Ahead of last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, the FIA reminded drivers that the sport’s rules outlaw the wearing of certain jewellery on safety grounds.
The long-standing regulation, which forms Article 5 of the third chapter of Appendix L from the governing body’s International Sporting Code, was highlighted in the event notes released for the Melbourne event by race director Niels Wittich.
The full wording of the rule states: “The wearing of jewellery in the form of body piercing or metal neck chains is prohibited during the competition and may therefore be checked before the start.”
With enforcement of the rule having not been in place for many years, the reminder has come as part of a desire by F1 race director Wittich to ensure safety standards are as high as possible – especially with lessons learned from Romain Grosjean’s fiery crash at the 2020 Bahrain GP.
But while there are obvious safety grounds that have prompted the decision, Hamilton believes that enforcement is a step too far.
Furthermore, he says that it is physically impossible for him to remove some of his ear-rings so he will be unable to comply with the FIA request.
“I don’t have any plans on removing [jewellery],” he said. “I feel there are personal things. You should be able to be who you are.
“There’s stuff that I can’t move. So I can’t even take these out. These ones on my right ear, they’re literally welded in. So I will have to get them chopped off or something like that. So they will be staying.”
The jewellery clampdown, on a weekend when the FIA has also made clear it wants to enforce a requirement for drivers to wear fireproof underwear, has not drawn universal support from drivers.
And while it is the first notable clash between the new race directors and the competitors, the situation is unlikely to escalate.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told the Press Association this week that he was not sure it was wise for the FIA to pick an early fight over jewellery, but saw the bigger picture.
Speaking about the job Wittich had done, Wolff said: “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.”