Yuki Tsunoda’s helmet design features ‘God of Wind’

Tsunoda helmet design
Peter Fox/Getty Images
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Yuki Tsunoda’s helmet design for 2020 will pay tribute to his path to Formula 1 and an appeal for divine intervention. When Tsunoda climbs into the cockpit of his AlphaTauri Formula 1 car in 2021, he will do so with a new helmet design that includes an image of the God of Wind.

In an interview with Formula1.com, Tsunoda explained some of the decisions that went into the design of his 2021 helmet.

As part of the Red Bull development program, Tsunoda joins AlphaTauri next year as a replacement for Daniil Kvyat. Tsunoda will be the first Japanese driver in F1 since Kamui Kobayashi ended his 75-race career with Caterham in 2014.

Tsunoda’s helmet will feature elements of his native Japan in addition to a tribute to Red Bull.

“You have obviously got the Red Bull branding and the Japanese flag on there, which were important for me,” Tsunoda said. “It was important for me to show that I am not just racing for myself, but that I am racing for Japanese fans.

“That is why the flag was so important. With that on there, it feels like we are racing together and it makes me feel confident. I tried to add patterns into the flag, and a shadow as well, so that it was a little different.”

Tsunoda earned his ride in part by finishing third in the 2020 Formula 2 series while racing for Team Carlin. He was only one point behind Callum Ilott. Mick Schumacher wrapped up the championship by 15 points over Tsunoda.

Tsunoda won the Sprint race at Silverstone in August as well as the Feature at Spa-Francorchamps and in the season-ending race at Bahrain.

The freshman F1 driver hopes that the best decision regarding the helmet design will come from divine intervention. The back of his helmet will sport an illustration of the God of Wind.

“There is an image on the back of the helmet, which was done by a Japanese designer,” he said. “That is the God of Wind, which I thought was good to add to the back, because downforce is very important and that relates to wind. I thought that it would be cool to add the God of Wind to the helmet so that I get more downforce! It is mostly about having a little bit more luck.”

Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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