The Bahrain Grand Prix marks the beginning of the 2023 F1 season, but Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, 7-time world champion, is already at the centre of a heated dispute. Hamilton’s name is conspicuously absent from the list of drivers who have undergone the mandatory safety check by their teams before the first race. The reason? Hamilton’s jewellery… again.
The FIA has recently tightened its regulations with regard to driver safety. It is now prohibited for drivers to wear jewellery or piercings while in the cockpit of their vehicles. Consequently, teams must confirm to the FIA that their drivers have been checked before the race weekend. All teams, except for Mercedes, have adhered to this regulation. Hamilton’s name is missing from the list, and it is no secret that he now has two nose piercings instead of just one last year.
Mercedes has listed George Russell but not Hamilton. According to FIA regulations, any driver who fails to pass this compliance check will be referred to the stewards.
Hamilton’s absence from the list has sparked a debate among F1 fans and experts. Some argue that it is a minor issue, and the individuality of each driver, including Hamilton, should be preserved. Others see it as a flagrant disregard for the rules and an act of arrogance by the driver and the team.
There has been no official statement from Mercedes or Hamilton regarding the compliance check. It remains to be seen whether Hamilton will remove his jewellery to comply with FIA regulations or face sanctions from the stewards. Regardless, the F1 season is about to commence.