Lewis Hamilton says the FIA’s decision to tighten rules on Formula One drivers wearing jewellery during races is a “step backwards” and says he will he continue to keep his nose and ear piercings in even if the FIA threatened to stop the seven-time world champion from racing.
Hamilton appeared at the drivers’ press conference ahead of the Miami Grand Prix on Friday wearing three watches, eight rings, four necklaces and two earrings, as well as his nose ring which was hidden behind his face covering.
Of his jewellery, Hamilton only wears his earrings and nose ring while he is in his car as they are the only items he is unable to remove. “I couldn’t get any more jewellery on today,” Hamilton said when it was put to the 37-year-old that as the driver who wears the most jewellery on the grid he would be the one most affected by the FIA’s clampdown.
The sport’s governing body wrote to drivers before Australian Grand Prix last month reminding them that “the wearing of jewellery in the form of body piercing or metal neck chains is prohibited during the competition”. Hamilton responded by saying his jewellery was personal to him and there were some piercings that he is unable to take out.
Hamilton said there are “more important issues to focus on” and added that he will continue to talk with the FIA’s new president Mohammed bin Sulayem to reach a solution. The Briton said he was disappointed that the FIA had chosen to concentrate on “such a small thing” after commending Formula One in improving its work on improving diversity in motorsport - assisting Hamilton’s work through his own commission - as well as highlighting social issues such as the fight for racial equality.
“I don’t have a lot more to add than the last time,” Hamilton said on Friday. “I feel like it’s almost like a step backwards if you think of the steps forward we have taken as a sport and the more important issues and causes that we need to be focused on.
“I think we’ve made such great strides as a sport. Look, we’re in Miami. This is such a small thing. I’ve been in the sport for 16 years. I’ve been wearing jewellery for 16 years. In the car, I only wear have earrings on and my nose ring - which I can’t remove. It seems unnecessary for us to get into this spat.
“I will try to communicate with Mohammed. I’m here to try and be an ally of the sport, of Mohammed and Formula . But as I said I think we’ve got bigger fish to fry and bigger things to do, more impact to have. So that’s where I think the focus should be.”