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Arai helmets in Formula One


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#1 Desmodi

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 04:46

Nowadays, Arai helmets are quite the rage amongst Grand Prix drivers, and are worn by the majority of the grid (I myself am about to pick one up, for karting albeit). Before the current GP-5 model, there were a few the wore the GP-4, but that was during the 90s. At that time, I seem to recall Bell helmets looking quite similar. In the 80s, I'm not sure what were really popular, but I imagine it was a mixture of Bell's and GPA's. Now, I have a photo of Stefan Johansson driving his Spirit Honda in 1983 with a black Arai helmet. The question arose at another forum if this was the first time an Arai helmet had been worn by a Grand Prix driver in an F1 race; is this the case?

I look forward to your insight,
Desmodi

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#2 alain_sl

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 05:06

Geoff Lees (Paul Ricard 1982), Thierry Boutsen used Arai helmets too.

#3 kayemod

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 08:51

Can't find it right now, but I think I've seen a photo of Alan Jones wearing an Arai that pre-dates all of these.

#4 picblanc

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 09:19

Mike!!! :D

#5 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 09:25

In 1983 I met an Arai helmet sales man in Holland. He had genuine Boutsen and Rosberg helmets to show on his stand. He told me that Thierry wore off his helmet completely before a replacement, while Keke asked for two new ones each GP weekend.

#6 PS30-SB

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 09:55

Kazuyoshi Hoshino in 1976 Japanese GP at FISCO must be a good bet.........?

#7 COUGAR508

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 10:12

Originally posted by kayemod
Can't find it right now, but I think I've seen a photo of Alan Jones wearing an Arai that pre-dates all of these.


Certainly Jones is the furthest back that I can remember wearing one, but there may be earlier examples.

#8 mfd

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 19:45

Originally posted by COUGAR508
Certainly Jones is the furthest back that I can remember wearing one, but there may be earlier examples.

Really? Alan Jones? What year would that be then...

#9 Updraught

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 19:56

For what its worth, in 1980-1981 "AKAI" was a sponser of Alan Jones, and there were "AKAI" stickers all over his helmet. However, his helmet was an "AGV".

#10 mfd

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 20:57

Originally posted by Updraught
For what its worth, in 1980-1981 "AKAI" was a sponser of Alan Jones, and there were "AKAI" stickers all over his helmet. However, his helmet was an "AGV".

My thoughts too!

"The Arai Story" lists 1983 as the first year of F1, but Geoff Lees had appeared in the 82 French GP wearing one. It may well have omitted to include Hoshino, but I can't be certain. IIRC the 83 season saw five drivers, all newish faces, wearing Arai. They had all been wearing them in F2 in previous years. Anyone remember who ?

I think Rosberg started in 84 & later that year at Macao a certain Senna was given one ready painted, but I think the only time he raced with it was the outing in the Joest Porsche 956. Mansell also wore them from 85 onwards.

#11 Jodum5

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 22:19

Originally posted by Arjan de Roos
In 1983 I met an Arai helmet sales man in Holland. He had genuine Boutsen and Rosberg helmets to show on his stand. He told me that Thierry wore off his helmet completely before a replacement, while Keke asked for two new ones each GP weekend.


How do you wear off(out?) a helmet?

#12 mfd

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 22:32

Originally posted by Jodum5
How do you wear out a helmet?

Sweat - Keke did, Thierry didn't.

#13 Twin Window

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 22:45

Originally posted by mfd

Really? Alan Jones? What year would that be then...

Indeed :confused:

Originally posted by mfd

"The Arai Story" lists 1983 as the first year of F1, but Geoff Lees had appeared in the 82 French GP wearing one. It may well have omitted to include Hoshino, but I can't be certain. IIRC the 83 season saw five drivers, all newish faces, wearing Arai. They had all been wearing them in F2 in previous years. Anyone remember who ?

Wasn't Thack a really early user? But at this time of night I can't remember just how early... :rolleyes: Johansson too - in '83 - along with Boutsen.

I'll think more about this on the morrow - when I'll also be merging this thread with the all-encompassing helmet one ;)

#14 MPea3

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 22:59

Originally posted by Jodum5


How do you wear off(out?) a helmet?


