Drivers observe the national anthem, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

F1 drivers reminded to comply with fireproof underwear rules

2022 Australian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers have been reminded of the need to comply with the sport’s regulations on fireproof underwear.

FIA F1 race director Niels Wittich is believed to have raised the matter at yesterday’s drivers’ briefing.

The FIA International Sporting Code requires Formula 1 drivers to wear “overalls as well as gloves, long underwear, a balaclava, socks and shoes homologated to the FIA 8856-2018 standard.”

“Well I certainly won’t be checking our drivers underwear for compliance,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “I see that as a team manager role.

“Although I’m reliably informed that our drivers go ‘commando’, so hopefully it won’t be an issue for them.”

In the recent season of Netflix documentary Drive to Survive, filmed during 2021, George Russell was seen wearing what appeared to be ordinary underwear beneath a pair of racing overalls. The scene did not indicate whether he subsequently participated in a session in this state of dress, but may have prompted the latest reminder to the drivers.

Wittich has also reminded drivers this weekend of the rules requiring them not to wear certain types of jewellery while in their cars. The regulations state: “The wearing of jewellery in the form of body piercing or metal neck chains is prohibited during the competition and my therefore be checked before the start.”

Horner said the guidance on drivers’ attire made for “an entertaining drivers’ briefing yesterday.”

“But in the interests of weight saving, whether you’re losing jewellery or underwear at the moment is quite helpful for us,” he added.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “F1 drivers reminded to comply with fireproof underwear rules”

  1. The pattern seems to be repeating itself.
    When Masi started, several rules resurfaced that hadn’t been heard of for a long time, but it didn’t take long for the drivers, teams and commercial interests in F1 to eat away at that strictness and enthusiasm in applying the rules.
    Let see how the current mob are going two or three years from now.
    Given Hamilton is still proudly wearing his bling, I’d say the termites have already started their meal.

    Maybe F1 needs new race directors every year, as that appears to be the only time they fully verse themselves in all the regulations.

    1. Well, a simple points penalty for any driver who disregards the Sporting Code will quickly resolve this.

      Of course, we all look forward to understanding how the application of this long standing, safety based, Sporting Regulation is racist and the resulting change of Regulations.

    2. The prohibition on jewelry and piercings only applies to when they’re in the cars, not when they’re walking around the paddock.

      I’ve never seen Hamilton wearing “bling” in the car– they have enough of a weight problem with the W13 as it is.

      1. Nose piercing was clearly evident throughout the entire event – even while in the car with his helmet on.
        That classifies as jewellery – the exact same type the FIA are talking about.

  2. I remember that George Russell scene well, I was surprised. But again it wasn’t clear whether he was coming or going from a promo thing or an actual session. I get that fireproof leggings are hot and itchy, but you’d think after Romain reminded us of how fire can still happen that nobody would think of ‘blagging it’ and not wearing them.

    Fireproof underwear isn’t particularly useful if it only covers the top half of your body.

    As with jewellery these aren’t new rules, I think it’s just the FIA giving a reminder that perhaps they’ve let some things slip in recent years and is a reminder. You can’t wear studs or chains in most sports (maybe golf?), it’s just an unnecessary complication that it’s easier to do without.

  3. “Well I certainly won’t be checking our drivers underwear for compliance,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “I see that as a team manager role.
    “But in the interests of weight saving, whether you’re losing jewellery or underwear at the moment is quite helpful for us,” he added.

    So, yeah, that reads a bit as washing his hands of it while giving incentive to not comply with the safety rule? Or maybe just being flippant, of course.

    I too get that it is all a bit warm and such, but we have seen how important complete coverage in layers is (and those aren’t bits that you want burned either …), so it’s important to remind drivers at times. The jewelry rule too is a safety thing, so I hope all concerned keep that in mind.

    1. Personally I am not too sure how a thing like a nose bud, or a small pin in the ear will really impact safety measurably (although I am fine with enforcing it, just to make it clear to everyone).

      Thing is though, to make this stick they would have to investigate and punish at least in some way any driver actually wearing even those minimal items – we could all see during the live broadcast that Hamilton was still wearing his piercing (nose bud? or whatever we call it) he has in his nose during qualifying.

      If they don’t act at all on it, then we get in a situation where ignoring things despite having first called for heeding this rule actually might hamper enforcement in future cases.

      1. I read elsewhere that its a fine for wearing studs, etc. in other categories. Not that the rule will ever be fully enforced. As I think Ham and Max demonstrated by winding up the media about Max’s nipple ring. Who is going to check that one out?
        And no one from the FIA is ever going to go rummaging around in someone’s underwear looking if they are sporting a prince albert or the female equivalent.

      2. This is not attributing to safety itself, but in case of an accident and an MRI scan has to be made or surgery is needed, paramedics do not want to bother with removing piercings.

  4. With the jewellery thing – i certainly saw that Hamilton was still wearing his nose bud, not sure about any necklaces or earbuds (not to mention piercings on other parts of their bodies) drivers are wearing, are they going to go after them for it?

    During the qualifying broadcast Palmer mentioned that he did use to wear normal underpants under his fire proof racing sutff, so I guess there are more drivers who do that.

  5. Priorities.

    1. Burning your jewels quickly changes perspective.

    2. Correct rules enforcement isn’t a priority?

      1. If the FIA are not prepared to look around and inside both men and women’s private bits; and Gasly has challenged them rather crudely to do so today, then the rule cannot be correctly enforced anyway.

        1. They can easily ban externally visible ones though, ian.

        2. Valid underwear has a fire test stamp on the outside, so there’s no reason to require anyone to disrobe. A more practical method of enforcement would simply be to “check in” the underwear to be used and report any instance of visibly wearing something else. (In the same way, you’ll never be able to check if everyone’s racing without a belly stud at all times, but sighting a breach of the regulations would be pragmatically enforceable).

  6. Put a new slant on ‘Liar, liar, pants on fire’ as this will now contravene the Sporting Code…

  7. Another anti-Hamilton rule *sarcasm*

    Remember this popped up a long time ago with Christian Klien’s earring ;-)

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