Why Hamilton isn’t the only driver questioning the FIA’s jewellery clampdown

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FIA race director Niels Wittich’s reminder to drivers of the safety rules regarding jewellery and underwear put Formula 1’s governing body on a collision course with Lewis Hamilton last weekend. But he wasn’t the only driver who spoke out against the clampdown.

Drivers were put on notice about this earlier in the year. In Miami the FIA took it a step further, reminding them jewellery may increase the risk of burns in the event of a fire, and may hinder medical interventions as well as any required treatment after an accident.

It has been widely referred to as a ‘jewellery ban’, but the rule isn’t new to Formula 1, having been introduced in 2005. However the FIA has stepped up its enforcement, warning to those competing the “wearing of jewellery in the form of body piercings or metal neck chains is prohibited during the competition and may therefore be checked before the start.”

The push from the governing body was met with resistance, as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who has many piercings, felt personally aggrieved by the rule. Sebastian Vettel even went so far as to claim the push from the FIA was “targeted to Lewis”.

Hamilton’s accessories have never previously triggered action by the FIA, or been reported to the stewards. He has pointed out some of his piercings are fixed in place, and reiterated his refusal to remove them last weekend.

Christian Klien had to remove his earring in 2005
“I feel like it’s almost like a step backwards 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,” said Hamilton. “I think we made such great strides as a sport. Look, we’re here in Miami, this is such a small thing.”

He challenged the inconsistent application of the rule, which was put in place two years before his grand prix debut. “I’ve been in the sport 16 years, I’ve been wearing jewellery for 16 years, in the car I only ever have my earrings on, and my nose ring, which I can’t even remove.”

“It seems unnecessary for us to get into this spat,” he added, saying he’ll “try to communicate” about the matter with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem. “I’m here to be an ally of the sport, of Mohammed and Formula 1.

“And as I said, I think we’ve got bigger fish to fry, bigger things to do, more impact to have. So, I think that’s really where the focus should be.”

His boss Toto Wolff urged “a dialogue between Lewis and Mohammed” to strike a balance between safety and freedom of expression.

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“It is clear that regulations are here to protect the drivers,” said Wolff. “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.”

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Miami International Autodrome, 2022
Magnussen fears a fine for wearing his wedding ring
Though Hamilton is free to wear whatever he likes off the track, the FIA are well in their right to stringently enforce the ban on jewellery. The safety of the drivers is paramount.

There are seemingly grey areas in the rule. It does not specifically explain what to do with certain pieces of symbolic jewellery like wedding rings.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen had no interest in picking up a fine, and ensured he was fully compliant with the rules in Miami. But he feels there should be certain exemptions.

“I don’t want to pay the €250,000 (£214,000) fine,” he said. “I understand what they are they saying, but it is a wedding ring around your finger,” he said.

“I’ll take a little bit of extra burn on my finger to race in my wedding ring. And if something was going to happen, something bad, I would want to wear my wedding ring. It kind of feels bad to take it off.

“With something like that, like your wedding ring, let us take that responsibility. There must be somehow to remove liability.”

After decades of safety improvements reduced the frequency of fires, the shocking 2020 crash suffered by Magnussen’s then-team mate Roman Grosjean refocused minds on the dangers. Grosjean’s hands were severely burnt after an enormous crash when his car exploded in a fireball.

However the former Haas driver stated even now, with the scars visible on his hands, he would never remove his wedding ring before climbing into the cockpit. “I’ve been wearing my wedding ring all of my career,” he told Sky.

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“Where my ring was I was protected, so I was protected by my wife, saved by my kids. I understand some of it, but I wouldn’t like to race without my wedding ring. That is big for me.”

Hamilton, who was given a temporary exemption to continue wearing his fixed items of jewellery, seized on that distinction. “I got an exemption here, I’ll get an exemption the rest of the year,” he insisted after the race. “Wedding rings are allowed.”

Wehrlein collected a penalty point for wearing jewellery
But he wasn’t the only driver who felt aggrieved by the clampdown. Pierre Gasly, who wears a cross around his neck for religious reasons and prays before he climbs into the car, said he did “understand” the FIA’s position but like Hamilton believes there “are bigger things to focus on.”

He said: “I appreciate FIA are looking after our safety. That’s also their priority and our priority. My personal case, I have also religious items 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, and I do feel it’s a little bit personal. We should have the freedom to do what feels right for us.

“At the end of the day, we have the responsibility to go out there put our life at risk. And I do feel it should be a personal choice, but I respect the FIA and their will to always improve the safety. But I’ll appreciate a talk with them, to see if we can find a better solution than such a strict decision as they made. So we’ll see what we can do.”

The FIA undoubtedly has the drivers’ best interests at heart in this matter. And perhaps the drivers have become a little too accustomed to having things done their own way. But the way the FIA has gone about it leaves something to be desired.

What will happen to Hamilton if he refuses to back down and fails to gain a further exemption? There has been no official document explaining what happens if rules are broken by drivers but, as Magnussen indicated, they expect hefty fines for non-compliance.

However at the Monaco EPrix, Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein and Jaguar’s Mitch Evans were each handed a penalty point on their superlicences after they were found to be wearing necklaces during the qualifying session. As in F1, if drivers accumulate enough superlicence points they automatically incur a race ban.

