Rider Lando Norris quit wearing a new helmet design on Saturday after discovering it could have political significance.
The Briton, who has Belgian grandparents, had introduced.
new 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 was being used by a right-wing Belgian political party, he decided not to use it anymore.
“I was not aware of the connotations of using this particular pattern when I designed the helmet,” he said. “As soon as I did, it became clear that it was not appropriate to continue using it.”
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He added that he wanted to “pay tribute to my Belgian roots and to my family, in particular my grandparents whose photo I have put on the back”.
“The helmet was never intended as a political statement, for me personally it was just an attractive design that paid homage to part of my heritage,” he said.
“I never want to cause division or offense and I understand that wearing a helmet would offend a lot of people in Belgium. With that in mind, I decided to go back to my standard helmet.”
Norris explained that he considers the Belgian race to be his second “home” event.
“I am 50% Belgian,” he said. “And 50% from the UK. We were coming here for Christmas and Easter and everyone from my mom’s side lives here.
“The only reason I would say Silverstone or Great Britain is more of a home race is because that’s where I grew up.”