McLaren driver Lando Norris on Saturday abandoned wearing a new helmet design after discovering that it may have political significance.
The Briton, who has Belgian grandparents, had introduced a new-look helmet for the Belgian Grand Prix, which included a black lion on a yellow background, the flag of the Flemish region.
But when he was informed that the image is used by a Belgian right-wing political party, he decided to stop using it.
« I wasn’t aware of the connotations around the use of this particular motif when I designed the helmet, » he said. « As soon as I was, it was clear that it was inappropriate to continue using it. »
He added that he had wished to « pay tribute to my Belgian roots and my family, in particular my grandparents whose picture I put on the back ».
« The helmet was never intended to be a political statement, for me personally it was simply a cool design that paid tribute to part of my heritage, » he said.
« I never want to cause division or offence and I understand that using the helmet would have offended many people in Belgium. With that in mind, I’ve decided to go back to my standard helmet. »
« I’m 50 per cent Belgian, » he said. « And 50 per cent from the UK. We used to come here for Christmas and Easter and everyone on my mum’s side lives out here.
« The only reason I would say Silverstone or the GB race is more of a home race is just because that’s where I’ve grown up. »
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