As we approach one of the most exciting events in the Formula 1 calendar we will see Ferrari, McLaren and the other teams race a circuit that has entertained motor sport enthusiasts for over eighty years. The tight and curvy circuit is a favourite of fans, sponsors and merchandise companies alike and is bound to be a spectacle if the two major teams, Ferrari and McLaren can compete effectively. While pundits are placing their confidence in former champion Fernando Alonso to perform on the city street race track, those in know are still expecting Ferrari to be dominant.
McLaren will have to prove their competitiveness against the Italian car, something they have as yet failed to do this season. Last year saw a one two finish for the British team, a result that pleased the army of fans, sponsors and merchandise suppliers the world over. This year is likely to be less successful for McLaren; while Kovalainen and Hamilton have proved their mettle in the McLaren car, they have as yet failed to dominate a race weekend like Ferrari has. Depending upon the development the team has undergone since the Turkish GP a week ago, the race could be an exciting spectacle.
The team's sponsors and merchandisers are definitely hoping that the two McLaren drivers will perform this weekend. One sponsor, the diamond company, Steinmetz are certainly placing their hopes on the two drivers. Especially for the Monte Carlo GP they are producing a helmet encrusted with diamonds; a merchandise article that will certainly not reach the shop shelves. This helmet stands testament to the importance of the Monaco GP for the entire Formula 1 fraternity; teams, sponsors, merchandise suppliers and fans all place great emphasis on this historic race.
In the last few months Steinmetz have worked in consultation with Lewis Hamilton and Hekki Kovalainen to produce a one-off helmet design that will most definitely sparkle in the Mediterranean sunlight. No doubt while the two drivers use these helmets for the occasion they will keep the equipment and most probably display it as pride of place in their merchandise collections.
The new designs will conform to the usual safety requirements so instead of being a purely decorative piece of merchandise, it will in fact be an essential part of the driver's kit for the race weekend. This exclusive piece of head gear will incorporate each driver's signature, encrusted by hand on the top of the helmet. Understandably both drivers are excited at getting their hands on this exclusive piece of equipment. Some may argue that the piece of merchandise is yet another example of the huge amounts of money involved in Formula 1 and the work of merchandise companies and sponsors to further utilise the exposure of the race weekend to further their own profits.
Lewis Hamilton, speaking to the press stated that he was really happy with "what Steinmetz have done this year", further embellishing about his excitement of the upcoming Monaco event. The racer, who has adopted a similar helmet to his hero, Ayrton Senna with a distinctive yellow exterior, naturally emblazoned with merchandise and sponsor logos. Even this driver who is particular stringent over his choice of helmet is excited by the design stating that "it looks great and will add some extra sparkle to the event", although Monaco probably has enough sparkle already.
Monaco is naturally one of the races that all of the drivers want to win and the diamond helmet only heightens the excitement for the McLaren drivers. In what will certainly be a brilliant weekend for the sport, the streets of Monte Carlo will once again be filled with the roar of engines and hoards of motor sport fans. One thing remains conjecture however, whether this sparkling helmet will improve the performance of the British team's drivers remains to be seen.
Formula 1 expert Thomas Pretty looks into the most precious piece of McLaren merchandise for generations; a diamond encrusted race helmet.