It is one of the more striking designs on the 2023 Formula 2 grid and for Kush Maini, a symbol of pride he has as an Indian racing driver.

The Campos Racing man talks us through the changes from his earliest painted helmets to the one he uses now.

“I’ve been one of those drivers who’s changed their design a bit. My first design when I was in karting was just an off-the-shelf one that was already painted. Throughout my karting career I was known for that design. My first proper design was probably my first year in F4. That one was completely different with a lot of things going on. It was kind of like my brother’s, lots of different colours. Then I changed the design, so I’ve had like three or four different designs, but I think this is the one I’m going to stick with now. I really like the simple ones. At the start of my career, I liked the designs with a lot going on but now I’ve just gone with something a bit more simple now.

“I think this whole helmet screams India and home to me. I wanted a helmet that would show the pride I have being Indian, that was very important to me. I like the tricolour and everything around, even the patterns in the back are India.

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“With the design before this, not the F3 one but the one before that, I told my helmet painter to paint it in the colours of my car and then can you please design the helmet, because I was never really into that. Last year in F3 was the first time I properly designed a helmet for myself. It was without the blue, but very similar to this. This year, I wanted my sponsors on there so this was all here before, then got the sponsors on there and then I’ve got a bit of blue on the car and it’s one of my favourite colours, so I had the chrome lines in blue, which really helps to stand out. It also matches the visor because after we designed it, I wanted a blue visor to go with the lines.

“The most important thing is this on the back, that’s the closest thing to home for me. It’s the Monkey God from India. I’ve always felt comfortable with it around. At home, there’s a book on my bedside table of him. Not many people know that about me but if there’s any time where I’m feeling scared or something like that, I like having him around. I’ve had him on my helmet two or thrice before, different kind of designs of him but I think this is the one I’m going to stick with. It’s the most personal part of the helmet for me. I would say it’s my favourite part. It’s very Indian but it just works.

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“I’ve added some of the sparkle in the paint for this year, especially with the night sessions like in Bahrain, my helmet design really popped out, but we got that done new for this year and I’m really happy with it.

READ MORE: Watching from the sidelines and a triumphant return: Kush Maini on the moments that made him

“This was painted by Aerodiseño, just 30 minutes away from Campos so convenient. And also NJ Design, he did this design, he’s done two of my designs before this. I told him all that I wanted, the Indian flag, base to be white, this at the back and then he designed it, tweaked it a bit and then that was the design that we gave it to the painter who got it done. Honestly Nicolaj, the designer, is really, really good. As soon as I told him what I wanted, he got it pretty much bang on and then we added the blue and the sponsors, so the process probably took a week max. Then got it sent to the painter and they got it done in a month or two and then it was sent to Campos ready to go.

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“This one’s an Arai, but that’s another funny change I’ve had. I started in karting with Arai, stuck with them for F4 and then went elsewhere for three years, but for F3 I switched back to Arai and I think they’re going to be the ones I stick with now. I love their helmets and I don’t know why I ever left them.

“I think this is already a home race-style design! I think for a home race, I’d probably get the track map somewhere, but if I was going to do a special helmet, it would probably be Monaco or Silverstone, because that’s close to my heart. I lived near there for five years. I don’t know what I’d change to be honest, maybe have the British flag, keep the Indian flag here, and maybe the track map here."