After a stand-off between Lewis Hamilton and the FIA, the 7-time world champion has conceded, agreeing to remove his piercings for the Miami Grand Prix. Despite this, he has called this ban a “step backwards” for the sport, branding it “unnecessary”.
As part of the scrutineering process for each racing weekend, drivers have been asked to remove all jewellery. This rule was further enforced as we enter the Miami GP, but it was looking as though Hamilton wasn’t going to concede. He’d even joked with the press that he would miss a race if the FIA doubled down on this rule.
But now, after a conversation with the FIA, the Brit has admitted that he will be removing his piercings. Fortunately, drivers have been given two races to do this, which suits Hamilton perfectly with his nose stud being welded on and to remove would involve a surgical procedure. According to Craig Slater of Sky Sports News, drivers will be having further conversations with the FIA if they believe their jewellery is safe.
This rule has been around for a while, ensuring the drivers are as safe as they can be in their cars. But it is being newly enforced by new race director Niels Wittich and FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem. The latter has reportedly been in touch with Hamilton personally about this after he’d said he would defy the rule.
Hamilton said at the time:
“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 focus on,” he said while decked in jewellery in the press conference.
“It seems unnecessary to get into this spat.
“I think we’ve made such great strides for the sport… and this is such a small thing.”
“If they stop me, so be it.
“We’ve got spare drivers who are ready and prepped for the weekend. There’s a lot to do in the city anyway so I’m good either way.”
But after his chat with the FIA president, Hamilton changed his tune:
“I reassured him that I want to be an ally, I don’t want to fight with you guys over this,” said Hamilton.
“It’s about individuality and being who you are. This is very, very silly.
“I’ve been in the sport for 16 years and I’ve been wearing jewellery for 16 years.
“I think we’ve got bigger fish to fry, bigger things to do, more impact to have and so I think that’s really where the focus should be.”