Hamilton says he hasn’t backed down in row with FIA over jewellery

2022 Miami Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton denied he has backed down in his row with the FIA over the wearing of jewellery during races.

The seven-times world champion confirmed he has been given an exemption to wear certain items of jewellery this weekend. This follows FIA Formula 1 race director Niels Wittich’s decision to require teams to affirm their drivers will abide by rules forbidding them from wearing jewellery during races.

Before practice began at the circuit on Friday the FIA initially stated Mercedes had not given the required confirmation regarding Hamilton in their pre-race scrutineering declaration. Shortly before the session began the FIA announced the required paperwork had been completed.

“I got an exemption here,” Hamilton explained after today’s qualifying session. He made it clear he does not intend this to be a temporary arrangement, adding: “I’ll get [an] exemption for the rest of the year.”

“Wedding rings are allowed,” he added. Hamilton also pointed out he began wearing jewellery many years earlier and the FIA had not previously stopped him.

“This whole safety thing, when they told me about the jewellery they were saying ‘well, safety is everything’. I said ‘well, what’s happened the last 16 years?'”

“I’ve had jewellery over 16 years so was safety not an issue back then?” he added, laughing.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Miami International Autodrome, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Miami Grand Prix qualifying day in pictures
The Mercedes driver showed up to the pre-race press conference wearing a large assortment of earrings and chains plus three watches. He joked he’ll “wear four watches next time!”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff expects Hamilton will reach an agreement with FIA race director Mohamed Ben Sulayem over the piercings.

“I think what was needed was a dialogue between Lewis and Mohammed,” he said. “It is clear that regulations are here to protect the drivers. On the other side we need to keep the possibility on diversity and the means of expression and expressing yourself and we know that this is important for Lewis.

“Yesterday, without going into detail where the piercing stayed and were not… I’m sure they will come to a good resolution.”

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Keith Collantine
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77 comments on “Hamilton says he hasn’t backed down in row with FIA over jewellery”

  1. Hamiltons point is not valid. HANS devices were not always required, but were made manditory for safety. Just because something has been done historically does not mean its ok in the future, especially when it comes to safety. Requirements will always change in the future for safety. The argument “but we have done it for years” does not stack up when it is a safety directive.

    1. When its attached well and only affects the person wearing it, I don’t see an issue. It doesn’t affect anyone outside the cockpit and it’s a personal choice.
      I also don’t see how a wedding ring is different to any other plain metal band, either.
      Most workplaces that restrict jewellery have an exception for wedding rings, which is illogical to me. Some even say ‘Plain gold band’. Mines titanium, much less likely to break or contaminate food, etc.

      Some rules are just badly thought out.

      Watches, or jewellery that can easily catch on things or get ripped off is a stupid idea in many environments though, including a racing car.

      1. Hamilton have an accident have to go to a MRI machine with urgency…

        1. Gold, Titanium, or other metals commonly used in jewellery are not magnetic. And there are plenty of other ways to scan.

          1. I recently had an MRI and was told I had to remove all jewelry including my wedding band.

      2. @sham Why do drives have to wear seat belt? It wouldn’t effect anybody else in case of an accident…

    2. You can’t moan that the rules weren’t applied properly at Abu Dhabi then flout them openly a few races later!
      Maybe he’ll be regretting getting Masi fired now!

      1. Totally agree, its in the rule book. Same for everyone, but one person thinks they are above the rules. The same person who complained all off season about rules not being followed to the letter of the rule book… now he wants an exemption to the rule book?

  2. Archie Brand
    8th May 2022, 2:39

    It appears that Hamilton may not be the sharpest spoiler on the body kit.
    For how many years was refuelling considered OK, until they banned it.
    For how many years was it acceptable not to have seatbelts?
    What about open cockpits before the halo was introduced.
    Stop being such a diva, you tart. You are not bigger than the sport. In fact this season it appears that you are not even bigger than George Russell.
    Personally I think the governing body should issue a rule saying you are not allowed to race with tattoos and cornbraids.
    That would give you something to complain about.