On Friday, Hamilton made it clear he is prepared for that possibility. “If they stop me, then so be it,” he said. “We’ve got a spare driver.” The battle lines are therefore drawn: To enforce its ‘bling ban’, the FIA may have to bench F1’s most famous and successful driver.

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Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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107 comments on “Why Hamilton isn’t the only driver questioning the FIA’s jewellery clampdown”

  1. Each and every one of these drivers is free not to compete in an FIA-sanctioned series if they find it beyond their means to comply with the standards set out in the FIA’s Internation Sporting Code.

    1. *International

    2. Well aren’t you just Mr. High-and-Mighty

    3. Indeed and Hamilton has said he’s prepared to be banned for it so what is the problem.

    4. Well if that’s the case and the rules must be strictly followed then I look forward to Hamilton being crowned 8 times world champion and Verstappen stripped of his title, since the race director completely usurped the correct procedures.

      1. In that case Hamilton must be stripped of a most of his titles since he doesn’t follow the rules for quite a while now.

      2. Noframingplease (@)
        12th May 2022, 18:50

        @davidhunter13 I gues you follow F1 from british media? Otherwise you should have known the 2021 season was more than the last race. And in those other 20 races there where plenty occasions where ‘your GOAT’ did some driving which was not according ‘the rules’. Let’s begin with race 1 of 2021 when he crossed 29 time the tracklimit…..

        1. In case you forgot: Last season WDC was decided / manipulated in the last race.

          1. Noframingplease (@)
            12th May 2022, 22:10

            @romtrain Exactly, cuze when sir L had nicely followed his line in silverstone just like he did with leclerc and when the fia wasn’t so eager to listen to Toto’s stakeholdermanagement (read: changing the rules during the season) the last race wouldn’t have such an impact. If that last race was manipulated, like his fans like to talk about, how big was the manipulation of MB during the whole season? I’don’t expect any normal answer as your british bias is so big. I repeat, 29 times an advantage by crossing the tracklimit. I didn’t hear GB shouting ‘rules must be obeyed’ then, like we hear them the last 15 months. race 1….20 to go…Do you follow? Or has that ‘manipulation’ been growing more like an obsession?

          2. Absolutely agree with noframing, you can call us anti-hamilton as much as you like, but here’s the main point you guys are leaving out: the championship is made up of 20 + races, and if you want to dig into what was done wrong in abu dhabi, you can also dig into what was done wrong in spa, imola, baku, hungary, bahrain, silverstone as some examples.

          3. Spa: someone was gifted a racewin and many points, although there was no race.
            Imola: I honestly dont remember
            Baku: VER got bad luck blowing up his tire, HAM got bad luck with some brake-setting
            Hungary: Crashs at start happen sometimes, nothing special here.
            Bahrain: Handling of track limits changed throughout the race
            Silverstone: racing incident
            Monza: Verstappen took out Ham on purpose without proper penalty
            Brazil: Verstappen tried to take out Ham and again got no proper penalty
            Jeddah: Verstappen brake-tested Ham and again got no proper penalty
            Abu Dhabi: Verstappen got gifted the win of race and WDC by the RD not following the rules

            Btw: Not everyone disagreeing with the manipulation of the WDC is automatically british. As not everyone agreeing with the manipulation is dutch.

          4. Noframingplease (@)
            14th May 2022, 20:42

            @roman Interesting list, especially when you are mentioning actions which where not good for Max as ‘raceincident, nothing special’, and actions which where not so good for the brit, as ‘took out on lewis, and not a penalty for Max’. Hilarious reaction.

            Hey, why not a 5 race penalty for lewis after Silverstone? Raceincident? Yep, that’s your opinion, not a fact. The fact is he got a penalty which was’ in my opinion, way the low.

            I see your memory has some blind spots when it suits your opinion. That’s not a big surprise.
            Oh, imola was that race where lewis was crashing into the wall but ‘managed ‘ to come back cuze Bottas organized a red flag.

        2. @nofanboysplease It is because I know F1 is more than the last race that I know Max is only stated as champion because the FIA broke its own regulations on multiple occasions (most glaringly, when it decided to start the Belgian Grand Prix with no medical cover, thus granting Max 12.5 unearned points).

          1. Noframingplease (@)
            14th May 2022, 20:51

            @alianora-la-canta So belgium is also an ‘unearned’ race’? Than Hungary, and Silverstone must be very unearned for Lewis though? Even the first race, where he crossed the tracklimit 29 times is in your way of argumentation ‘unearned’ In both races (silverstone hungary) a MB crashed Max out, and won Lewis. Interesting way of thinking you have.

          2. @nofanboysplease 1) What rule did the FIA break (not simply test/push/nudge, but outright break) in those races?

            2) If a substantive answer is supplied to 1), would that not strengthen the notion that 2021 was an irredeemable mess and thus the FIA may not be in a position to award a championship anywhere? (Bear in mind that I am of the opinion that the 2021 title should be set aside, not re-awarded).

      3. Oh, might want to point out you managed to start a who deserved the 2021 title discussion with people who are otherwise on hamilton’s side on the matter that is related to this article.

      4. @davidhunter13

        I didn’t know that Max was the race director.

      5. Now they (Mercedes) wanted Masi gone, the one that didn’t had a problem with jewelry. There you have it. The snake bites his own tail.

