trumped loyalty to Arai.

Perez and De Vries are not RB Juniors, and were not forced to switch when brought into the team. All the RB Juniors wear/wore Arai, although some may have switched after leaving the RB program (not all did, like Ricciardo).


u/AstronautPoseidon Mar 03 '23

Pierre was a RB junior and wore a bell. Same with Albon. Not sure how much this theory really holds up. There’s more instances of Red Bull drivers not wearing them than wearing them so there doesn’t seem to be much of a requirement in place as you’re saying.


u/Walden_Al Formula 1 Mar 04 '23

Pierre and Albon are two of the bigger guys on the grid and arai are crap for bigger heads. It’s entirely possible they just don’t fit.


u/GodTierGasly Pierre Gasly Mar 04 '23

Gasly switched to Bell for 2022. Before that, he used Arai.


u/_gimpinainteasy McLaren Mar 03 '23

I was thinking that, Arai has a very round shape or fit compared to the ovalness of most other brands. As someone with a very oval shaped head my Arai does not fit the best, but I spent a lot of money on it, so I will deal with it.


u/mallogo Charles Leclerc Mar 03 '23

Most use Bell these days. Schubert and Stilo are not popular either


u/Suikerspin_Ei Honda Mar 03 '23 edited Mar 03 '23

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez use Schuberth helmet. Mick Schumacher too, not sure if he still does now that he is a Mercedes reserve driver. Stilo is used by Lance Stroll and Valtteri Bottas.

Edit: Hulkenberg also wear Schuberth helmet.


u/SaturnRocketOfLove BMW Sauber Mar 03 '23

Doesn't Hulk use a Schuberth?


u/Suikerspin_Ei Honda Mar 03 '23

He does, my bad.


u/jamescloooyd Sebastian Vettel Mar 03 '23

Always thought that Arai and Schuberth are the best looking helmets on the grid


u/space_coyote_86 McLaren Mar 04 '23

Hamilton changed to Bell from Arai in 2015 because Bell did more aero development. https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/hamilton-ends-20-year-relationship-with-arai/553514/


u/TheDornado13 Mar 03 '23

They all have amazing safety so it just comes down to what fits you the best and makes you most comfortable with cooling etc.


u/Crafty_Substance_954 Formula 1 Mar 03 '23

I'm willing to guess its just a money and contract thing. Drivers are probably locked into certain deals for X years and when certain drivers leave, others are already spoken for.


u/TheRealLuke1337 Red Bull Mar 03 '23

They were late during the 2019 homologation.

But Bell also is the official supplier of F1 and prob has the better tracksite support. Their sister companies also do the helmet cams and radio communication.

Im pretty sure Bell also pays a lot to be in that position.


u/shockresistant7 Kimi Räikkönen Mar 03 '23

Sorry out of the loop- what was the helmet homologation in 2019??


u/Blueprint81 Audi Mar 03 '23

Maybe they're good for people with really skinny or little heads. :P


u/TheBumblingestBee May 09 '23

I literally think this is why Seb wears them. Drivers he swaps helmets with are always astounded by how small Seb's helmet is - they usually can't even try it on.

Arai is already known for having small helmets, and Seb wears a size small in Arai.


u/Tinfoilfireman Mar 04 '23

When I think of Arai I think of Moto GP and other Motorcycle road racing series. It seems most riders wear them


u/looking4astronauts Jenson Button Mar 04 '23

Only a couple on the MotoGP grid currently.


u/Tinfoilfireman Mar 04 '23

Really, I remember the most of the grid wearing them back in the day. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to watch a Moto GP race. Thanks for the info


u/XxTony_KnightXx Mar 04 '23

Never liked them I always found the logo to be in a weird place on a driver's helmet.


u/al3e3x Mar 03 '23

Didnt Vettel use Bell as well?


u/Indeon Sauber Mar 03 '23

He used Arai:

https://sebastianvettel.de/helme/ -> you can see their logo on the back of his helmets


u/BlueberryStout Pirelli Soft Mar 03 '23

Love this site. So cool to see them and there are so many good ones.


u/jamescloooyd Sebastian Vettel Mar 03 '23

He used Arai his entire F1 career but there were photos of him testing Bell and Schuberth as well (2021 Abu Dhabi post-season tests, iirc)


u/Suikerspin_Ei Honda Mar 03 '23

He use Arai, Verstappen changed because the helmet regulations were changed in 2018. Arai didn't get every helmet sizes passed the safety test, so he changed to Schuberth. Vettel has a small helmet size, compared to most drivers of last season.


u/rielluv Mar 03 '23

I love Yuki 🥹


u/shewy92 🏳️‍🌈 Love Is Love 🏳️‍🌈 Mar 04 '23

Yuki and Arai are both Japanese so they probably have an understanding between them


u/tangouniform2020 Mar 04 '23

They don’t fit me as well as my Simpson. I have a “deep” head (front to back) and wear a larger hat. Bell fits well but Simpson pays better.


u/E420CDI James Hunt Mar 04 '23

The Stig's account has been found


u/tangouniform2020 Mar 06 '23

Never been shot off a carrier. In a car.


u/DonCorleone55 Mar 03 '23

Number 1 drivers from alpha Tauri/toro Roso only!


u/No_Replacement_6761 McLaren Mar 04 '23

head shape