The official debut of Ayrton Senna’s iconic helmet took place exactly 40 years ago this Monday. On September 23, 1979, the three-time F1 champion took part in the Karting World Championship for the second time and became runner-up at the Estoril go-kart track, in Portugal.

The helmet was designed by Sid Mosca, who had great Formula One drivers among his clients. The rules for the 1979 Karting World Championship stated that each country should sport an unique pattern, so all the Brazilian drivers wore helmets with the same layout.

As soon as Ayrton returned to Brazil, he talked to Sid and asked if he could keep the design, making it his own personal brand. Senna would then go on to make it iconic in karting, Formula Ford F3 and F1.

“It’s an honor to be celebrating the 40th anniversary of this design, which is the most iconic in F1 and motor sports in general thanks to Ayrton”, says Alan Mosca, Son of Sid, who now runs Sid Special Paint.

Alan recalled how his father had the initial idea for the helmet’s painting, in 1979. “At the time, each country was required to have its own design, and we had few days to come up with one for the Brazilian team. It was sudden burst of inspiration, which ended up becoming iconic thanks to so many wins and achievements by Senna. My father (Sid Mosca) had the amazing idea of making the green and blue stripes come out of the driver’s eyes, and many drivers still come to us asking for designs inspired by Ayrton’s helmet”, he added.

Ayrton Senna’s helmet is one of the items that has been licensed for the longest time, and part of its royalties goes to the Ayrton Senna Institute.