Raikkonen changes helmet design ahead of FP3

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Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen has made a slight change to his special Monaco helmet design ahead of Saturday’s sessions, with the move rumored to have been encouraged by Formula One Management.

Many of the drivers have opted to run with an alternative helmet livery in homage to F1’s glamour event, with Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton’s designs attracting the most attention from the fans. Similarly, Jean-Eric Vergne is using a helmet based on the one used by Francois Cevert, who raced in F1 between 1970 and 1973. However, it is Raikkonen’s which has been reportedly picked up on by FOM, but the team refused to confirm whether or not these reports were true.

Raikkonen’s helmet did feature a design in homage to James Hunt (as he did in 2012), but it also ran with the tagline “Kimi on the Hunt” which was in full view of his onboard camera. Under FIA guidelines, advertising that faces the cameras is forbidden, which could be the reasoning behind the decision to change the design.

Speaking to GPUpdate, Lotus stated: “Kimi’s helmet has been modified since being used on Thursday.”

However, the team has refused to comment on the reasons behind the change.

Hartley to make F1 debut from back of grid after penalty

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Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.

Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.

Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.

The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.

Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.

A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.