Venturi Formula E driver Lucas di Grassi does not believe there should be so much resistance from Formula 1 drivers, such as Sir Lewis Hamilton, surrounding the jewellery debate.
In 2005, a regulation was created banning jewellery and other metallic artefacts from being worn in the car due to the fire hazard risk attached to it, and the ban applied to all FIA sanctioned events.
At that time, Red Bull drivers Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi wore piercings in their ears and, while the Austrian did not seem to have an issue with not wearing his jewels during sessions, the then 23-year-old affirmed that they would have to “cut my ear off” to stop him from wearing his earrings.
The governing body gave the drivers another reminder ahead of the Miami Grand Prix weekend that jewellery is prohibited, and that the drivers are all eligible to be checked to make sure that their underwear is fireproof.
Sebastian Vettel indicated that Hamilton was being “targeted” by the clampdown, and the Briton’s retort was that the sport has “bigger fish to fry,” while wearing notably more jewellery to the press conference in Florida.
Former Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher called both of them “childish” for their protestations and di Grassi, who raced 17 times for the Virgin team in 2010, advised Hamilton not to make a “big fuss” out of a regulation that, ultimately, is in place to save lives.
“The rule has been around since forever,” he told RaceFans.
“It’s just that it’s more critical now that we are operating with high voltage vehicles – regardless if it’s hybrid or it is fully electric, you have high-voltage systems and you cannot have metal around you. It’s a standard rule if you work in a high-voltage environment. Even wedding rings and everything else.
“So I don’t make a big fuss about it. I take my rings out in a race and then put them back. So I don’t know why this big fuss is really about. It is just for safety and that’s it.”
Di Grassi was one of three Formula E drivers – the other two being Jean Eric Verge and Andre Lotterer – to receive a fine for not wearing fireproof underwear in 2018.
“It’s the same with the underwear. I was fined €10,000 because I was wearing the wrong underwear, but back then we had a reason because we jumped from one car to another, so you had to make sure that everything was in the right place when we were putting the seatbelt,” explained the Brazilian.
“So that was the reason before. But since we don’t jump from one car anymore, there’s no reason to do that.”
Hamilton has been given until the Monaco Grand Prix to make his permanent pieces on his ears and nose temporary.