Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has hit back at the FIA after they demanded that drivers stop wearing jewellery during F1 races.
The comments were made by new F1 race director Niels Wittich before the Australian Grand Prix. He reminded drivers not to wear jewellery whilst in the car.
The FIA primarily want the rule to be adhered to due to the risk of suffering an injury in a heavy collision or crash as a result of wearing jewellery.
The banning of jewellery has been in place since 2005. It was described as “an immediate ban on the wearing of jewellery (body piercing and heavy chains) by race and rally competitors”.
At the time, Reuters noted that several F1 drivers wore some jewellery. Michael Schumacher, for instance, had a lucky amulet that was given to him by his wife.
The rule was also approved by the FIA‘s medical commission and referred to as a ‘ban on bling’.
Why is the F1 jewellery ban making the headlines now?
Autosport claim that the rule has been brought up again because of drivers being spotted wearing jewellery whilst in their cars. There is the suggestion that it could make it harder to escape the cockpit after a heavy crash.
The rule is not directed at any one individual. It is also unclear how many drivers have been wearing jewellery in their cars or their exact identities.
But the jewellery saga has prompted some criticism. For instance, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff questioned if it was a debate that Wittich needed to be having early on in his tenure as race director.
He told PA: “How he has run the first few races has been respectful, solid, and he hasn’t put a single foot wrong. But is that [jewellery ban] a battle he needs to have at this stage?
“However, if it turns out to be the biggest unfortunate misstep of a race director, I would take it a thousand times over.”
Read: Toto Wolff slams “liability” Michael Masi over Abu Dhabi saga
Lewis Hamilton responds to jewellery ban
Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, is another to have questioned the FIA over the jewellery ban debate.
The 37-year-old is well-known for wearing jewellery around the paddock, including earrings.
Hamilton told Sky Sports after the Australian Grand Prix: “I don’t plan on taking them out. I feel they are personal things. You should be able to be who you are. There’s stuff I can’t move.
“I literally can’t take these [right ear piercings] out. They’re literally welded on, so I’d have to get them chopped off or something. So they’ll be staying.”
During a pre-race press conference with Max Verstappen, Hamilton had already alluded to his plans regarding jewellery.
He commented: “I mean, it’s been the rule forever. Since I’ve been here, it’s been the rule, so there’s nothing news. I’m just going to come up with more jewellery next week.”
All eyes will be on Hamilton when he arrives at Imola for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix this weekend.
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