We get a behind the scenes look at JMD studios where Formula One helmets are designed and painted.
Read our interview with Jens Munser here.
JMD boast an impressive CV, having designed helmets for Sebastian Vettel , Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Giancarlo Fisichella, Nick Heidfeld and many, many more. Munser keeps a collection of his favourite designs in his office.
JMD were behind Schumacher’s subtle helmet changes throughout his career. “Michael told me that everyone knows he is German, so we don’t need the German flag anymore.” said Munser.
JMD are known best for creating Sebastian Vettel’s helmet designs, all 54 of them. “I show Sebastian a long list of ideas,” said Munser. “If he likes the idea then we start with the design on a computer and once done, we show him before it’s made.”
Munser started his business after designing his own Motocross helmets. “I asked where I could get a helmet painter in Germany but there wasn’t any. So I bought my own airbrush beginner set and got to work.”
One of the most original designs Munser has done was Vettel’s helmet from the Race of Champions. The Red Bull logos flash on and off! “It’s important for a creative company to showcase our ideas.”
After gathering ideas, different designs are created on a computer. “Every customer gets a mock-up of their design before it’s made, it’s much cheaper this way.”
The helmets look pretty dull until Munser and his team get to work!
After the base coat has been sprayed, sections are covered up before another layer is sprayed on.
Helmets are left to dry before the next layer is sprayed. The helmet aero parts have to be painted separately.
Sponsor logos are printed and carefully applied to each helmet. “I remember one time we created a Nick Heidfeld helmet around the logos,” said Munser. “When he was at BMW Sauber they had so many sponsors on the helmet we decided to create the lines around it.”
One of JMD’s specialties is their chrome helmets. “Tora Takagi wanted his helmet design with a chrome base. He couldn’t get one in Japan, so he asked me to do it.”
Vettel retires his helmet design after each race he wins, which keeps Munser and his team very busy. “The helmet is like a trophy for him. 2011 he won so many races, I was counting down, and realised he had no more helmets so we had to make some new ones really fast. Last year we did 16 helmets"