  2. Drivers crash into concrete and nothing seems to be done to fix it.

    Wear jewellery and you’re threatened with a fine or race ban.

    The FIA seem to have their priorities wrong.

    If the rules aren’t relaxed I can see drivers deciding collectively to not race at a specific event which would be a PR disaster for formula 1.

    1. As with every time someone tries to attack a regulator, it is fallacious to claim that the FIA cannot check the 20 drivers on the Formula 1 grid for jewellery worn in the car AND check if the track they are racing on is currently complying with its homologation criteria.

      You’ll have to pay that parking ticket even though not everyone speeding is currently being noticed and fined for it, simple as that.

      If the rules aren’t relaxed I can see drivers deciding collectively to not race at a specific event which would be a PR disaster for formula 1.

      Let’s see how many drivers would decide not to race in support of their three colleagues mentioned above continuing to compete without complying with a 17-year-old rule. 😝

      1. suspect there are bigger battle for the FIA to focus on the fresh push on Jewelery this year seems to be a focused backlash after the MAsi incodent to show they are the rule makers.

        If drivers are happy to wave the liability and accept the responsibility I dont see an issue with drivers, riders and competitors wearing jewelry that is confined under suit or helmet, Possibly a maximum size, weight / Mass so someone cant wear a 1 kg pendant or a limit to the item not not affecting the suit. e.g. a watch would affect the Glove to suit but a ring would not a cross is confinded under the race suit as are studs and nose ring but big loops arent.

        rules within reason. FIA have bigger battles to win.

        1. The ‘bigger battles’ narrative has no legs to stand on (not in general, and not specifically here, either), safety is the FIA’s biggest battle, and making and enforcing rules on the series run under its banner is literally its main reason for existing.

          You don’t like the rules? Go about changing them. That should be your ‘biggest battle’, rather than posting on the interwebs about how the FIA should totally not enforce a 17-year-old rule because of some supposedly more pressing other issue.

          Alternatively, you could lobby the three Formula 1 drivers cited in this article to give up their opposition to said 17-year-old-rule (preceding each and every one of them competing in F1) and either comply or leave for a series not run by the FIA so that the FIA could allocate extra time to whatever you find more important. (if, indeed, such a topic exists and isn’t just used nebulously here as a diversion tactic)

          1. @ proesterchen


            You feel this sudden interest in underwear and jewellery (but not rings or watches – items distinctly indicated in all H@S regulations) is somehow of critical importance?

            You, feel it’s a logical matter compared to the the farce that ended last year with the invention of rules on the spot for the ‘show’?

            That one that ended up gifting a championship to someone while deserving, had absolutely no right to win that race?

            Honestly, I have raced for many years, served as an apprentice back in the Horse and cart era and was a director of manufacturing for a large international company and always took any rings, necklace or watch off as drilled into me via regulations from 50 + years ago. Even just visiting the shop floor!

            But I was never required at any fia or rac msa meeting to remove my earrings- not one single time…

            Let alone having my underpants checked.

            Now it’s suddenly a thing?

            Could not be anything to do with a tarnished championship and a personal vendetta because of a justified snub or two?

            Nope – it’s just that 17 year old regulation, that actually stems back 30+ years.

          2. Safety didn’t seem a big issue last year when Verstappen deliberately crashed into Hamilton twice and attempted a crash on 3 other occasions. Funny how we didn’t see you complaining about safety at that point.

          3. @drgraham

            I feel that bringing another unrelated topic into this discussion doesn’t change the underlying facts.

            The rules exist and have existed for a long time. Every driver racing on an FIA license has signed up to follow and obey the International Sporting Code.

            If there are drivers in an FIA series that have decided that abiding by the rules they have agreed to is onerous, there are solutions to that: Lobby to have the rules changed. Don’t participate in any series governed by the rules as they are today.

          4. After a comment like that I have to question what you did and didn’t see last year. Or at least the shade of your glasses.

          5. @robbie get your eyes tested fella

          6. Noframingplease (@)
            12th May 2022, 19:26

            @slowmo Funny that his fans where moaning a complete season about following rules (when it suits them). Of course only when the bad ‘bully’ boy did something the GOAT could complain about. But oh jeez, when he has to take of his jewelry for obvious reasons those same rules are overdoing their job. Oh a deliberate attempt for a highspeed crash at silverstone doesn’t count. Oh no, that was of course also the mistake of that bully boy. You are hilarious

          7. Safety is for sure not their highest goal, when they accept to add tracks like Jeddah.

          8. @ proesterchen
            You may feel as you wish however you might want to remember that when signing up to those incredibly tight and regulated rules that can be ignored at a moments notice unless your underpants are the wrong colour, you also hand over a huge cheque for many many thousands of pounds!

            This is not some simple ‘agree to the rules and you can race’ situation.

            Each individual racer spends thousands of pound to fund the FIA – it is their largest income stream by far. Many millions.

            If you purchase something it would generally be considered fit for purpose.

            Allowing hugely risky situations where an earring or underpants have been involved in the death of lots drivers over the years, I just can’t see why they are wasting time with all these concrete barriers at circuits. Or making up rules so the right people win?. I mean, they have never killed anyone?

          9. @drgraham

            I have no idea how we’ve now ended up discussing licensing costs as if that has any relevance to the question of the competitor agreeing to obey the FIA’s International Sporting Code with the application for their racing license.

