Norris forced to ditch 'offensive' special Belgian GP helmet


McLaren's Lando Norris was forced to lay aside a special helmet livery that paid tribute to his Belgian heritage as the motif was deemed potentially offensive.

Norris, whose mother Cisca is Belgian, had whipped up for this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa a design that featured a picture of his Belgian grand parents, but also a motif that showcased a rampant lion, or the official symbol of the Flemish community.

However, the emblem is also a political symbol used by a nationalist movement in Flanders. The representation coupled with the fact that the Belgian Grand Prix takes place in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of southern Belgium, was viewed as ill-inspired although Norris insisted he had no idea about the negative or offensive connotation.

"I wanted a helmet design this weekend to pay tribute to my Belgian roots and my family, in particular my grandparents whose picture I put on the back," said the McLaren driver.

"I wasn’t aware of the connotations around the use of this particular motif when I designed the helmet but as soon as I was, it was clear that it was inappropriate to continue using it.”

"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 added.

"However, 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."

As a reminder, Norris isn't the only driver on the grid who is half-Belgian, with Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll both enjoying a Belgian heritage thanks to their mother.

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