Formula 1: McLaren's Lando Norris Will Run Valentino Rossi Safety Gear at Monza

Norris' shoe and helmet liveries will pay tribute to the larger-than-life Italian MotoGP rider.

Lando Norris

McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris will pay tribute to the great MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi this weekend, by wearing Rossi-themed driving shoes and crash helmet at the 2019 Italian Grand Prix. Rossi, who was born in Urbino, Italy, is a passionate F1 fan and has even enjoyed stints behind the wheel of retired Ferrari F1 cars. Norris, on the other hand, is a self-proclaimed motorcycle racing fan, and recently visited Rossi at the 2019 MotoGP Grand Prix of Silverstone in the U.K.

Norris will sport the iconic (and quite bright) sun design that's become synonymous of Rossi, on both his shoes and helmet. The design itself is blue with the bright yellow sun, but instead of featuring Rossi's 46 it simply reads "4," which is Norris' own number in Formula 1. In fact, Motorsport reports that Norris was tempted to choose 46 as his main racing number when he entered the F1 field last year, but "he didn't want to be a copy cat."

"I already spoke to Valentino quite a while ago, just on social media, trying to sort this – because I obviously had to ask him if I could do that," Norris told Motorsport.

"It was an opportunity to make this race more special and more of a one-off and something to remember it by, and that was by having more of a connection with Valentino, the guy I've always looked up to, My hero. So it is more of a dedication to him than anything else."

The young driver's racing shoes, much like his helmet, will also feature the Rossi sun logo and will be custom made by Alpinestars, who also provides the rest of the youngster's racing gear. It's unclear if the multiple-time MotoGP world champion will visit Norris at Monza, especially since its Rossi's home race and an "off weekend" for MotoGP.