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.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III