Hamilton says Mercedes have a ‘spare driver’ as he threatens to quit racing over FIA row

Race director Niels Wittich is putting his foot down on the regulation banning jewellery from being worn in the cockpit.

Lewis Hamilton protests jewellery ban in Miami GP.v1

Sir Lewis Hamilton has been given two races, including this weekend in Miami, to make transient his permanent jewellery amid the row over safety in Formula 1.

Hamilton showed up at the drivers’ press conference on Friday at the Miami Grand Prix with a multitude of necklaces and rings, as well as three watches on three different time zones in protest of the reinforcement of the regulation surrounding jewellery and fire-proof clothing by race director Niels Wittich.

The 37-year-old has long been campaigning for sustainability and equality, so is disappointed to see that this is now the prominent talking point in the sport.

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“It’s almost like a step backwards if you think about the steps we’re taking as a sport and the more important issues and causes we need to be focusing on,” he said.

“I think we’ve made such great strides as a sport… this is such a small thing.

“I’ve been in this sport for 16 years [and] I’ve been wearing jewellery for 16 years. In the car I only ever have my earrings on and my nose ring which I can’t even remove. 

The seven-time champion revealed that he has told FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem that he does not want this to turn into a big dispute, but described the clampdown as “silly.”

“It’s about individuality and being who you are. I sent [bin Sulayem] 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,” he added.

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“I’ll try to communicate and work with Mohammed. I’m here to be an ally of Mohammed, of the sport and Formula 1, and as I said I think we’ve got bigger fish to fry.”

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Prt of the reason for the reemphasis of the rule will undoubtedly be the horrifying fire that Romain Grosjean was lucky to walk away from in 2020, but even the Frenchman, despite the injuries incurred by the crash, feels as though the ban is being taken out of proportion somewhat.

“I’ve been wearing my wedding ring all my career [and] my Richard Mille watch,” he said.

“Where my ring was I was protected so I was protected by my wife and saved by my kids so I understand some of it but I wouldn’t like to race without my wedding ring, that is big for me.” 

Hamilton has now been given until the Monaco Grand Prix to facilitate the removal of his permanent piercings, and he confirmed that the Silver Arrows have a “spare driver” available to them if he is prohibited from racing.