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Formula 1

Hamilton/FIA jewellery stand-off reaches its conclusion

by Edd Straw
2 min read

Lewis Hamilton’s stand-off with the FIA over the wearing of jewellery has come to an end, with the Mercedes Formula 1 driver removing his nose stud for the first time for Friday practice at the British Grand Prix.

Niels Wittich, one of two new race directors for 2022, has historically been fastidious in upholding the letter of the law when it comes to what drivers are wearing even before moving into an F1 role. He started to clamp down on F1 drivers wearing certain types of jewellery earlier this season, with teams being told in Australia in April that such moves were afoot.

The basis for this is concerns that jewellery can increase heat transmission and therefore increase the possibility of injuries in the event of a fire.

The rule preventing drivers wearing jewellery is covered in Appendix L of the FIA International Sporting Code. This states that “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 this did create question marks about exactly what was prohibited, with some drivers able to wear wedding rings and Hamilton criticising the inconsistency.

Hamilton was given an exemption covering the races in May and June for the removal of certain items that could not be easily removed. But in keeping with the exemption ending, at Silverstone he has made a change after what Mercedes regards as good and positive ongoing dialogue with the FIA.

A nose stud was present on the outside of Hamilton’s left nostril as recently as on Friday before the start of practice, but it was gone once he got into the car.

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes F1

This appears to bring to an end an occasionally-fractious and very public debate, which included Hamilton’s visual statement during the Friday press conference for the Miami Grand Prix where he appeared wearing multiple chains, watches and rings. Sebastian Vettel also wore underpants outside his race overalls in Miami to make fun of the situation.

Speaking on Thursday, Hamilton confirmed he was working with the FIA to ensure that he could race but downplayed the relevance of the issue.

“It’s kind of crazy to think that, with everything that’s going on in the world, that this is a focus for people,” said Hamilton. “It’s worry that we’ve got so much bigger fish to fry.

“But, yes, we’ve really got to start focusing on other more important areas.

“I will be racing this weekend, I will be working with the FIA. I would say the matter is not particularly massively important.

“So I will work with Mohammed [Ben Sulayem, FIA president] and with his team so that we can progress forwards.”

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