    1. Archie Brand
      8th May 2022, 2:40

      It’s called progress.

      1. LOL, nice rant Archie Bunker!

  3. I find it very ridiculous that the FIA is raising hell about something so absolutely irrelevant as a driver having 3 platinum piercings while driving. Something that will only be a relatively minor issue in the most contrived set of circumstances. What’s the issue? They’ll get hot when the driver is in the middle of hell?

    Meanwhile they approve a street track with bare concrete barriers, causing a 51G impact for a crash that should have never been that bad.

    1. @casjo

      This feels like just the tip of a much bigger iceberg. Andrew Benson and Craig Slater have reported this weekend that bin Sulayem is behind this push, and Benson says that this is related to the FIA holding up the plan for six sprint races for more money. It all seems like a transparent power play from the FIA.

      I wonder if the FIA are playing with fire. According to Benson, “senior F1 figures” are trying to decide whether they even need the FIA. Take that FWIW, but after the events of the past season, I have to imagine that Liberty are not impressed with the FIA’s level of competency. And from their perspective, as a US company, I imagine the structure of F1 — where they effectively own the league yet don’t control its competition — looks like something of a historical relic. No other major US sports league relies on an independent body to sanction their events. They all run their own shows, employ their own referees, write their own rulebooks. And the FIA, through its own actions, has made it increasingly difficult to argue that they are a source of legitimacy or credibility for F1.

      I have no idea whether F1 would be able to wrestle away that authority from the FIA, but a priori, it doesn’t feel so far-fetched to imagine F1 hiring its own race director, creating its own safety standards, homologating its own tracks, and writing its own sporting regulations.

      1. From a logistics point of view and the relations some of the country governments will have wit F1 (Liberty) it makes very little sense as most of the preferential treatment the organization receives comes from the FIA umbrella. It will take years and in some cases might be unfeasible to gain the same level of facilitation from local officials without the FIA banner. So while it is doable one must ask if it is worth it.

    2. It’s a rule. Masi was fired for not following them properly…any wonder why his successors are following to the letter?!

    3. If one doesn’t like the rules of the sport but would like to continue competing in it, there are ways to change them.

      PS: Sorry, did a fumble-fingers and reported your comment by accident.

    4. @casjo during the drivers briefing, Sainz told Wittich on behalf of the GPDA that the drivers were worried about the lack of a concrete barrier at that corner.

      Wittich is reported as having ignored the complaints from the GPDA by simply repeating the FIA’s official line – which was to state that they’ve decided that it isn’t a safety issue, and thus they are refusing to put any sort of barrier in place. The complaints have apparently been raised again after the Ocon and Sainz crashes, and the response was a flat out refusal by the FIA to reconsider the safety standards of that corner.

      We therefore have the rather absurd situation where the same governing body that claims that the jewellery issue is “for safety reasons” has, upon receiving a formal complaint from the drivers about poor crash protection measures around the circuit, responded by telling the drivers that reviewing the circuit safety standards is “not a priority” and that they will not be listening to further complaints about circuit safety standards.

      Frankly, that should be far more worrying to a lot of people here than complaints about jewellery that seem to be being used as a deliberate smokescreen to mask the complaints about the FIA refusing to listen to complaints on circuit safety standards.

      1. Yeah. What does the FIA know about circuit safety and homologation anyway?
        And what authority do they have to make such a determination….?

        I guess if anyone has that much of a bee in their bonnet about it, they can always go and race in some non-FIA affiliated series… If they can find a suitable one.
        And while they are there, they can wear as much vanity-satisfying bling as they can fit on their body.

      2. No jewelery is in the rule book. Track layouts and safety barrier locations are not.

        1. @leeroy are you seriously trying to claim that circuit safety regulations do not exist? The FIA sets out circuit safety requirements as part of the International Sporting Code, and the FIA’s own regulations on circuit safety explicitly state that, at corners where the car is likely to strike the barrier at a high angle of incidence, that deformable barriers which are designed to slow down the cars should be used.