I can't speak to what he meant, but my speculation would be that wearing out a helmet involves change to the fit to make it no longer safe or usable. That really doesn't take long, especially in years past. I ride a motorcycle daily and go through helmets pretty quickly, as even wearing them in low G and stress situations the fit goes away, I can't imagine how quickly that would happen in racing. I wear Schuberth helmets which are known to be slower than Arai in "breaking in". Fit properly, they're a bit too snug for a week and about perfect for a few months. By 6 months they wobble on my head that I no longer wear them. My experience with Arai is that a well fit helmet (Quantum fits me) is too loose after only 2 months. Shoei is even worse, going from being nicely fit and very snug to very wobbly after only a couple of weeks.

These days it's my understanding that F1 helmets are hand made, so it's a pretty easy guess that their construction and materials take into account for the extra stresses they undergo. I have no idea if that was the case, or to what extent it was the case 20 - 30 years ago. I'm also sure that they're much more concerned with fit than the typical person I see racing cars or bikes these days. I know one guy who races bikes in WERA with an 8 year old helmet. He just replaces the labels and stickers to keep them current and legal. Just as bad are the guys we ride with up in the mountains. Most of their helmets are out of date, oversize, or both.

#15 PS30-SB

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 23:08

I'm still saying Hoshino at FISCO in 1976......

And Kunimitsu Takahashi was wearing a full face ARAI at FISCO in 1977 too......

It seems natural to me that the Japanese drivers would be amongst the first to use new ARAI designs, and therefore the first Japanese drivers in F1 would very likely be the first, or thereabouts, to use them in F1.

Desmodi,
I can send you some good photos to prove it if you would like them. Can't post them here as I don't own the copyrights........

If you take Formula 1 out of the question then it makes it even easier to prove earlier ARAI full-face use by Japanese drivers.

#16 mfd

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 23:45

Originally posted by PS30-SB
I'm still saying Hoshino at FISCO in 1976......
And Kunimitsu Takahashi was wearing a full face ARAI at FISCO in 1977 too......
It seems natural to me that the Japanese drivers would be amongst the first to use new ARAI designs, and therefore the first Japanese drivers in F1 would very likely be the first, or thereabouts, to use them in F1.
If you take Formula 1 out of the question then it makes it even easier to prove earlier ARAI full-face use by Japanese drivers.

I would say you're probably right Alan :wave:
Around that time Arai or HA as they were known (Hirotake Arai) were only interested in their home market. At the end of 77 Arai USA was formed and in 81 Arai Europe, so after that date the helmet became more widely seen and used.

#17 mfd

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 23:55

Originally posted by MPea3
I can't speak to what he meant, but my speculation would be that wearing out a helmet involves change to the fit to make it no longer safe or usable...
These days it's my understanding that F1 helmets are hand made

Believe me! What he was saying by comparing Rosberg to Boutsen was to do with one driver perspiring a lot and the other hardly at all. Sweat breaks down the soft foam and apart from becoming a bit wiffy, the springy quality is lost. So in some respects you are correct...

Yes the F1 helmets are hand made, but so are all the Arai glass-fibre/composite based helmets just like your Quantum.

#18 mfd

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 00:07

Originally posted by Twin Window
Indeed :confused: Wasn't Thack a really early user? But at this time of night I can't remember just how early... :rolleyes: Johansson too - in '83 - along with Boutsen.
I'll think more about this on the morrow - when I'll also be merging this thread with the all-encompassing helmet one ;)

and finally :wave: Hello Stu.

I can only think of Thack wearing one in his 1984 F1 races but obviously F2 before that. Did you know Forix have his helmet design in blue & white :eek:
The I think the 83 F1 drivers were KA, Guerrero, Palmer, Boutsen & Johansson.

#19 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 06:35

Originally posted by Jodum5


How do you wear off(out?) a helmet?


Haha, sorry for my bad English. I was at the X-mas party of Dutch motor racing club NAV. Arai was indeed starting with heavy promotion as a helmet supplier to Dutch racing drivers around that time. Basically Thierry used his helmet in many races and the sample showed. It had quite a damaged surface from small sharp stones hitting it. Even the sponsor decals were cut open. Then Thierry would replace his helmet.
Maybe I should have said Battle Scared rather than worn out. :wave:

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#20 mfd

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 09:15

Originally posted by Arjan de Roos
Haha, sorry for my bad English. Maybe I should have said Battle Scared rather than worn out. :wave:

It's OK Arjan. Your English is better than my Dutch! Re your comment, at that time drivers were relatively unspoilt with free helmets and where Boutsen was new to F1, Rosberg was already a WDC. To receive 4 helmets in a season was (then) a luxury the drivers had never experienced...

