• INSIGHT: How Valtteri Chose His Helmet Competition Winner

Over 1,500 entries were submitted in Valtteri Bottas' 2018 Formula One helmet design competition - but how did he pick a winner?

'It is your personal design and tells a little bit about yourself'

"For drivers, the helmet design is the only thing that is visible to the outside. It is your personal design and tells a little bit about yourself," Valtteri says.

"Many, many drivers have been carrying similar designs for their whole career. It's your own trademark."

Putting that power in the hands of the fans was no easy task for Valtteri and choosing a winning helmet design - which he'll use at the majority of races this season - proved to be a new and challenging experience for our very own Fast Finn.

Valtteri's supporters drew up design ideas for his primary 2018 helmet design, taking inspiration from the man himself while putting their own unique twist on it.

'I was pretty open-minded,' Valtteri says about his expectations prior to the competition starting. 'I was ready to do small modifications and, if I found something nice, I was prepared to change it completely.'

Having moved away from his favourite colour combination, blue and white, with a considerable design change for the 2017 season, he was 'missing the blue again' and hoped the competition entries would reflect that.

The first helmet of three-time Grand Prix winner's racing career didn't feature his own design and was straight from the shop shelf. And, while his debut design did take inspiration from another F1 driver, it perhaps wasn't one you might have guessed...

'It was the actual helmet livery of Olivier Panis,' Valtteri explains. 'I was watching all of the races on TV. He had this great race in Monaco and close to that time he had a big accident in Canada and broke his legs.

'He recovered really quickly and I just thought he was a tough guy. I am a big fan of blue, too, so I also really liked his design.'

Valtteri hasn't been scared to change his design each season. And while he wanted something traditional, he was eager to see some wild, wacky and unusual designs too.

'I've never had two seasons with exactly the same helmet.'

"Each year, I have tried to change it somehow," he admits. "I've never had two seasons with exactly the same helmet."

That's why, this year, he opened it up to the fans. He was on the hunt for something distinctive and unlike anything on the F1 grid. The winning entry certainly delivers that.

"I was really impressed with how many good designs there were," he explained. "People really committed to the competition and it was nice to see, because it is not like you just click one button to enter. You actually needed to spend time on it, so I was very, very impressed and grateful to the fans."

When it came down to choosing the winning design, it was a tough task - especially with so many good entries to choose from. "It was very difficult," Valtteri admitted. "Initially, I got it down to about 40 or 50 pretty quickly but then it was more difficult to get down to 20 and then down to 10.

'It took quite a few days. I was looking at them again every day and, unfortunately, I had to remove them one by one until I had the winner. I felt sorry removing the designs because they were so nice, so I think the winner is very lucky.'

So, which did he choose? Andy Werner's striking entry caught Valtteri's attention and was selected as the winner - after many hours of decision-making and deliberation.

The eye-catching livery features the same sharp, modern design on both sides - but the colour schemes are asymmetrical, creating a distinctive look that sets it apart from other helmet designs on the grid.

'I really like the colours and it is quite different to any other suggestions for the design,' he explained. 'What I really liked about it is that it is different from left to right with the colours and it looks fast. That is always important.

'It is not symmetrical and I hadn't seen that very much before with other helmet designs. It is a new season and I wanted a new helmet, so hopefully I will carry this kind of helmet for the rest of my career.'

The design delivers everything Valtteri was looking for. It brings the blue and white colour scheme back, while also incorporating modern shapes and a mix of matte and gloss paint.

Well done Andy Werner!

It also includes the symbol of his home county, which is a special touch - a reminder of home and the journey Valtteri has been on.

What does Andy think about Valtteri choosing his design as the winning entry? "I knew I was taking a rather unusual and risky approach, either he's going to totally like it, or totally not," he says. "I'm really happy to see it all paid off, as he seems to be open-minded about different styles."

And which feature is his favourite? "If I am not mistaken, it's the only asymmetrical design currently in F1, so I'd go with that, and the blue of course!"

One thing's for sure, Valtteri's helmet design will certainly stand out from the rest of the 2018 F1 grid and is unlike anything the sport has seen before. It's his own trademark look that he can continue through the rest of his career.

Well done Andy Werner!