Lewis Hamilton is well known for his love of bling. Yet at the FIA mandatory drivers press conference before the Miami GP he excelled himself. He rocked up with multiple rings on each finger, 3 watches and a set of chains around his neck that would’ve made Mr. T from the A’ Team proud.
All this is part of an on-going war between the drivers of all FIA regulated levels of motor racing over wearing jewellery whilst racing.
Back in 2005 as drivers pressed for ever increasing safety regulations, the FIA responded introducing rules which banned drivers from wearing jewellery that could be hazardous.
That year, Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi who raced for Red Bull both wore ear piercings while in the car.
Klein responded, “In the end it makes no difference. I’ll just take it off for two hours in the race and then put it on again. I’ve raced with my earring since I was 11. I don’t know why they did this rule. I think personally it is not really necessary but I have no problem with it.”
The Italian was more militant. “They’ll have to cut my ear off to make me take it [the earring] off,” stated the Italian.
The mists of time mean we have no record of how this standoff ended.
The new FIA president elected for 2022 has decided this regulation has not been enforced properly and has put his foot down over the issue.
The teams were warned that their drivers who are part of the validation of the car racing package, will be sanctioned if they wear jewellery. Essentially this means the driver/car package prior to qualifying could be barred from taking part in the rest of the F1 weekend.
As did Luizzi, Lewis Hamilton has taken great exception to this crackdown. His ‘King of Bling appearance’ was most obvious in Miami, where he claimed if the FIA sanctioned him and refused to let him race, Mercedes had a reserve driver.
Amusingly when asked by the FIA interviewer as to why he was wearing 3 watches, Hamilton replied, “I need to be on three different time zones. Got some calls coming in”.
Post the race when questioned again about the FIA jewellery clampdown, Lewis replied, “There is no doubt that I will continue to discuss this topic. Next time I’ll wear four watches.”
Lewis defied the new FIA president Mohammed Bin Sulayem by refusing to attend the end of season FIA gala. Sulayem threatened to sanction him for his breach of contract.
So now Lewis again takes on the most powerful man in world motorsport by threatening to sit out a race if necessary.
In the press conference Lewis made it clear there were far greater issues in motorsport to be addressed and implied this was a hypocritical attack on certain diversity choices made by non-white participants.