          Otherwise, by your logic, why would any circuit need to implement any sort of safety provisions? There are a lot of safety provisions that are not stated within the sporting or technical regulations that you would consider a basic necessity of a race weekend, but would not be present if we took your mentality that “it’s not in the sporting regulations, so it doesn’t exist”.

          For example, I think you would agree as a basic principle that a modern circuit is expected to have at least some form of medical facilities on site, as well as having at least some members of staff on site with a recognised medical qualification; however, the sporting regulations for F1 only specify that a medical centre has to exist and only specify a requirement for a chief national medical officer to be appointed.

          If we went by your interpretation of the sporting regulations, then the medical centre could be an empty room that has zero medical provisions and only the chief national medical officer – who wouldn’t need any form of medical qualification – would need to be present at the circuit, and that would still fulfil your interpretation of the sporting regulations given that is all that the sporting regulations state is required.

          Similarly, if we went by your interpretation, the sporting regulations also don’t say that you need any form of fire fighting equipment beyond two 5kg fire extinguishers being provided to each team. There is nothing in the rest of that document that states that anybody at the circuit has to have even a basic fire fighting qualification, or that the circuit even has to have any fire fighting equipment beyond the two extinguishers per team.

          Hopefully, at this point, you might be beginning to understand that your argument does not hold together – there are a lot of things that are not specified in the sporting or technical regulations because they are specified elsewhere.

      3. well said anon

    5. Fred Fedurch
      9th May 2022, 4:53

      But last year mentioning 51Gs was considered whining. Quit moving the goalposts. It’s disingenuous.

  4. And he wonders why he’s not liked… Instead of crying about the colour of his skin, maybe he should realise it’s actually his stinking entitled attitude that turns many people off. “Stats mean nothing without integrity.” TM

    1. And he wonders

      He told you?

    2. Seems like your the one crying about the color of his skin?

    3. Naw. that’s you

  5. Mr Scallywag
    8th May 2022, 3:10

    There’s something of the perpetual teenager to Lewis.

  6. AirtoneSumo
    8th May 2022, 3:27

    Hear, hear

  7. Hasn’t backed down … yet.

    1. Might change his mind when his car fails scrutineering.

  8. Now, this is one of the things I like about hamilton! Coming to the press conference with 3 watches, hinting to bring 4 next time and other stuff in response to that was great!

    1. @esploratore1 You’d think he could’ve given one of them to Leclerc

    2. Lewis can wear watches from head to toe at the press conferences. Those were never the issue.

    3. That’s rather childish of him though as FIA don’t care how much jewelry he wears outside of the car.

      1. So Lewis is being childish and is receiving the usual hate here yet Seb wanders around the pit lane on Friday with his undies over his race suit and no one is calling that out?

        It’s a similarly pointed commentary on the rules now being enforced.

        Guess you’re only allowed to do this stuff if you’re not Lewis.

        1. Vettel looked like a 4 year old TMNT fan pretending to be Superman.
          Is that more balanced now, @muzza?

          Did you forget Hungary last year, when Vettel’s inappropriate ‘protest’ attracted more than just a little bit of negative reaction?

          If Hamilton gets the most attention, it’s only because he commands it. He wants it. He keeps drawing attention to himself and often makes out that he is the only one affected by something or that people are out to get him.

  9. I guess he has to fight for something this year lol

  10. Wow the Brazzen Racism against Lewis for daring to call out the blatant breaking of several rules to give Max the Tittle-.This isn’t even subtle its a direct attack on Lewis to put him in his place……Now all the people who were lacks about rules in last are suddenly sticklers for rules.
    off course where are the Jeremy Clarksons of the world when you need them to moan about political correction and stupid rules…oh yea when its against the black guy they nowhere to be seen

    1. Not everything is racism.
      However, giving exceptions could easily ignite racist reactions in a society driven by populism.

