The final race of the season has brought about many special helmet designs and car liveries, each designed to commemorate how important the race is to the drivers and teams. Being the final race of the year, the championships will be decided and for some, it may be the last time they drive a Formula One car in anger. David Coulthard has already announced his retirement, and Rubens Barrichello’s future hangs in the air as Honda wait before revealing their 2009 driver line-up.
Coulthard’s Special Livery
To mark the curtain call on David Coulthard’s long and successful career at the top of motorsport, Red Bull Racing in conjunction with the Wings For Life charity have allowed the Scot to race in a special livery this weekend, highlighting the cause of the charity and also designed to make Coulthard’s final grand prix a little more memorable. Wings For Life enjoy a good relationship with Red Bull Racing, the 2007 British Grand Prix cars being adorned with the faces of those who donated to the cause of finding cures for Spinal Cord Injury Paralysis.
The charity and the work Wings For Life do is held very close to many drivers, some having walked away from potentially career-ending accidents, and Coulthard particularly has had his fair share of bumps and bruises on and off the track.
I was lucky more than once in my career when I walked away from crashes. I want to express how grateful I am that I have the ability to walk and run. I know that many aren’t as lucky as me. I dedicate my last race to the vision of making paraplegia curable. David Coulthard.
Barrichello’s Commemorative Lid
Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello could also be competing in his final race tomorrow afternoon, but what better place to bow out than at home in Brazil. Although Ruben’s may still get the second Honda seat next year, it is perfectly possible for the team to chose another up-and-coming driver instead. But whatever the outcome, the former race winner will be wearing a different helmet this weekend.
Vettel’s Commemorative Lid
Also joining in with the special helmet designs is new race winner Sebastian Vettel. The German pilot became the youngest ever race victor when he took to the top step of the podium in Italy earlier in the year. The win was also the first for Scuderia Toro Rosso and the squad managed to reach the achievement before the parent team Red Bull did. Vettel’s helmet features images from that day as well as a message to his team on his final outing with them (Vettel is joining Red Bull for next season). The message reads “Grazie mille Toro Rosso!”, which translated reads “A thousand thanks, Toro Rosso”.
Piquet’s Commemorative Lid
And lastly, in his first and possibly last Brazilian Grand Prix, Nelson Piquet Jr. has hopped on the band-wagon and allowed a Brazilian flag to be painted onto the top of his helmet. Like with Barrichello at Honda, Renault are keeping tight-lipped about their 2009 driver line-up, and despite a good run of results in the latter half of the season, Piquet may still be ousted from the team in favour of someone else.