Hockenheim: Nico Rosberg has been forced to change the design of a special helmet to celebrate Germany’s World Cup triumph, after Fifa intervened on intellectual property grounds.
Rosberg, who has regularly posted messages in support of the German team on Twitter, released a photo of the design Tuesday, featuring the colours of the German flag, four stars and the World Cup trophy.
However, on Thursday morning the helmet was being swiftly altered to remove the image of the trophy after Fifa contacted Rosberg’s management to say they held the rights and he did not have permission to use it.
The helmet with the trophy had already been made in advance of this weekend’s German Grand Prix. There will now be one larger star to represent Germany’s victory last Sunday in the trophy’s place.
Rosberg’s agent did not check with Fifa before the design was published online. The 29-year-old German was said to be “emotional” after the win.
This all comes just days after Fifa apparently relaxed rules on people who had not won the World Cup touching the trophy. The singer Rihanna and a host of girlfriends of the players broke protocol in the celebrations.
In a statement, Fifa said: “We cannot allow a commercially branded helmet to feature the trophy as this would jeopardise the rights of our commercial affiliates.
“We appreciate Nico Rosberg’s desire to congratulate the German team and have therefore been in discussions with the Rosberg team to attempt to find a solution, whereby he is still able to show his support for Germany without using Fifa intellectual property in a commercial context."
Earlier, Rosberg has signed a multi-year contract extension with Mercedes, the team said on Wednesday.
The deal was expected, and in fact widely assumed to have been done months ago with Mercedes saying back in May, that they had long-term relationships with both Rosberg and teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Mercedes had announced in 2011 an extension with Rosberg to include 2013 and beyond, and said in a statement however that the driver’s latest contract was signed only on Monday.
“I’m looking forward to the next years together, when we will keep pushing to win even more races — and, hopefully, championships,” said Rosberg.