The FIA wants to enforce its jewelry ban, citing safety concerns.
Some believe the rule is targeted at Lewis Hamilton, who typically drives with earrings and a nose stud.
Hamilton refuses to comply with the rule and will likely face fines to start.
Lewis Hamilton is still refusing to remove all of his jewelry for the Monaco Grand Prix, and now the FIA must decide if this is where they want to draw a line in the sand over safety issues.
Before the Miami Grand Prix, Formula One’s governing body announced it would start enforcing its ban on jewelry during races, calling the accessories a safety hazard. Some felt the move targeted Lewis Hamilton, who has worn earrings and a nose stud throughout his career.
Hamilton said there are “at least two” that he can’t remove, including the stud in his nose and one he “can’t really explain where it is.”
As a result, Hamilton was given a two-race exemption (Miami and Barcelona), giving him until this week’s Monaco Grand Prix to remove the remaining jewelry surgically.
Hamilton dared the FIA to suspend him
However, before the Miami Grand Prix, Hamilton refused and has since only removed his earrings, daring the FIA to suspend him over the nose ring.
“If they stopped me, then so be it,” Hamilton said. “We got a spare driver.”
While there has been speculation that the FIA could bar Hamilton from the race, new F1 boss Mohammed ben Sulayem has only mentioned a potential fine so far, according to Jonathan McEvoy of the Daily Mail.
“There are fines that apply,” ben Sulayem told the newspaper. “It’s like if someone speeds on the roads — you can’t stop them doing it, but they get fined, even if it was accidental.”
A fine won’t disrupt the races. However, the issue could become the hill the FIA dies on. Soft enforcement of the rules could undermine the body’s authority, setting a precedent for future cases wherein drivers may want to ignore safety rules in favor of personal freedoms.
Hamilton has referred to the situation as ‘very silly’
Hamilton said he was willing to sign a waiver and called the ban “a step backwards,” noting that there are more important issues at hand. He also revealed that he reached out to ben Sulayem.
“I sent him a message, just reassuring him that I want to be an ally, I don’t want to fight with you guys over this,” Hamilton said. “This is very silly.”
Before the most recent race in Spain, Hamilton stood by those comments and said he had not changed his stance. He also said there had not been any conversations or negotiations since the Miami race.
“I haven’t had any discussions with anybody since the last time I spoke on Sunday at the last race,” Hamilton said before the Spanish Grand Prix. “So what I’m aware of is that those who are married are allowed to wear their wedding ring.”
Other drivers were asked about the ban, and most sided with Hamilton, with the common theme being that they appreciate the safety concern but would also like some personal freedom on when to take risks.
“I do believe there are bigger, bigger things to focus on,” Pierre Gasly said before the Miami GP. “And I appreciate FIA are looking after our safety. That’s also their priority and our priority. My personal case, I have also a religious item that I wear with me when I’m racing, which is important to me, which I don’t feel comfortable not having with me driving the car. And I do feel it’s a little bit personal. We should have the freedom to do what feels right for us. We have the responsibility to go out there, put our life at risk. And I do feel it should be a personal choice, but I respect the FIA and their will to always improve the safety. But I’ll appreciate a talk with them to see if we can find a better solution than such a strict decision as they made.”
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