The FIA had a serious clampdown on drivers as it lectured them on what to wear and what not to wear in their F1 cars. Pierre Gasly has fought back.
This came after there were concerns about drivers being a bit casual with their racewear- something that could compromise their safety. The points were discussed in detail in Friday’s Australian Grand Prix Drivers’ briefing.
Since FIA director Niels Wittich took over the post this year, he has been quite serious with the rules laid down by FIA. As per him, there are concerns about a few drivers wearing the type of underwear that is not in compliance with FIA regulations. The rules help protect the drivers in case of a fire.
Drivers must wear a balaclava, gloves, long underwear, socks and shoes that are suited to FIA’s standards mentioned in Appendix L of the FIA’s International Sporting Code.
Wittich also reminded the drivers in the event notes ahead of the Australian Grand Prix that wearing jewellery in the car was not permitted as it was a safety hazard when extricating drivers from their cars.
Drivers do understand the safety benefits but many have questioned the timing of such a briefing. Why has the FIA brought this up now?
When asked for his views on the lengthy briefing, AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly said that FIA was free to decide on it how deep it wanted to go to check rule compliance.
“I won’t comment on that,” he said.
“If they want to check my arse, feel free, I’ve got nothing to hide. My cock, everything. If that makes them happy, feel free.”
However, McLaren’s Daniel Riccardo was with FIA on this one as he understood that safety was of primary importance. He said:
“If someone says, ‘don’t drive with a ring’, I’m not going to drive with a ring,” he said.
“It doesn’t bother me and I’m also not superstitious. So stuff like that, a lucky bracelet or something certainly ain’t for me.”
“If it’s in your best interest to not wear it then I’m totally okay with that. I was fine.
“But this was the first time I’d heard about the fireproof underwear. Obviously we wear the leggings, if you want to call it that, but we don’t have actual underwear-underwear that’s fireproof, so that was just more of a surprise, I’d never heard of it.
“If it helps keep us a bit safer in those situations then of course I’ll invest in some. But I don’t think they make them.
“Or at least our people that we get our race kit from I don’t think. So we’re going to have to get some custom ones. I guess it’s going to be tailor-made of course.”
Lewis Hamilton on the other hand seemed quite annoyed with such a lengthy discussion on safety, especially when representatives of the FIA failed to wear face masks during the discussion to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Expressing his views, Lewis said: “It was the longest drivers’ briefing of my life.”
“I’ve been racing a long time and they’ve never done such a long drivers’ briefing. Also, nobody in the drivers’ briefing was wearing masks. Some of the drivers were, but most of the FIA weren’t, which was for me uncomfortable.”
“And then I don’t really understand the small things they are picking up, like the underwear. Are we really talking about that sort of thing? But we move on.”
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso stressed on the need to be flexible regarding such matters.
“I’m not too interested about these things,” he said.
“You know, I think we need to be flexible in a couple of these things. But it’s part of the show. I guess.”
The governing body could seem like a strict nanny to many right now. But during an accident or emergency, the same rules help protect the drivers.