Valtteri Botta will be racing in the Australian Grand Prix in Naarm on Sunday in a very special helmet. The Finnish driver's helmet features a design by Dja Dja Wurrung artist Ricky Kildea.
While Mr Kildea is more familiar with painting AFL footballs, he stepped out of his comfort zone for this design.
Mr Kildea had his work cut out for him, creating not one but two designs for a pair of helmets that will be auctioned off after the race.For Mr Kildea, art has been a way to express his cultural identity.
"I am proud of my Aboriginal identity – and painting for me is a way of strengthening my connection to it," he said.
Ricky Kildea designed two helmets for the Finnish racecar driver, with the first to be worn during his race. Source: Supplied / Alfa Romero
The proceeds will be donated to two projects that support the local Indigenous community. The first is the Koorie Academy Basketball, a not-for-profit organisation supporting Aboriginal children who want to play sports. With the donation, the organisation can support Aboriginal youth in Geelong through a basketball clinic and a cultural workshop.
The other half of the donations will be given to The Mooroopna Kinder Project, which supports families who face financial barriers when accessing childcare.
Mr Kildea has combined his two loves, sports and art, to make a difference for his mob."I am passionate about making a real difference within the Aboriginal community," he said.For Mr Bottas the chance to wear Mr Kildea's design is a privilege."He's a very talented artist, and I enjoyed the creative process behind the helmets," he said.
"I reckon they are two of the finest designs I have ever brought on track."
Valterri Bottas holding his helmet which features a design created by Ricky Kildea. Credit: Alfa Romero
Whilst being an international athlete, Mr Bottas says he's committed to ensuring the utmost respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people."We were committed to paying a special tribute to the Indigenous community," he explained."Hence, the collaboration with Ricky was born."
The auction of Valtteri Bottas’ race-worn Australian Grand Prix helmet will run on f1authentics.com.