            Cause that’s what all the above-mentioned drivers did.

          10. @ proesterchen

            We are not

            We are discussing how some rules are suddenly sacrosanct despite years and years of being ignored. Others are changed at a moment’s notice – ones that impact on a championship and how ‘safety’ in the jewellery and underwear department is suddenly the mantra when it quite clearly is not.

            And the fun fact you have to pay a fortune to the chaps that run the license scheme while the chaps and lasses doing the actual work, do it for the love of the sport.

            Try to keep up… 😁😁

      2. @proesterchen It is perfectly reasonable to point out that the FIA’s actions have contradicted a genuine safety agenda. On this specific issue, consider why wedding rings are exempt, and whether a similarly-sized piece of skin elsewhere on the body is less flammable than the first knuckle of a central finger). Also, this is the second track this year where there have been serious questions about homologation (the other being Saudi Arabia, which according to the FIA’s own rules, should not have even had a Grade 4 accreditation due to its lack of service road, and unlike the Miami barrier, should have resulted in cancellation before anyone tested it out).

        Even the FIA doesn’t appear to care about its own rules except when it suits itself, which makes it look less like safety and more like management amusement (which is rather less straightforward to justify).

        1. (I also wish to clarify I am pro-jewellery ban, but would favour an actual jewellery ban, not the half-baked effort the FIA has decided to use in 2022, let alone what was happening before).

        2. One can of course argue the merit of a rule, any rule, and lobby to have it changed to better suit one’s own vision.

          But as long as the current rule exists, and the would-be competitor has signed up for it through his/her license application, abiding by it is not up to negotiation or chumming up to the FIA president. (as Mr Wolff would suggest)

          1. Why?

            When you signed up to said rules and they were completely ignored to the extent you lost a historic, top of the entire tree, championship, would you even begin to accept a nit picking contradictory rule that has been ignored for years and has absolutely nothing to do with the integrity of the championship, other than to put you, the statistically greatest champion they have ever had, back in the box for fear you might just have a seriously valid point?

            You know where you have been completely and totally internationaly embarrassed and might want to lash out?

            Nah – can’t possibly be the reason..

            All those nose stud death statistics make it so!

  3. Chainbear made some excellent points in his video yesterday about the two points made by Lewis and now the other drivers. One being that the fact that it’s not been enforced properly in the past should have to mean they can’t do better to enforce the rule now. It was a mistake that it wasn’t enforced, sure, but that doesn’t imply it should never be enforced.

    The second point was about the “it should be the own personal choice of the driver to take the risks since it only affects them” and he was right in positing that there are other rules that are the same that the drivers should then also be allowed to make that choice on. His examples were iirc the HANS-device, helmets, and fireproof racesuits in general.

    Most sports ban jewelry, FIA also did, but didn’t enforce the rule properly, that’s on Whiting and his successors, but I think it’s good that we now have race directors and FIA leadership that is more clear on the rulebook being the rulebook. Have teams and drivers have a say in making and adapting the rules in said rulebook (to an acceptable level, of course, the FIA should always be the one making the call on those), but once it’s in the rulebook, it should honestly be law.

    1. Being clearer on the rule book is fine. The actual issue is how FIA went about it. IF they advised that from 2023 this rule would need to be enforced more stringently because of X, Y & Z then I suspect it would have been readily accepted but the sudden and apparent unseen renforcment of a rule which appears to target the driver who just caused a bit of an embaracement for the FIA seems like a bit of a targeted power play.

      1. A 2 months notice on a rule like this seems like a fair amount to me though.

        I do have a problem with people and Lewis pretending this rule is all about him. He’s making it about him because he’s insisting on not complying with it, it’s reversed to say the FIA did this just to spite him, I see no evidence on that and it comes across as a tactic to get out of obeying it, rather than an actual thing.

        1. How is he not supposed to feel targeted? He’s the only driver with piercings and previously known to wear jewelry in the car. It’s been reported here that on conference calls, the new President of the FIA has been repeatedly adamant about the enforcement of these rules over apparently anything else. So we’ve got an FIA President with a personal campaign (FIA provided no previous context) who’s suddenly hellbent on preventing “the wearing of jewellery in the form of body piercing or metal neck chains” when there is only one driver known for wearing them.

          That’s as close to targeting as you can get, that Toto is suggesting Lewis needs to take it up with Mohammed directly says it all.

          1. How can any driver be targetted by a rule that has existed longer than his/her participation in the sport?

            As for Toto, that just shows he’s stuck in a DTM mindset, where the competitors ran the show. (into the ground)

            Maybe the FIA president can give him and his driver a primer on how to lobby for a change of the rules if that’s what they want to spend their free time advocating for?

          2. Jeez – see above

            While glorifying a completely tarnished championship

            There are far more deserving hills to die on in fia regulations- literally!

        2. @sjaakfoo the argument that the rule came in on safety grounds is debatable, because the original announcement by the FIA back in 2005 did not actually state that the change was for safety reasons.

          The World Motorsport Council announcement from the time shows the rule change came from the World Motorsport Council, who then sent the proposal to the FIA’s medical commission and asked them to approve it – for a change apparently for medical reasons, it seems rather odd that the medical commission were not involved in drafting this legislation and they were only consulted at the end of the process.

