A driver’s helmet is as unique as their fingerprint. Each holds special meaning and tells a story unlike anyone else’s. Sebastian Saavedra has a different design year after year and currently has two helmets that he is rotating in to action this season.
Art Rotondo is the helmet artist that Saavedra and many other drivers look to in order to create special designs. Saavedra presents Rotondo with an overall idea on what he would like his helmet to look like and feels that each one is a combination of what he’s feeling and how he thinks the season will go.
The first helmet that the 22 year old native of Bogota, Colombia is using this season features the Colombian flag on the back.
“The Colombian flag has always been very important to me,” said Saavedra. “It is typical of a driver to just put a flag, but I wanted something very artistic. Art gave me the chance to showcase the love for my country in a creative way. I have always been very proud of Colombia and I want to be able to show that.”
The front of this helmet contains white, black and bright orange sharp lines. Saavedra wants people to be able to look at it and see something new each time.
“This particular helmet has a very abstract situation going on,” added Saavedra. “I look at the image of the flag and see the sun. On the top, it has my initials ‘SS’ laid out. Each piece tells a different story and that’s how I want my helmets to be. In a way, you have to find the secrets to the piece.”
Many people often ask Saavedra what his favorite color is and how he chooses which colors will go into the helmet.
“I actually don’t have a favorite color,” said Saavedra. “I am a very mood oriented person. I sometimes enjoy a bright yellow, orange or green, but it depends on my mood for the color that suits me.”
Saavedra’s second helmet also holds a lot of meaning and contains a design very different from the Colombian flag. It contains the same bold lines in the front, but has the portrait of a Joker on the back.
He credits this specific design to the great relationship he has had with each one of his mechanics and engineers throughout his career.
“I am fortunate enough to say that up until today, I have talked to every single person that has worked with me in my racing career,” said Saavedra. “How have I managed to do this? I am a Joker. I am always trying to bring a smile to my guys’ faces and really enjoy every single moment.”
Saavedra has also been told that he races with a card up his sleeve, which means there is always something he takes advantage of during qualifying or a race.
“This became true in Long Beach, which was the first time I wore the helmet,” added Saavedra. “I was third in a tough qualifying session, but took the pole position in the last corner. That is perfect for the joker and having an ace up your sleeve.”
Saavedra’s helmets are designed to show a bit of humor. He doesn’t want people to see him in any way as a negative person because that’s not how he sees himself.
“I always try and look on the bright side of things and jokers were meant to bring happy times to kings a long time ago,” said Saavedra. “I look at the front of the helmet as being my serious business face because that is what I want the other drivers to see. The helmets are like a two-sided card or coin. Whenever you flip it, you see the real me.”