Lewis Hamilton sparked at standoff with new FIA president Mohammed bin Sulayem when he refused to attend the mandated FIA gala for drivers 1-2-3 in the championship. Lewis’ was protesting decisions made by FIA race director during the final race of 2021 which saw Hamilton’s rival Verstappen become World Champion.
Sulayem responded at his first press conference as president stating, “rules are rules” threatening to sanction Hamilton for his non-attendance.
Lewis subsequently admitted in March he had not met with Sulayem but “there will be some form of fine re: the Gala.”
It appeared that frictions between Hamilton in the FIA were waining then in Miami the FIA instructed the drivers they must observe the rules regarding jewellery.
Hamilton objected to this and revealed to the media there were “at least two” he couldn’t remove, one being in his nose and Lewis added the other he “can’t really explain where it is,” although the name of the current Monaco ruler may give a clue.
Ted Kravitz explains, “Monaco, the next race could be a showdown for Lewis Hamilton and his nose ring piercing… because… that’s when the second… of Lewis’ two race exemptions for removing his nose piercing runs out.”
One of the sports most experienced commentators added, “this no piercings rule – it is in the rules for safety, your not allowed to have it.”
Kravitz asked for an update from Lewis at the Spanish GP on where he stood on the matter revealing, “Hamilton the last time we spoke to him was adamant he was not going to take it out because it will require it to be cut out – in some kind of minor surgery – and he doesn’t see why he should do when the FIA have got so many other issues to look at.”
One question may be, is it for the drivers to micro manage the FIA’s agenda – or comply with the regulations.
There has been some debate in the media about the exact nature of Hamilton’s sanction if he refuses to comply with the FIA regulation with some suggesting it will be merely a fine.
But Kravitz concludes the sanction for Hamilton breaching this regulation is far more punitive. “If he doesn’t take it out then they (the FIA delegate) cannot approve Lewis Hamilton as a driver to be scrutineed (along with his car) to go out in FP1 and they won’t let him out the garage.”