Zane Maloney is certainly hard to miss on the Formula 2 grid, as not only does his Rodin Motorsport car sport a bright green and black livery, but the Sauber Academy driver also sits in the cockpit with a Barbados-inspired blue and yellow helmet.

Recently we sat down with the Boy from Barbados to talk us through the design of his 2024 lid and the inspiration behind it all.

“My very first helmet design was just a white helmet off the shelf. My first proper design was in 2017 I think, so I was 14 and if I remember it was just two colours, so it was just green, and the other colour I can’t remember now. It was just something very plain. My dad never wanted to spend money to buy a painted helmet because as far he was concerned, it doesn’t change anything on the track. It was only when I started getting into European World Karting and then F4 that he allowed me to get my first helmet.

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“My first helmet was very different to the one I have now. To be honest I had no idea what I wanted, I just put two colours on my helmet and said that looks amazing. I’ve tried since then to keep a similar design, but this year was the first time I went away from my design, and I am starting a newer look let’s say. Obviously, Lewis Hamilton inspired me growing up and I had the three stripes on the side of the helmet because it was similar to what he had. I always loved how his helmets looked, so at that stage I was just trying to copy without looking like I was copying.

The top of Maloneys helmet features things that are natural to Barbados
The top of Maloney's helmet features things that are natural to Barbados

“For this year, I'm now sponsored by the tourism in Barbados, so the first thing was the top of the helmet belongs to do them. They could do what they wanted to do to it and of course they put the Trident and then things that are natural to Barbados, so the black belly sheep, the monkey, flying fish, carnivals are very big in Barbados, so we have people dancing, drums and then I think this is Rihanna's house, so they put it on there because she is an icon in Barbados.

“The rest of the helmet is up to me, I chose to go Barbados-themed and inside the blue there are details that look like the ocean and then Bushy Park Barbados sponsor me as well. It's my favourite circuit in the world so I tried to get that bang in the centre on the side and that's about it. I think it's quite obvious what it's meant to mean but there is a lot of detail that went into it that I love.

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“This year I'm now with Bell so they painted it, and the design was done by the tourism in Barbados. We sat down, I let them do the top of the helmet, I said what I wanted around the sides and stuff and we just kind of tried to make it come together so it was cool to also have a Bajan artist. The ones in Europe are used to designing helmets but he had never designed a helmet, but it's come out very good, he's done a good job.

Maloneys helmet was designed by a Bajan artist
Maloney's helmet was designed by a Bajan artist

“Of course, the most important part is the top. I mean that has everything to do with Barbados, the Trident and everything like I explained, so that is the most important part. When I keep moving up, I want to take Barbados with me, and of course to be the only one from Barbados to be at this level is a privilege, so I am trying to get Barbados on the map. My favourite part I would say is the top but to be honest the visor sticker is quite cool as well, ‘The Boy from Barbados’, I had to push quite hard to be able to get that visor strip for myself, and that was cool so probably that.

“I think for next year I’d maybe simplify it a little bit. I want to keep pretty much the same design, I think this is what I will be running from now on, but probably simplify it a bit. It looks very good but it’s a little bit jumbled, so just try and simplify it. Maybe I'd get the yellow looking like sand because the yellow is just Barbados yellow, but I want to get the sand and beach look into it so probably those two things.”

Maloney says his next helmet will make the yellow look like sand
Maloney says his next helmet will make the yellow look like sand