Lewis Hamilton rebels against the FIA and could face heavy penalties by defying the authorities, with Toto Wolff questioning the new Formula 1 measures.
There has been a rule in Formula 1 since 2005 banning the wearing of jewellery by drivers while in their cars, although it had been somewhat abandoned. Ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, the authorities issued a note reminding the teams of the rule, but one team seems to have ignored it.
Niels Wittich, one of Michael Masi’s replacements as race director, emphasised that “body piercing or metal neck chains” were not to be used, and that checks would be carried out before the race. However, Lewis Hamilton turned up at Albert Park and competed with piercings in both ears and a nose piercing.
When asked about this, the multi-time British champion fired back at the FIA and remarked that he will not get rid of his jewellery, some of which he cannot easily remove:
“I don’t have any plans to remove them. I feel they are personal things. You should be able to be who you are. There are things I can’t take off. I literally can’t take them off. They’re literally welded on, so I’d have to cut them off or something. They’ll stay. It’s been the rule forever. It’s been the rule since I’ve been here, so there’s nothing new. I’m coming with more jewellery next week.”
According to the regulations, the driver could be penalised both financially and with a points deduction, due to a sporting code violation. Given the changing times that the new Formula 1 authorities want to install, will there be rigidity in determining a penalty?
Toto Wolff questioned Niels Wittich
Despite praising Niels Wittich’s momentary work in the opening rounds of the season, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff questioned whether this is an important ‘battle’ to fight, also leaving his message for Masi: “Is it a fight he has to fight at this stage? But if it turns out to be the biggest unfortunate mistake by a race director, I would accept it a thousand times over.”