PRODUCTION has started at a Bahrain-based helmet factory that will outfit Formula One champions, Gulf Daily News (GDN) has learned.
Bell Racing Helmets factory is based in Sakhir, part of a one-million square-meter plot of land earmarked for the development by the Bahrain International Circuit.
Chief executive Martine Kindt Cohen told the GDN that production had started but the factory was not fully operational yet.
“The opening isn’t scheduled for this week, we will do it a little later when the factory is fully operational,” she said.
“We’re still in a transit period as some of the machines are still arriving from other locations,” she said.
“I am hoping by September we should have 100 to 120 staff. The design and research team are already here,” Cohen added.
She said current Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton was testing out their helmets, which were also worn by former champion Kimi Raikkonen.
“We have Ferrari with Kimi Raikkonen, we have the Lotus team with both drivers [Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado] and test drivers [Jolyon Palmer, Carmen Jorda and Adderly Fong],” she added.
“At Ferrari, we have all spare drivers and GT drivers. We also have Marcus Ericsson. We have Lewis Hamilton – I mean, that’s really nice. He’s been trying the helmet for two or three races – he was using it in the qualifying session on Saturday [before the Bahrain Grand Prix],” she said.
“They all use the same helmet, except that it’s personalized for them,” Cohen added.
GDN earlier reported up to 30,000 racing helmets will be made in Bahrain every year once the factory starts production.