Will the FIA choose to enforce its jewelry ban this weekend at the Miami Grand Prix? Lewis Hamilton says he is prepared to see what happens when he wears jewelry while in his Mercedes.
The FIA recently said that drivers would be barred from wearing jewelry while in the car. Hamilton, a seven-time world champion and perhaps the most recognizable driver in the world, wears earrings and a nose ring while racing. Friday, he showed up to his pre-race news conference with numerous chains, watches and rings on in a clear statement against the rule.
“I think we’ve made really great strides as a sport. This is such a small thing. I’ve been in the sport for 16 years and I’ve been wearing jewelry for 16 years. In the car I only ever have my earrings on and my nose ring, which I can’t even remove.
Hamilton said during that news conference that the FIA has “bigger fish to fry” than the jewelry ban and remarked that he’d step aside and go have fun in Miami if the ban is enforced.
“If they stop me, then so be it,” Hamilton said. “We’ve got a spare driver so we’re all ready and prepped for the weekend. There’s lots to do in the city anyway. It’ll be good either way.”
Hamilton even said that he would be willing to sign a waiver with the FIA absolving the sanctioning body of any responsibility for a jewelry-related incident in the car if he crashed or had another problem. Drivers are likely to be fined or even receive a grid penalty for wearing jewelry. A pledge not to wear jewelry is now included on race registration forms and Hamilton took his earrings off for the first practice on Friday.
Jewellery-gate update: Lewis Hamilton has removed his earrings in the car and has been given a two-race exemption for his nose ring, which he cannot remove himself https://t.co/tu1FlzDnD5
— Andrew Benson (@andrewbensonf1) May 6, 2022
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel said the jewelry ban felt targeted toward Hamilton. Vettel and Hamilton have become two of Formula 1’s most outspoken drivers on myriad issues thanks to their status as multi-time champions. Vettel then demonstrated against the new F1 rule requiring drivers to wear fireproof underwear under their firesuits ahead of Friday's first practice session.
— Motorsport.com (@Motorsport) May 6, 2022
It seems incomprehensible that the FIA would significantly punish Hamilton or any other driver this weekend because of his jewelry — especially as the series is seeing unprecedented growth in the United States thanks to the Netflix “Drive to Survive” series and other factors. Sunday’s race in Miami is the first in Florida in over 60 years and will be one of three races in the United States in 2023 when Las Vegas joins Miami and Austin on the F1 calendar.