          The original statement from the World Motorsport Council also did not provide any justification on medical grounds for the ban either – it simply stated that it would be imposing a ban on piercings and chains, with safety not being mentioned anywhere within the original statement.

          The safety argument is one that appears to have been retrospectively applied to that original announcement from 2005, with some contemporary suggestions that the ban was more of a cultural decision than a medical one – i.e. that the FIA introduced the ban because a driver with a piercing did not fit with the image that the FIA wanted its drivers to uphold, nor did it fit particularly well with the type of sponsors (particularly blue chip companies) that the sport was chasing at the time.

  4. Indeed, rules and regulations change over the course of years.
    Every sport had limitations for the participants.
    Not comply with them is stopping participating.

  5. Martin Elliott
    12th May 2022, 12:17

    Unfortunately, yet again, FIA demonstrates it does not understand or manage “Safety” in a modern consistent manner as nearly all hazardous industries such as aviation, chemicals, mining, etc. The philosophies and legislation has developed over at least 4 decades.
    They have never published the report, just a press release, of the Grosjean inquiry. In fact since Jules Bianchi incident report in 2014, no report of any inquiry (~20 a year) have been issued.
    The Grosjean incident is now being used as an empirical reason to reactivate a 17yo rule that has hardly been enforced. There is some talk of ‘harm’ and an increase ‘risk’ due to jewellery, but it is not qualitatively or quantitatively explained as intolerable despite all the other safety improvements over the years. If it was infact tolerable and not enforced for more that a decade, then what has Grosjean brought up as a single incident.

    In broader terms, yes teams/drivers have been asking for consistent enforcement of rules, but I think they also want them to be fit for purpose, and demonstrated to be so if new or resurrected.

    1. It’s weird that you mention the Grosjean incident as some kind of prime example of how they don’t do anything.

      Because I’ve just looked at said “press release” and it concludes with a 23-point plan on how they will improve safety or investigate even further on how to prevent said incident in the future.

      I get it, it’s easy to dump on the FIA for everything, but to deny their vast efforts on safety to the point where driver injuries and deaths are so uncommon that it sends shockwaves around the world when something does inevitably happen when a car crashes at 300kph, is just a rather silly way to go about it. The fact remains that we’ve gone from drivers getting injured and worse several times every season year-in year-out to Grosjean surviving the crash he did with relative minor injuries and driving in Indycar a half a year later is not something that the FIA should be slammed for.

        1. +2

    2. Well, I do not know you but I am fairly certain you have not risked your life racing for either enjoyment or reward under these ‘critical’ jewellery and underwear regulations that the fia were the last to endorse compared to other motorsport bodies. While excluding the very items that cause statistically the majority of accidents within any dangerous environment.

    3. The inquiries are available to people with the necessary clearances on the FIA website (I think FIA membership is the condition, rather than anything higher-level than that), it’s simply that most of the inquiries have results that are assumed not to be all that interesting (for example, it was a near-miss, the results prove stuff that was already known and was already being acted upon, or the series in question doesn’t have the profile to get the attention to warrant publication). It’s only the occasional serious and high-profile accident that individual press releases get issued.

  6. With the number of grey areas and allowances (such as wedding rings, religious items and glasses) I can see why this rule wasn’t heavily pushed previously, but now it is being heavily pushed out of the blue it makes the contradictions glaring.

    1. Out of the blue seems unfair, they told the drivers and teams it was coming several months ago, plenty of time for all drivers to make plans on how to comply.

      1. Point still stands that there’s a lot of contradictions, a fine example being Wehrlein/Evans (given penalty points for wearing necklaces) vs Gasly (allowed to wear necklace as it’s a ‘religious item’). The rule is very much in need of a review.

  7. Ban their teams, problem solved. Fed up of these princesses crying because they cannot wear their favourite necklaces. What a terrible example.

  8. As far as i can see the FIA / Liberty can’t stand drivers with personality.

    In every other sport atheletes are encouraged to express their personalities knowing this expression is an added draw to the sport. Not so here.

    The FIA, as school masters, insist on their ‘pupils’ wearing regulation uniforms. They would sooner have their
    drivers as nameless drone pilots, than have them a thinking caring members of society, reflecting the world at large.

    1. Sports with personalities that have a jewellery ban: Basketball, Football, American Football.

      But yeah, the FIA hates Lewis, right?

      1. In sports with bans there is generally physical contact between the athletes and therefore It’s sensible to have a rule.

        A driver in a cockpit of the car presents no risk to other drivers by wearing a necklace and I don’t see any additional risk to themselves either.

      2. Adam Blumenthal
        12th May 2022, 13:02

        The NFL doesn’t ban jewelry. And football (soccer) players don’t need any more reasons to flop and fake injuries.

        1. I stand corrected

    2. drivers with personality

      thinking caring members of society

      And all this is supposed to be expressed through necklaces and rings.

  9. It’s an informed choice, like racing itself, and any danger (almost zero and relatively speaking a virtual medical irrelevance in any major incident anyhow given that A&E teams are accustomed to dealing with crash victims’ jewelry) only affects the driver. This should be advisory not compulsory.

    1. @david-br – a well reasoned and logical comment – a rarity these days – many thanks

    2. It’s the FIA’s series.

      It’s the FIA’s rules.

      It’s the drivers’ choice to participate.

