From Sakhir to Monza, there was no mistaking Oliver Gray in action behind the wheel of the #20 Rodin Carlin car this season. Rocking an eye-catching pink, white, blue and black colour scheme, the British racer is all about being distinctive.
He talks us through the decision making behind his look, how both the design and feel of his helmets have changed as he’s risen up the ranks and pride of carrying the Williams badge with him on track.
“It’s pretty much my favourite helmet I’ve ever had to be fair. First of all, I’ve always had pink on my helmet ever since my first-ever proper painted helmet. When I first started karting, I used to have a white helmet, but then I convinced my dad to let me get a painted helmet and I added pink to it. I just love the colour; I feel like it stands out compared to other people’s helmets and I think it goes well with the other colours on my helmet, it’s fitting in quite well with the Williams blue.
“It’s always been this sort of in-your-face pink more than anything, it’s never really been baby pink. This is definitely the brightest pink I’ve ever had on the helmet, but I feel like you’ve got to go big or go home! So, I’m very happy with my helmet for this year.
“On the front I’ve got the Williams logo, which obviously means a lot to have on the helmet. Driving around places like Silverstone this year was really cool with that on it. Then I have my personal logo on the front, just trying to get a bit of advertisement in. On the back, we’ve got my main sponsor Corinthian’s logo.
“My very first painted helmet was also a Bell, but I think as you go up, you have to get more specialised helmets because you’re racing at higher speeds. I think you have to have an F1-spec for Formula 3, so it’s a lot more protected on the inside.
"Also, it feels a lot lighter than my first helmet because it’s made out of carbon, which actually is weird because this one is bigger. The lightness of the helmet definitely makes a difference in a long race, so it’s cool.
“The design was definitely similar with the main block in the middle. Then I introduced the stripes over the top for my second helmet when I was racing in European karting because my team manager used to be a famous go-karter and he always had four stripes over the top of his helmet. I thought it was a cool part of the design to incorporate into my helmet and he loved the idea, so I’ve had them ever since.
“Kaos Design painted my helmet and did a great job with the matte finish, which matches the car this year and is a big part of the whole design process. I’ve had chrome helmets in the past and I’ve had matte helmets, but this year the matte finish has definitely been my favourite just because the Williams F1 car and my car have both been in a matte finish this year. I think the finishes of the car and the helmet together look really nice and I just like the way it feels too.
“Probably my favourite part of the helmet is actually the outlines in Williams blue that go all the way up and throughout the helmet, which I think are really nice. The Williams liveried F3 cars stand out, but when you put them next to each other, they’re very similar. I didn’t have it on my car last year in British F4, but now in Formula 3, having Williams all over my car is really, really cool and feels really special. It just makes me want to look at the pictures at the end of the day and post on my Instagram as soon as I can.
“Honestly, my dream helmet wouldn’t be too different. I think this one is very similar to everything that I wanted on it. I’d maybe have a bit more detail within the black, but other than that, this is pretty spot on to what I would want when hopefully I’m racing in Formula 1.”