The FIA reiterates ban on helmet-mounted cameras

Columns: Close Up
The FIA has issued an informative note that reminds us of the rules regarding the use of helmet-mounted action cameras, as well as a couple of memoranda on other appendages and visors.

In many "adrenaline-powered" sports, the use of action cameras - whose accessories allow them to be mounted almost anywhere - has been part of the game for years. However, safety has often been discussed, especially in the event of an accident. The FIA has returned to the subject these days, reiterating the prohibition of their use in FIA karting and consequently wherever national regulations are inspired by FIA directives. Article 7 "Equipment Safety" of the Karting Technical Regulations states that any addition of devices, aerodynamic or other, to helmets is forbidden if not homologated for use with the helmet concerned. This article also refers to Appendix L of the International Sporting Code, which establishes the rules in force for the use of helmet accessories. (Appendix available for download on the official FIA website).

As the main reason for the publication of the note, it was pointed out that the FIA had been contacted numerous times regarding additional cameras that can be mounted on helmets, and in this regard wanted to clarify the correct interpretation of the regulations. According to Article 1.4 of Chapter III "Drivers' Equipment, Helmet Modifications" of Appendix L of the International Sporting Code, "[...], Accessories must be fitted in accordance with the helmet manufacturer's instructions. Only FIA-approved accessories shall be used. Any other modification or addition of non-approved accessories (helmet cameras, visors, etc.) will render the FIA helmet homologation void.”

Any accessories not approved by the FIA moreover cannot be used during any of the championships listed in the FIA International Sporting Calendar and here the term "accessories" clearly also refers to the cameras mounted on the helmets. As with any other accessory, if the camera is not indicated as an FIA-approved accessory for a specific helmet, the helmet cannot be considered as complying with the FIA rules, and its use is forbidden in all cases where compliance with FIA helmet standards is compulsory.

To justify such a restrictive regulation in this regard, the reasons given are mainly twofold: the mounting of cameras significantly reduces the safety performance of the helmet and they pose a potential threat to the wearer.

As for the use of helmet anchorage systems, it was reminded that it is not necessary during FIA events or in categories where the driver does not wear a frontal head restraint (FHR), and in addition, it was strongly recommended to remove the anchorage by unscrewing its nuts/bolts as the protrusion of such systems may induce forces on the driver's neck during an accident event in case of contact of the anchorage with the ground.

Finally, a note on non-original visors has become necessary since a considerable number of fake visors have been noticed on FIA homologated helmets in FIA kart events. Replacing the visor of a helmet is forbidden and dangerous as non-compliant or original parts may not guarantee the same level of safety as the original. The safety problems most frequently detected on non-original visors were the failure to pass the penetration test (i.e. the visor may not guarantee the same level of protection in the event of impact with a moving object) and secondly the coating, which if non-compliant may make it difficult for the driver to detect the signal lights and their color.

Created by: scorradengo - 17/03/22

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