      1. Repeating this blinkered “it’s the rules” response is positively infantile and devoid of meaningful context. It’s the intellectual equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and loudly saying “LA LA LA LA LA”.

        1. If pointing out what every competitor under an FIA license willingly signed up for is “positively infantile” in your book, what do you consider signing up to the International Sporting Code as a competitor and then being surprised by having to obey it?

      2. @proesterchen You do realise the FIA has a monopoly on motor racing (unlike other sports, where other governing bodies are allowed to exist and thus at least theoretically provide somewhere for dissatisfied athletes to go)? The “it’s the FIA’s series” doesn’t work half as well when it’s forcibly the only game in town.

        1. That’s simply not true. The FIA run a select few series, with well know other categories notably absent from this list:


  10. Ham will hold out until the FIA ban him and he’ll happily slip away from F1 and the terrible Merc. It’s the perfect opportunity for him.

    1. Well, in his defense I wouldn’t comply with a regulation that wants to chop my ear off either.

  11. I get the idea that they want to get back to enforcing rules, especially the safety rules. But when I see some officials, even an F1 TV pundit like Buxton mentioning that “hey Mercedes asked the FIA to be strict on adhering to the rules, so there you have it”, combined with the FIA suddenly getting strict on this after 16 years of ignoring it?

    Sorry, but to me that just shows there probably is someone who feel they have to assert their power over the drivers (the new president? The new race director/directors? the FIA itself?), because they must have know this would give them exactly the kind of thing they got now with Seb Vettel walking around with his briefs over his overalls and Hamilton with all the bling he could fit on at a press conference. In other words, they WANTED to get this for some kind of PR stuff.

    Otherwise they could have just informed quietly informed the teams and drivers before the season started about wanting to get back onto enforcing this – probably with reference to the investigation into the Grosjean crash – from the start of the season and it would have given them time to solve things like piercings one cannot easily take out, religious and personal jewelry, or the fact that there is only 1 company actually providing a single model of fire proof bra (I presume the rules also count for the W series, right?) etc. to wear under the nomex stuff.

    1. I think you may very well be right on the PR stuff, I dare say they couldn’t be happier at how much it’s blown out of proportion.

    2. I do agree that there is probably an element of wanting to be “seen” to be doing something @bascb – the new FIA administration has not been shy about making big calls so far, such as firing Masi. It has the hallmarks to me of MBS and his team wanting to stamp their authority early on, especially in the context of a rumoured power struggle between the FIA and the commercial rights holders (gosh, is it 1980 again already?)

      I also think the stuff about wedding rings above is irrelevant, since the International Sporting Code only mentions necklaces and body piercings. Whether that is consistent with the safety aims is a different question, but that is the rule as it is currently written.

      1. The Dolphins
        12th May 2022, 18:09

        especially in the context of a rumoured power struggle between the FIA and the commercial rights holders (gosh, is it 1980 again already?)

        What’s interesting about this is F1, as a brand, is so much bigger and more powerful today than it was at any previous point in history. The relationship between the commercial rights holders and the teams as well is healthier than it has been. F1 is still considered the pinnacle of motorsport. Surely the FIA (read MBS) understands this.

  12. As I said in a comment yesterday there is a lot of tension between Liberty & the FIA right now & this clampdown as well as the disagreements over the sprint races are things that play into that.

    You have Mohammed bin Sulayem, The new FIA president who feels that the FIA under Jean Todt lost some of it’s power/influence over F1 & he wants to reaffirm his belief that the FIA should make the regulations & Liberty stick to just the commercial side. He doesn’t like how most of the new regulations for this year came from Liberty rather than the FIA & that the push for future regulations is also coming primarily from Liberty with the FIA having taken more of a ‘You make proposals & we’ll sign off on them’ approach.

    This jewellery clampdown is something Mohammed bin Sulayem latched onto as he see’s it as a way of showing that the FIA still makes the rules & that they will rigidly enforce them. Liberty & Teams have been confused, angry & frustrated in recent F1 commission meetings as Mohammed bin Sulayem has been spending more time talking about smaller things like this than actually discussing what are seen as bigger issues relating to the future running of F1. He apparently gets very focussed on certain things & won’t let them go so keeps going back to that point even during/after discussions on other matters.

    It’s felt that the politics seen during the presidency’s of Baleste & Mosley are back after the more harmonious period of Jean Todt’s presidency.

  13. Electroball76
    12th May 2022, 13:39

    These rules don’t just affect the driver of course. The driver is just one cog in the machine. Injuries, bans, bad publicity, can all affect the team and the related brands.
    There are plenty of jobs that tolerate or even encourage piercings, bracelets etc, but physical sports aren’t always one of them.

  14. “Where my ring was I was protected, so I was protected by my wife, saved by my kids”

    If only those drivers who burned to death in their cars before the enforcement of fuel cells and fireproof clothing had understood that the judicious application of jewellery was the key to survival. Maybe their families didn’t care enough to provide sufficient emotional protection.

    This sort of comment infuriates me.

    1. For some people, they really do feel the link with these symbols – be they religious, spiritual or just personal.

      I haven’t ever removed my wedding ring. I often work with power tools. I accept the small added risk of injury, and I will never take it off. For any reason except cleaning it, to put it straight back on. It is a symbol of my link to my family, and will remain so no matter what.

