Fernando Alonso will wear a replica of his Indy 500 helmet on his return to racing in America at the U.S. Grand Prix.
Alonso's shock appearance at this year's Indianapolis Motor Speedway was one of the biggest motor racing stories in recent memory. Disillusioned by Honda's slow start to the current F1 campaign, he was given permission to race in a McLaren-Andretti Autosport entry powered by the Japanese manufacturer.
In a hugely impressive rookie appearance, the Spaniard qualified fifth and was running in a promising position when his engine failed late in the race. The Spaniard has vowed to one day go back to the race as he wants to secure the Triple Crown -- victory at the Monaco Grand Prix, which he has won twice, Indy 500 and Le Mans 24 Hours -- before he retires.
The Spaniard's helmet at the Indy 500 marked a departure from his usual F1 designs. For the famous oval event he wore a predominantly black lid with red, yellow and blue stripes running around it. The only difference in the design he will wear in Austin is that it will carry No. 14 -- the number he chose for the rest of his F1 career in 2014 -- as opposed to the No.29 he carried on his orange car in the final two weeks of May.
In 2014 F1 banned helmet changes in a season to help fans better identify their favourite drivers, but that rule has been relaxed in recent years and now allows small alterations to be made to the main design and for each driver to have a one-off race special. Haas' Romain Grosjean has already revealed the helmet he wear in Austin, which features a tribute design to former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden, who died in a road accident earlier this year.
Alonso's future is still unclear beyond 2017, though his only option for a place on next year's grid appears to be McLaren. The team's decision to drop Honda in favour of Renault is believed to have been enough to convince him to stay, though there are suggestions in the Spanish press that the latest hold-up is due to his desire to contest next year's Le Mans 24 Hours in some capacity.
The U.S. Grand Prix starts at 1400 local time in Austin on October 22.