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Helmets and Belts: Notes From The Scrutineering Bay

Many helmets with a 2010 standard expired at the end of 2023, whilst a number of drivers continue to be confused about which harnesses do, or don't have a date extension. To avoid disappointment (there is no discretion on these safety critical items), please, check your belts and helmets are valid, before you turn up at the circuit.


Our Chief Scrutineer, Tony Harman has kindly put this article together, following his observations and concerns at our Donington track day and Snetterton test day.



The mysterious world of helmet labelling!

I hope you have noticed the publicity around the withdrawal of helmet standard "Snell SA2010" at the end of 2023 for UK Motorsport?


There is often confusion around the labels found in motorsport helmets.

Some helmets may carry 2 standards. These are dual standard which will be both an FIA & Snell standard labels. In this case the FIA standard is the overruling standard. In some cases only the FIA Label is used.

The acceptable standards listed in the Blue Book from 2024 are;

FIA 8860-2018-ABP FIA 8860-2010 (Expires 31/12/28)

FIA 8859-2015 SNELL SA2015 (Expires 31/12/26)

FIA 8860-2018 SNELL SA2020

An FIA label should always have a hologram sticker placed over the top left hand corner.

(ABP stands for Advanced Ballistic Protection and only required in F1, F2, F3)

There is a situation that can arise where a helmet has an expired Snell 2010 standard label but an in date FIA standard label, in this case the FIA standard overrides the Snell standard.

However, be aware that there is a different FIA label usually found in combination with a Snell label that only applies to the FHR mounts and not the helmet. It looks like this:


The FIA standard reads 8856-2010

It is permitted to unscrew mounts from an existing helmet and fit to a new one, provided the standard marked on the mounts is 8858-2010 and the helmet has manufacturer fitted M6 mounts.

The last of the helmet stickers is the Motorsport UK sticker that Scrutineers put on the helmet after first inspection. Although this has a date on it there is no expiry, providing the helmet standard is in date.


If you are competing abroad, e.g. at either of our Spa events, then helmets must have an FIA approval standard, Snell alone is not acceptable at FIA events.

 

Harnesses/Belts

A frequently asked question is the expiry date of seat belts and which ones have the extension of that expiry permitted by Motorsport UK.

At the end of 2018 there was a change to the homologation standard of race harnesses brought about by improved test methods brought in by the FIA. In light of this, Motorsport UK decided to allow a five year extension on belts with the new standard 8853-2016

As the new standard was introduced for 2019 we are now going to see very few belts with this standard in date.

 

It is very easy to tell if you have the latest standard, it will have a gold FIA Hologram label

Pictures show the left hand shoulder strap with the full information label and FIA Hologram sewn in.

The above label for is for current standard 8853-2016 with a gold FIA hologram. This particular set of belts will be valid until end of 2026 for Spa, and extended to end of 2031 for UK National events only.

 

The left shoulder label below is for the previous standard 8853-98, with a silver FIA hologram. There is no extension on the date on these belts. The expiry is the expiry!


 

The remaining straps will all have a standards label similar to this:

Important - you cannot mix straps, they must be installed as complete sets only.

To repeat, if you are competing abroad, e.g. Spa, then belts must be in date on the label, there is NO date extension, that is for UK National events only.

A note on installation. If wrapping the shoulder straps around a ROPS bar then it should be installed as per the picture, with the tail of the strap going back through the adjuster a third time, if this isn’t done the adjuster can move.


There are some belts which have a different type of strap adjuster where the belt threads so that it clamps in tension back against the mounting plate and does not go back through.


Motorsport UK publish guidelines on seat belt installation, in particular the allowable angles for straps.



 

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