      I get where they’re coming from, but I’d rather lose a finger or even hand than take it off – which I know sounds absurd to those that don’t feel the same. When I die – be it accident, sudden illness or of old age – I will have that ring on my finger.

      I can see the need to not have chains (sorry Pierre, you could maybe put the cross in a pocket or something?) but wedding rings and stud type percings I can’t see the issue with.

      1. @sham Yeah particularly to your last bottom line paragraph I agree. You’d think wedding bands and studs as you say would be relatively fine. Not to sound flippant about safety but my goodness the cars (and drivers) are so safe now, what are the odds of jewelry actually being a problem in a crash. At some point it should be up to the drivers, but perhaps as you say except chains around necks, and watches. Lol you’d think with all the concern about teams trying to shed weight from their car to the point of even avoiding painting things they don’t need to, it would be a no-brainer to lose the chains and watches at least.

  15. I feel like it’s almost like a step backwards 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

    So only one issue at a time may be addressed, and only the most important one. And which one is it? Safety? That’s exactly what this rule aims for. Only certain aspects of safety? And why would Hamilton or Gasly get to decide what deserves priority and what doesn’t? And what about the complessive benefit of lots of small rules? Shall that be ignored as we focus on one irresolvable (safety will never be 100% achieved) matter a time?

  16. Go FIA!

    At the end of last season there were loads of people arguing for tighter rules enforcement.
    Now they get it, they complain about that too.

    By all means, debate whether specific rules need to be in the book – but while they are, they need to be enforced.

  17. The overall point of the ban is that the jewelry can’t be worn because it affects the level of care first responders can provide in the case of an accident but I’m curious as to at what level does it really impact the level of care? I know there are probably a few doctors or nurses on this board and I am curious to know what they think of the ban? When someone comes into the Emergency Room wearing jewelry, what impact does it have on their medical care? I know there are tools like ring cutters to cut off rings in an emergency. What impact does it have on the overall care when tools like those are used to remove jewelry from a patient?

    To me, it seems like something like a necklace can be pretty easily removed if needed. Piercings are a bit harder to remove, especially if they have been “welded” as Lewis has stated. Rings it seems can be easy or hard depending on the state of the finger it is attached to.

    1. Any of it can be forcibly removed if needed, the welded in studs can be cut through and removed – the argument the FIA keeps coming back to is safety in a crash. Since all of it is worn underneath the safety clothing, I really don’t understand.
      I’ve seen the MRI argument before, but if that’s the reason then they would need to ban anyone with a metal plate or pin in them to heal a bone break, or an old fashioned metal tooth filling for that matter.
      In the case of a fire, hot jewellery isn’t going to cause any more damage than the fire itself.
      In the case of a crash, jewellery beneath the helmet and overalls isn’t causing any issues.

      I just don’t understand the rule as it is written. “Loose or bulky jewellery” is one thing, and would cover chain earrings, watches, necklaces, and such – but a blanket ban on all jewellery and piercings doesn’t seem to make much sense in my mind.

    2. Not just the doctors and nurses, @g-funk – don’t forget the lawyers.
      Liability is a thing these days, and no amount of waiver signing makes it all go away.

      1. @S. If the level of care isn’t impacted because the jewelry can be removed, what is the liability? If the level of care that can be provided is impacted, then the primary issue is one of medical care and liability is a secondary concern.

        1. And if it is impacted – even a little bit, @g-funk?
          It could be a 1 in 1000 chance, but the FIA don’t want that risk, nor do they need it.
          Given the litigation culture about these days, I wouldn’t put it past someone to sue the FIA after the fact if something ever did happen.

          And it’s not without precedent either. Google Tetsuya Ota.

          1. According to that search, Tetsuya’s case was brought because of questions about what the event organisers did/didn’t do, not because of the driver’s actions/inactions. (He’s not the only example of the FIA getting sued, but it’s the most germane I can think of to this discussion).

            If there was a jewellery-related problem, the suing would be in the opposite direction (i.e. FIA/organisers suing the driver), if it happened at all. (It probably wouldn’t happen, unless the driver decided to blame the FIA for their own actions, at which point it becomes an Article 151c/defamation issue).

          2. Suing is not in the FIA’s interests – regardless of which way its going.
            Better for them to avoid the chance as much as possible by having stricter regulations (than absolutely necessary) thus preventing mishaps in the first place.

            Anyone who doesn’t want to comply with the FIA’s direction doesn’t have to participate.
            It’s really that simple.

            As to Tetsuya Ota – I was referring to the portion of the case revolving around him being injured (burned in his case) after the fact; after he had already been helped out of the car.
            It’s analogous to being injured when medical staff have clothing catching on jewellery and tearing skin, or treatment being slowed by having to remove additional accoutrements.
            The driver is no longer liable for their own safety at that point – medical staff are, and anything that goes wrong falls back to them. Not the driver.

  18. It’s rather vexing that FIA decided to go to war with strict enforcement of a rule that was established in 2005. Why now? Hamilton is where the focus is but really as it’s mentioned in the article, some drivers would choose to wear a wedding band if given the option. I think FIA has other things to focus their attention on, including vetting tracks more strictly to avoid the awfulness we witnessed last weekend in what I would call a Mickey Mouse track with fake marina and everything.

