Sebastian Vettel has stated criticism directed at his "no war" Ukrainian helmet at F1 testing "fails the message".
Vettel received a backlash from the Cyprus Automobile Association after including the Turkish Cypriot flag on the bottom rim of his helmet.
In a statement, the CAA described the inclusion of the imagery, a flag recognised only in Turkey, as "unacceptable and condemnable".
It added: "The Cyprus Automobile Association demands the immediate withdrawal of the pseudo-state flag from the driver’s helmet, but also the imposition of a penalty on both him and his team."
Asked about the complaint, Vettel said: "Obviously, I wish I would have not come up with the design because there was no need so obviously it's a strong sign just to show support.
"All the drivers got together on Wednesday and we thought we would use the opportunity just to show that we are united and take a stand.
"It's horrible what is happening. It's like a nightmare and we don't wake up, that's the simple reason why my helmet design is quite simple but effective and I decided to go that way.
"Around the bottom is an opportunity as a small sign to have all the flags of the world, and I didn't check all of the flags.
"Apparently there were some issues so I took the little sticker off because some people got upset.
"I think that fails the message. The message is obviously that the whole world should be united and is united to fight war.
"We grew up in times of peace and I think we appreciate peace a lot so therefore as I said, it is like a nightmare and a shock to see the images and to see what is happening, to hear the news."