#21 d.emerson

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 09:53

Do you think this was really an arai (Stefan Johansson) ? I think it was a Bell XFM1 ... no ?

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#22 mfd

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 10:15

Originally posted by d.emerson
Do you think this was really an arai (Stefan Johansson) ? I think it was a Bell XFM1 ... no ?

Yes Denis. Twinnie, will probably know where & when, which might explain why...

#23 Formula Once

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 11:03

Dutchman Ferry Brouwer was the man who introduced Arai in Europe in the early Eighties and the first proper deal he did was with Keke Rosberg, soon followed by Nigel Mansell and Boutsen and then many others. However, others may and probably have used Arai's before in F1 and given Lees his F2 contract in Japan I can imagine he used one before.

#24 Pat Clarke

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 13:51

Quote Updraft: "For what its worth, in 1980-1981 "AKAI" was a sponser of Alan Jones, and there were "AKAI" stickers all over his helmet. However, his helmet was an "AGV". I don't believe AJ wore an Arai helmet in his F1 days, but may well have in V8 tourers in Australia.

The AJ helmet at the Donington museum has AKAI and AGV stickers and is very badle scarred, but a cursory glance shows it is a Bell Star (complete with 'Bell' branded visor).

Another question now comes up. How many drivers drove in races with a helmet brand decal displayed on what wasn't the actual make of helmet? We already have one example in the thread.

Pat

#25 Formula Once

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 14:09

Rosberg had AGV logo's on his Bell in 1982.

#26 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 14:17

Originally posted by Formula Once
Dutchman Ferry Brouwer was the man who introduced Arai in Europe in the early Eighties and the first proper deal he did was with Keke Rosberg, soon followed by Nigel Mansell and Boutsen and then many others. However, others may and probably have used Arai's before in F1 and given Lees his F2 contract in Japan I can imagine he used one before.


Then I must have met Mr. Brouwer. He was very supportive and informing.

Alan Jones also had a decal strip on his helmet stating: "AKAI is Okay is AKAI is OK is AKAI is...."

#27 Formula Once

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 14:17

Rosberg had AGV logo's on his Bell in 1982.

#28 mfd

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 14:36

Originally posted by Arjan de Roos
Then I must have met Mr. Brouwer. He was very supportive and informing.

That would have been the case Arjan

#29 mfd

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 14:39

Originally posted by Pat Clarke
The AJ helmet at the Donington museum has AKAI and AGV stickers and is very badle scarred, but a cursory glance shows it is a Bell Star (complete with 'Bell' branded visor).

But you were only looking at the helmet through the glass...Bell visor fitted yes, but I've handled, seen inside & it is an AGV X80

#30 d.emerson

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 17:58

In 1978-1979, Alan Jones wore a helmet with "Simpson" stickers, but with a "Bell" visor ...
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#31 Twin Window

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 23:17

Originally posted by d.emerson

Do you think this was really an arai (Stefan Johansson) ? I think it was a Bell XFM1 ... no ?

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I do think that that's my photo! :eek:

Originally posted by mfd

Yes Denis. Twinnie, will probably know where & when, which might explain why...

Hi Michael :wave:

That was taken at Hockenheim in 1982; Stefan was being paid - IIRC - by Arai that season, but I seem to remember him telling me that he didn't really like their lids at the time, so simply stuck their stickers on his Bell in the hope nobody noticed! He did that for at least some if not all of '82, before getting on-board properly in '83 and actaully using their kit.

#32 mfd

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 23:29

Originally posted by Twin Window
I do think that that's my photo! :eek:

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Nice photo too :drunk:

#33 d.emerson

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 07:45

Originally posted by Twin Window
[B]I do think that that's my photo! :eek:

Hi Twinny,

Yes, this photo is yours, it comes from here ... http://forums.autosp...?threadid=89890

:wave:

#34 funformula

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 19:04

Originally posted by Pat Clarke
Quote Updraft:

Another question now comes up. How many drivers drove in races with a helmet brand decal displayed on what wasn't the actual make of helmet? We already have one example in the thread.

Pat



H.J. Stuck had Uvex stickers on his Simpson Bandit helmet.

Piquet had Bieffe stickers on an Arai.

#35 fines

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 19:08

I may be missing the obvious, but what has Alan Jones sporting "AKAI" on his helmet have to do with "displaying a helmet brand decal that wasn't the actual make of helmet"? AKAI was HiFi equipment, wasn't it?