  19. So…… hold races in countries where there’s a strong record of human rights violations? No problem. ‘Terrorist’ bombing not far from the track on race weekend? No worries, we’ll just get the people who profit most from the race to assure everyone that it’s safe. They wouldnt lie, right? Go for it! Team members consistently being held up at weapon-point in Brazil? Meh. Dangerous barrier in Miami that could be replaced? It’ll be fine. Risk that no one will be able to help a crashed driver because they’ll get electrocuted if the car is live? Well, we have to push clean energy. Letting a driver make his/her own decision to wear jewelry, which won’t risk their life, but may be inconvenient (though I’ve NEVER heard of this being an issue or anyone being concerned about it before), holy crap…… we have to put a stop to this. Pull your pants up FIA/F1. Your hypocrisy is showing.

  20. It has been part of the rules since 2005, even before Hamilton entered F1, so he (and other drivers) should have complied to these rules all those years. Whether they were enforced or not.

    It is not for the driver to decide which rules they want to follow and which not. If they don’t like the rules they can leave. There are enough drivers who are willing to follow all the rules and enter F1.

  21. The FIA are not jewellery police, nor should they be, they already have enough saftey to check over without worrying about a driver who might be wearing something that could harm them.
    A zero tolerance ban is the only sensible way of dealing with it.

  22. The safety of the drivers is paramount.

    Which is why concrete walls are on the outside of corners with little run off, and not something obvious and sensible like a techpro barrier…

  23. They could simply rephrase the rules to read “Drivers need to take off any jewelry.” Fine for everyone I guess. ;-)

    Allowing tracks like Jeddah and argueing its about safety. Allowing the RD to manipulate the WDC and argueing about the importance of rules. What a joke F1 got since Abu Dhabi last year.

  24. They get paid plenty of money, they can just shut up and deal with it just like everyone else in the world does when their boss tells them to do something. God these drivers are babies.

    1. @trido The FIA are not their bosses, they’re regulators – and they’ve been replaced before (although not by drivers, if a regulator ever gets replaced by its drivers acting alone, something has gone very very wrong…)

  25. Personally, I find the wedding ring argument worse than Hamilton’s complaint. My father was a welder for a time, and a construction worker as well. At both jobs, because of the increased danger, he refused to wear his wedding band at work. Obviously, Grosjean’s gloves protected his fingers, but if the glove had been torn, he’d have been in trouble.

    However, Hamilton’s jewelry appears to be ear and nose– which is solidly encased in an FIA certified (along with a number of other organizations) crash helmet which is supposed to be able to resist impact and heat, along with a balaclava which is fireproof. If those pieces of jewelry reach 1st degree burn temperatures, the driver has more serious concerns. Further, in Hamilton’s case, he’s had multiple MRI’s while they were in place.

    Good idea, done badly. All the FIA can do is make themselves look bad.

  26. I absolutely agree with hamilton, grosjean, magnussen and whoever else complains about this silly regulation.

    1. All they need to do is convince the FIA that the rule is useless and redundant – and lobby to have it removed.
      But until that happens, they need to abide by it.

      Disobeying and/or ignoring rules isn’t satisfactory to anyone in the long run, is it?

      1. It was satisfactory to everyone for 16 years, apparently, and that’s a big part of why the FIA’s attempt to reinforce it failed…

        1. It was satisfactory because it was barely enforced?
          How is that satisfactory?

          Regardless, it’s clearly not satisfactory now – and it’s the FIA’s right and responsibility to enforce their rules and regs as they see fit.

  27. At some point maybe FIA will realize motor racing is unnecessarily dangerous and ban it. Or themselves, which might be more useful.

  28. Rules are rules. It’s what everyone agreed to when they enter competition. Everyone wanted the rules applied properly after last year’s debacle of a last race. This is what they are now doing, like it or lump it, teams/drivers can’t pick & choose the rules that only suit their narrative. The argument that the FIA haven’t enforced this particular rule very well also doesn’t stand up. If there had been an accident and a driver had suffered injuries directly attributed to them wearing non-compliant items that ended their career, would they have sued the FIA for compensation for not correctly applying the safety rules? I’d suggest they would, especially those in the lower ranks of racing. Going forward, a disclaimer could be signed by drivers protecting the FIA from such action.

  29. What’s next, a regulation on hair length, or the use of non-flammable hair gel? Jewelry should be optional, with drivers who opt to wear jewelry signing disclaimers to hold everyone harmless should he suffer any injuries or damages due to the jewelry.

    1. Hair for sure is not the best when there is fire. So maybe everyone needs some waxing, and Vettel gets disqualified for his haircut (although its more a no-haircut this year).

  30. The rules must be followed, Masi must go. Now you have it. Sir Hamilton, the rules are not made for the others but for everybody. Goodbye.

  31. Alot of the people commenting here make great attempts to state that rules are rules and that its what they pushed for last year. That the rules be applied properly. But that is not the context in which the call was made. It was about the actual racing rules. Not the rules relating to safety etc. Rather fix the sport on the track than what the drivers choose to wear. Why not manufacturer a special tape that can fit over jewelry or a better helmet. Let drivers sign waivers. Its affecting them only. I cant recall a chain, nose ring, ear ring seriously injuring a driver.altho i have seen walls, metal barriers cranes injuring and even killing drivers. And thats not in the distant past. FIA need to focus on the more dangerous, deadly stuff than driver jewelry and underwear. Its a circus this power power play happening. It will only hurt f1.

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