F1 jewellery concerns comes to a head in Miami

Lewis Hamilton

Concern surrounding jewellery worn by Formula 1 drivers while on track has come to a head at the Miami Grand Prix.

Heading into the event, race director Niels Wittich reaffirmed the FIA’s intent to apply the letter of the International Sporting Code.

Specifically, he noted two articles which cited flame-resistant clothing and the wearing of jewellery, both items discussed at length during the drivers’ briefing for the Australian Grand Prix last month.

Wittich issued his reminder to teams via a ‘Scrutineering Declaration Form’, requiring it to be signed to confirm drivers were in compliance with the regulations.

It was a move seen by many drivers as confrontational, with Lewis Hamilton appearing in the Friday press conference wearing three watches, rings on all his fingers, earrings, a nose piercing, and hefty neck chain, apparently in protest.

“I couldn’t get any more jewellery on today,” he said.

“I feel like it’s almost a backwards step. If you think of the steps we’re taking as a sport, and the more important issues and causes that we need to be focused on, and really pushing us, I think we made such great strides as a sport.

“This is such a small thing,” he added.

“I’ve been in the sport 16 years, I’ve been wearing jewellery for 16 years.

“In the car, I only have my earrings on, and my nose ring, of which I can’t even remove.

“So, it seems unnecessary for us to get into this spot.”

The Brit went on to imply he could simply sit out the event if things could not be resolved.

“I can’t remove at least two of them,” he noted.

“I can’t really explain where it is, but what I can say is its platinum that I have, so it’s not magnetic.

“It’s never been a safety issue in the past. I’ve had, in 16 years, so many MRI scans and not had to take the platinum, for example, because it’s not been an issue.

“If they stop me, then we’ve got a spare driver, so we’re all ready and prepped for the weekend.”

Hamilton then stressed that he didn’t want to fight the FIA on the issue, and that he felt it was a case of individual choice and responsibility, a view shared by Pierre Gasly.

“I’m willing to sign a waiver to take the responsibility away from them in that respect if I need to,” Hamilton said when asked if he’ll have further discussions with the FIA.

“It’s about individuality and being who you are.”

Gasly added: “I appreciate the FIA looking after our safety, that’s also their priority and our priority.

“My personal case, I have also religious item that I wear with me when I’m racing, which are important to me, which I don’t feel comfortable not having with me driving the car.

“I do feel it’s a little bit personal,” he added.

“We should have the freedom to do what feels right for us. The end of the day, we have the responsibility to go out there, put out life at risk, and I do feel it will be a personal choice.

“But I respect the FIA and their will to always improve the safety, but I’d appreciate a talk with them to see if we can find a better solution that such a strict kind of decision as they made.”

Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section

Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]