    2. Funny how giving preferential treatment to the guy was never once questioned but now when someone asks for safety regulations to be applied properly and they happen to affect him more than it does others… No one seems to realize just how easy it would have been for FIA to neuter Mercedes cars during the 2014-2021 period without non of his fans even realizing what has happened. Yet, here we are 8 years of unchecked dominance (an unprecedented time for F1) and somehow they’re still the oppressors.

      1. No one seems to realize just how easy it would have been for FIA to neuter Mercedes cars

        Please tell us how they would have done that? By forcing them to fit a GP2 engine? By mandating ballast for just them? As a matter of fact, everyone thought the 2017 regulations would neuter them – see how that turned out.

  11. They have explained drivers the risks. Now let them decide what kind of rings or underwear they want to wear.
    What about female drivers? women usually wear more clothes underneath than men like Bra, Pads so where will it stop?
    I think the risks are minimal and they should not make this ugly.

    1. @amg44 The underwear thing is basically about not wearing the itchy Nomex ‘long john’ Victorian swimsuit under the suit. What’s worn under that I don’t think anyone is fussed. It’s basically a fire thing, and I think drivers have just been wearing the top half because they know nobody will check their legs. There’s a scene in DtS with George Russell which I think raised a few eyebrows.

      1. I am not completely sure @bernasaurus, but I think the FIA actually stated that you aren’t supposed to (or even allowed to) wear anything not fireproof under those specified items of Nomex clothing, if that is true @amg44 has an issue here.

        I think they mentioned the elastan etc that is used in much of modern underwear might melt in case of fire and cause issues (since it then sticks to your skin)

    2. The FIA have identified (correctly, btw) jewellery as a safety risk and banned it from competition as a result.

      Explaining how they reached this decision to the drivers doesn’t change the underlying risks.

      1. No they have not

        Only piercings and necklaces are banned.

        Watches, wedding rings and frankly a tiara if required are allowed.

        That is the insanity of the hill the fia have decided to die on

        (And the rac max – I know – I used to race and oh my gosh, I had an earring!

        Shoot me now.

  12. Just let him sign a waver. And emd the story. Gosh!

    1. Which other safety-related rules do you think should be optional if the driver signs a waiver? Fireproof overalls? HANS devices? Seatbelts?

      1. What about a waiver on crash helmets. Then he can wear his shades and get maximum exposure for his sponsors and leave the helmet at home. And while we are at it how about shoes and gloves? Who needs a fireproof balaclava? Then there’s no chance it can catch on his nose or ear when it needs to be removed urgently. If they let him sign a waiver for one thing then surely he can sign a waiver for everything? And lets face it Lewis is way smarter than the FIA safety personnel. After all he has been a genius for at least the last 16 years.

        1. Funny thing

          FIA rules specified a safety regulation for helmets and only that in 2002

          Despite it being superseded by a newer much more stringent eu regulation…

          Yep all of us with the latest safest by far helmets had to use our old ones because we could not get through scrutineering with the safer ones

          For a whole year!

    2. Wayne as dodgy as the US safety regs are I’m not sure it’s legal to sign away your rights.

      1. Agree.
        Nor as I understand it does it absolve others from their “duty of care”, at least in this part of the world.

  13. Sometimes Lewis just doesn’t behave like a 7 times world champion and hence doesn’t deserve the respect that comes with it.

    Anyone that takes part in sport knows that body jewellery comes off before the dobok, boots or whatever go on. It’s basic safety.

    Quite why he takes it all so personally, like it’s some deep rooted racist attack, is beyond me. Maybe it’s just paranoia?

    1. Because how should a 7 time champion act? Whats not sportmanlike is the constant vulgarity that is spewed from many drivers especially max. But no 1 says thats not how a champion should act because he IS the perfect colour. “you people” disgust me with your sublime racism taking the high road when it fits your agendas. So tired of it.

