MIAMI | The International Automobile Federation (FIA) does not want to laugh at safety and imposes hefty fines on anyone who does not follow its instructions.
As such, this jewelry story created a lot of conversation this weekend at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, as drivers were informed that they had to remove all of their jewelry before taking the wheel.
The main target of this rather surprising measure is certainly Lewis Hamilton, who wears very visible necklaces and bracelets.
Angry, the seven-time world champion did not hide his displeasure when he was informed of the intentions of the FIA management.
On Friday, he showed his frustration at a press conference when he prominently appeared in front of journalists with his rings and necklaces, as well as three wristwatches displaying three different time zones.
The FIA added a layer of this by also banning watches while most drivers are associated with watchmakers as sponsors.
“If they want me to stop racing, let them do it,” Hamilton exclaimed. We have reserve drivers who are ready to take over and I am ready to step down. There’s a lot to do in Miami and I won’t have any trouble keeping busy.
“We have made great strides to improve our sport and our safety,” he continued. I’ve been in this sport for 16 years and have been wearing jewelry for 16 years. I don’t see why that should change…”
After May 29th
If the FIA stands by its positions, it has also accepted a compromise. Hamilton and the other drivers have until May 29 (after the Monaco Grand Prix) to comply with his demands.
The Brit must remove all his jewellery, including his nose piercing and earrings, before heading out onto the track behind the wheel of his Mercedes.
According to the FIA, “the wearing of jewelry and watches following an accident may hamper medical procedures and subsequent diagnosis and treatment, if necessary”.
After May 29, pilots will be subjected to strict controls. If they don’t follow the instructions, they could be fined about CA$70,000 for a first violation and $340,000 for a second.
The third penalty would add a loss of championship points to the $340,000 fine.
For the record, this ban on wearing jewelry was introduced in 2005 but never actually implemented. However, the situation will soon change.
Another controversy that seems to be gaining ground in F1 is this measure, still imposed by the FIA, which forces drivers to wear fireproof underwear, i.e. fireproof, under their uniform.
Sebastian Vettel caught the eye on Friday as he wandered the paddock in boxer shorts over his racing suit, delighting photographers who walked by and fueling social media.
“It was just a joke,” said the Aston Martin team driver. It was my way of showing that there are more important things in Formula 1 than underwear…”