Sir Lewis Hamilton is continuing to lead the protests against Formula 1’s jewellery ban and has hinted that he will boycott future races if it is upheld.
In April, the FIA announced that they would be cracking down on drivers wearing jewellery while in the car, informing them that they would be forced to remove any rings, piercings, watches, and bracelets that did not comply with their regulations, or risk being stopped from racing.
F1 race director Niels Wittich said: ‘The wearing of jewellery during the competition can hinder both medical interventions as well as subsequent diagnosis and treatment should it be required following an accident.
‘The presence of jewellery can slow the emergency removal of driver safety equipment such as helmet, balaclava, and overalls.
‘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.’
But Hamilton, who has already stated his unhappiness with the rules, went one step further to show his discontent at this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix, turning up to Friday’s press conference wearing rings on every finger, three watches and several necklaces.
‘When they [the FIA] told me about the jewellery, they were saying safety is everything,’ the Mercedes man claimed.
‘I said, “Well, what’s happened for the last 16 years? I’ve had jewellery on for 16 years. So was safety not an issue back then?”
‘I feel like it’s almost like a step backwards, if you think about the steps we are taking as a sport, and the more important causes that we need to be focused on.
‘I think we’ve made really great strides as a sport. This is such a small thing.’
Hamilton has several piercings on his body, some of which he claims cannot be removed, and as such the seven-time world champion has been given an exemption for the next two races.
But the 37-year-old is ready to boycott any future grand prix if the FIA don’t relax their rules.
‘I got an exemption here, I’ll get an exemption the rest of the year. Wedding rings are allowed,’ Hamilton added.
‘If they stop me, then so be it. We’ve got a spare driver so we’re all ready and prepped for the weekend. There’s lots to do in the city anyway!’
Other drivers also share Hamilton’s view on the subject, with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly saying: ‘I do believe there are bigger things to focus on.
‘I have a religious item that I wear with me when I’m racing which is important to me. I don’t feel comfortable not having that in the car.
‘I do feel like its personal, we should have the freedom to do what we feel is right for us. At the end of the day, we have the responsibility to go out there and put our lives at risk. It should be a personal choice.’
Meanwhile, Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel turned up to Saturday’s qualifying session wearing boxer shorts over his race overalls, seemingly mocking the FIA’s stance on drivers not being allowed to wear non-fire-proof underwear.
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