#36 mfd

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 19:50

Originally posted by fines
I may be missing the obvious, but what has Alan Jones sporting "AKAI" on his helmet have to do with "displaying a helmet brand decal that wasn't the actual make of helmet"? AKAI was HiFi equipment, wasn't it?

A-R-A-I :confused: A-K-A-I

#37 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 20:29

You are quite right, of course nothing, but we discussed Alan Jones helmet.

Here is it's example in the Donington Collection. Indeed battle scared.

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Originally posted by fines
I may be missing the obvious, but what has Alan Jones sporting "AKAI" on his helmet have to do with "displaying a helmet brand decal that wasn't the actual make of helmet"? AKAI was HiFi equipment, wasn't it?



#38 Verhage

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 17:37

Arjan Roos,
Have you more pictures?
There were the helmets of Hunt, Fittipaldi and Andretti in that showcase.
Thanks, Adriaan Verhage

#39 fines

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 19:14

Is that an optical illusion or is the helmet of the wee Scot indeed... well, wee?

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#40 ensign14

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 20:22

No comments on the size of Jonesy's head. :cool:

#41 JacnGille

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 20:25

Originally posted by fines
Is that an optical illusion or is the helmet of the wee Scot indeed... well, wee?


As I remember the thickness of the interiors of helmets has increased from those dayz. :cool:

#42 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 20:50

Originally posted by Verhage
Arjan Roos,
Have you more pictures?
There were the helmets of Hunt, Fittipaldi and Andretti in that showcase.
Thanks, Adriaan Verhage


Your wish is my command. I do, however as you can see the reflection was a problem and Tom couldnt open the show case...

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And no, these are not all Arai helmets...

#43 Twin Window

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 21:50

I feel reasonably confident in stating that Mario Andretti never raced using a GPA (as seen in the cabinet) during his entire career.

That's not to say that it isn't an officially-supplied-to-him example though, as that is how GPA operated back in the early 1980s... :)

#44 mfd

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 23:47

Originally posted by Twin Window
I feel reasonably confident in stating that Mario Andretti never raced using a GPA (as seen in the cabinet) during his entire career.
That's not to say that it isn't an officially-supplied-to-him example though, as that is how GPA operated back in the early 1980s... :)

I agree Stuart, their marketing strategy was "dynamic". I was looking through some 1981 photos recently and GPA were the most visible, just like Arai are today & so back to the first post in this thread!

#45 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 07:21

Originally posted by Twin Window
I feel reasonably confident in stating that Mario Andretti never raced using a GPA (as seen in the cabinet) during his entire career.

That's not to say that it isn't an officially-supplied-to-him example though, as that is how GPA operated back in the early 1980s... :)


I agree. This helmet collection I found somewhat strange: basically all helmets of the 1970's world champions, but also including a Andretti "fake" and a polished copper one...

#46 mfd

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 09:49

Originally posted by Arjan de Roos
and a polished copper one...

From memory this was a commemorative helmet by Griffin from mid 70's. Etched on the surface were the blades of the Graham Hill design. There is some story about this, but I can't remember it.

#47 PS30-SB

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 10:42

Originally posted by Desmodi
Now, I have a photo of Stefan Johansson driving his Spirit Honda in 1983 with a black Arai helmet. The question arose at another forum if this was the first time an Arai helmet had been worn by a Grand Prix driver in an F1 race; is this the case?
I look forward to your insight,
Desmodi


Desmodi,
I don't know if you are still subscribed to this thread you created, but......

I still think Kazuyoshi Hoshino, in the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji Speedway, was one of the first instances* of an Arai helmet being worn by a 'Grand Prix driver' in an F1 race.

*I believe at least one of the other Japanese drivers in the same race was also wearing an Arai....



If you allow the 1974 F1 'demonstration' event at Fuji Speedway ( OK - not really a proper race ) where JPS Lotus 72D, McLaren M23, Brabham BT44, Tyrell 007 & Hesketh 308 took part, then we might have an even earlier candidate: I believe Masami Kuwashima got a short 'go' in the Brabham.......

Take it back to Arai's original 'H.A.' brand name and I reckon I might be able to give you an even earlier instance.

#48 Kart15

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 02:48

Who was the first driver to wore an Arai helmet in Indy/CART Championship?

I think was the great Danny Ongais in 1981 or 1982? Can somebody confirm this?