Look at me, resurrecting an old thread. Anyway, I had an idea regarding driver merchandise that I am surprised hasn't been done yet.
F1 teams all sell ball caps for each driver of their team. However, these caps are typically just a cookie cutter template with a number and some slight hint as to who the driver is. For example, Nico Hulkenberg's Sauber cap is just this bland white and black design with the number 11 and a logo.
While it is true that there are many fans that support a team more than a driver, I feel that it is more often the case where fans will support a specific driver rather than a team, meaning that fans have to get merchandise that isn't as much for their drivers as it is for their teams. And in the wild world of Formula One, drivers and teams are seldom in any sort of long term relationships. Honestly, us F1 fans follow the silly season the way certain people follow celebrity couples. So this merchandise that we get may only be relevant one or two seasons before we need new ones.
NASCAR is unique in that teams and drivers maintain the same numbers over the span of several years. Drivers like Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon have brand recognition in their numbers of 48 and 24, respectively. They have the ability to maintain their numbers and their racing seats for much longer than an F1 driver. Even Indycar is more stable than F1. But what do F1 drivers have that is unique to them and only them? What is part of their identity? If I pointed at a Sauber, how would I know Guttierrez or Hulkenberg?
Their helmets, of course! Most drivers are fairly consistent in their helmet design (unless you are Vettel, of course). So I was thinking, why hasn't anybody approached any hat maker and asked for a ballcap that looks like their helmet? I'm sure that many people would buy them. When we see a guy walking down the road wearing a hat for Alonso, we no longer will infer that he just likes Ferrari. He is an Alonso fan, and damn proud of it. And this same guy won't have to waste his money on a new hat every year so that he can be the best Alonso fan in the world. He will have his cap, Alonso's helmet cap, and he will be forever known as an Alonso fan.
So, there's my schpiel, kind of off topic to bump a thread for, but I felt like seeing what others thought. I have no idea who one would approach with this sort of idea, and if it could really be adopted by teams or drivers, but I would like to see what other forumites think.