2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button has advised that Sir Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel take the debate on jewellery a little more seriously after their protestations at this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix.
Race director Niels Wittich once again reminded the drivers ahead of the race this weekend that wearing metallic objects in the car is prohibited, and that fireproof clothing – including underwear – is a necessity that can be checked at the FIA’s discretion ahead of sessions.
Unimpressed by the nudge, Hamilton rocked up to the press conference on Friday wearing an increased number of necklaces, bracelets, watches and rings, and asserted that there are more important things to worry about in the sport right now.
“I think we’ve made such great strides as a sport… this is such a small thing,” he stated.
“It’s about individuality and being who you are. I sent [Mohammed ben Sulayem, FIA president] a message just reassuring him that I want to be an ally. I don’t want to fight with you guys over this. This is very, very silly.”
Vettel felt as though the fresh insistence from Wittich was a “personal” tirade against the 37-year-old.
“Probably at this stage, it is more of a personal thing and I feel, in a way, [it is] particularly targeted to Lewis,” he said, before amusingly wearing a pair of underpants over the top of his race suit before practice in Florida.
Wittich cited “snagging” as one of the risks if marshals are required remove the helmet and balaclava away from the driver’s head, meaning that they would further aggravate an injury caused by the crash.
He also affirmed that diagnosis can be delayed if jewellery is in the way during an MRI scan, causing “significant complication.”
It is for this reason that Button warns Hamilton and Vettel that they need to think about more than just themselves here.
“It is not just what happens at the circuit, it is when they take the crash helmet off, is it going to pull on the ear and then the marshal feels bad that he’s hurt you,” he said on Sky Sports.
“Or, it could be if you are taken to the hospital and they have to do an x-ray or an MRI, you can’t have metal in your face either.
“It is a tricky one and it is weird we are talking about it. There are so many things to talk about in motorsport and F1 at the moment and we are talking about that.”
Fellow former driver Ralf Schumacher had a sterner perspective, saying that the actions of the two world champions are “childish,” and that it sets a dangerous precedent for future drivers.
“The FIA is absolutely right – the young guys in Formula 4 and 3 should see that the F1 drivers stick to the rules. When the most experienced people like Vettel and Hamilton mock the FIA, I think it’s childish,” he told Sky Germany.