Sir Lewis Hamilton could be forced to sit out the British Grand Prix if he continues to wear jewellery in the car beyond the end of June.
The FIA have twice given reminders to the drivers this year of the 2005 regulation that dictates that drivers are not to wear jewellery in the cars due to the fire hazard attached to it, but Hamilton has fought back against that.
The Briton said in the press conference ahead of the Miami Grand Prix that Formula 1 has “bigger fish to fry” than clamping down on what the drivers wear in the car, but insisted that he wanted to be an “ally” to FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem.
As such, the drivers have been negotiating with the governing body to see if they can find a compromise where all parties are satisfied.
Venturi Formula E driver Lucas di Grassi, who spent the 2010 season racing in F1 with Virgin, was fined in 2018 for not having the correct fireproof underwear on in the car – another regulation the FIA are cracking down on.
The 10-time race winner in the all-electric series previously affirmed that a compromise should not be necessary, as it is standard to have to remove jewellery when working in “high-voltage environments.”
“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.”
Hamilton’s issue with the debate was that the rule is now being enforced some 17 years after it was first introduced by the FIA.
“This whole safety thing, man,” he told PA.
“When they told me about the jewellery, they said safety is everything. And I said ‘well, what’s happened for the last 16 years? I’ve had jewellery on for 16 years, so was safety not an issue back then?’”
The seven-time champion has fixtures on his person that are not easily removable, so he affirmed previously that they would be remaining on him.
In defiance of the clampdown, he wore three watches to the press conference in Florida and, after initially being given an extension until the Monaco Grand Prix, he vowed to continue to wear jewellery in the paddock and in the car.
“I get an exemption here [and] I’ll get one for the rest of the year. Wedding rings are allowed. I’ll wear four watches next time,” stated Hamilton.
Now, the FIA are said to have set a deadline for the 30 June for drivers to remove permanent jewellery and comply with the laws of the sport when in the car.
Scrutineers at the event will then have the right to check the drivers for any metallic artefacts that they should not have on, and they will even be allowed to search the drivers’ underwear to ensure that it is fireproof.
The race immediately after the deadline is the British Grand Prix in early July, meaning that, if the row continues to escalate, the seven-time champion would be ruled out of his home race.
As of right now, neither side is budging on the matter, so it depends on whether the FIA would be prepared to ban a driver from an event in order to get their message across.