      1. There’s only one person being racist here, and his screen name is Wayne.

        1. You’re a racist.

        2. Good 1 S 😄

  14. How very stereotypically British of Lewis.

  15. Huge Hamilton fan, but he’s wrong with this.

    1. Yep, I concur.

      There are numerous causes he could back that would be popular with F1 fans but not this one.

      It actually reminds me of my teenage daughter having a whinge because her PE teacher told her to take her earrings out.

      1. @sonnycrockett He’s not ‘backing’ a cause, he’s just insisting on doing what he has been throughout his entire career with no issue. Why is this suddenly an issue now? As Vettel said, it’s ‘personal’, i.e. directed very deliberately at one driver. The reasons for that are probably multiple and mostly political. However it has a nasty edge of ‘dog whistle’ racism to it too, singling out the one black driver who clearly uses jewelry as a mark of racial/ethnic identity. And suddenly FIA, under new direction, has a problem with that. Meanwhile, as @anon observes, ever astutely, above, actual track-related safety issues are not deemed a priority by FIA.

        1. Well said sir!

    2. Why mention you are a huge fan if you disagree? Just disagree.

      1. Because this is the internet, which means if you disagree with someone you apparently hate everything about them

  16. If these are ( as it seems) rules that have existed, but never been applied before by any race directors …. then it does beg the question of why now and who is this most likely to affect?

    1. This rule is not F1 specific, it is actually part if the International Sporting Code, @warfieldf1.
      The ISC applies to all FIA affiliated competitors and series all around the world.

      FIA have not felt it necessary to enforce this rule with much enthusiasm for quite a while, as there have rarely been any instances where a driver did commit such obvious infractions – at least in such a public and high-profile series.
      I have no doubt (although they probably won’t admit it in public) that this is partially a result of the 2021 F1 championship finale, where rules were (allegedly) not applied correctly or consistently.
      Many people (including the person most publicly affected here) have asked for existing rules to be applied more thoroughly and consistently, and so that is exactly what the FIA are doing. This rule has existed for more than 15 years already.

      Of course, it will be argued that this rule is somewhat pointless and inconsequential, and that’s a debate worth having for those who feel strongly enough about it – but nevertheless, it is an active rule and therefore should absolutely be enforced correctly.

      As to why now? Why not now? Better late than never.
      Why wait until someone suffers complications from such unnecessary items before something is done? Nobody needs this stuff on their body while they compete, after all. And most other sports don’t allow them either.

      1. needs this stuff

        Your repulsion is duly noted ‘S’. Like we hadn’t guessed already.

      2. S take a look at my comment above

        220 plus drivers had to use less safe helmets for a whole year (and those things are over a grand a piece) because of the sheer silliness of the fia and their lack of safety recognition.

        Not everything is as it seems in the world of ‘safety’

      3. Fred Fedurch
        9th May 2022, 5:15

        The reason this has come to the forefront now is because it’s been noticed that a lot of the (predominantly white) “Instagram/TikTok Crew” have been wearing synthetic designer underwear under their suits. Hamilton’s jewelry is caught in the crosshairs because it falls under the umbrella of the same rule. It’s the Hamfosi that are making it out to be a false flag “just Lewis – because racist!” issue.

  17. Chris Horton
    8th May 2022, 12:42

    Comply with the rules, they’ve been explained and justified by the governing body.

    Perhaps Mercedes can get an exemption for more wind tunnel time so they can express themselves fully too.

  18. Naturally Lewis is wrong… He was born wrong… My point is the FIA have bigger safety issues than to worry about a nose and ear rings. Maybe invest more in the areas that require it in the event of a fire within the cockpit including helmet technology. Because wearing jewelry killed how many drivers over the years???

    1. My point is the FIA have bigger safety issues than to worry about a nose and ear rings.

      What other existing rules would you like the FIA not to enforce, too?

      1. The rule has not been enforced for its whole inception. Can any1 remember when it was applied?

  19. Anyone with time to spare before the race can play ‘bling bingo’ in the comments section: see how many people sneak in a little casual racial profiling into their righteous condemnation of one driver’s use of accessories.

Comments are closed.