Red Bull adviser Dr Helmut Marko has come to the aid of Sir Lewis Hamilton in the midst of the jewellery clampdown by the FIA.
Ahead of both the Australian and Miami Grand Prix, the FIA sent a reminder to the drivers to ensure they remove all jewellery from their person before stepping into the car, as a failure to do so increases the risk of injury in the event of a fire.
Race director Niels Wittich wrote in his notes in Florida that “diagnosis” can also be affected during “medical imaging” if the driver is wearing a metallic artefact.
Hamilton was disappointed at what he felt was a regression from the governing body after all the “great strides” the sport has taken in recent years, and he told FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem that the sport has “bigger fish to fry.”
Dr Marko, usually an adversary of Hamilton due to the intense battle with Mercedes and Red Bull last season, does not understand why, given Hamilton has been wearing jewellery since the start of his F1 career in 2007, ben Sulayem is suddenly coming down on it.
“I think they have gone too far,” he told RTL.
“This should be a personal decision of the drivers. I don’t remember how long Hamilton has been in F1, but he’s been wearing this jewellery all these years. So why did they suddenly decide to invent this topic?
“I think we have enough other things to worry about,” Marko added. “We must accept and respect the individuality of each driver.
“Do I side with Hamilton? Yes I do, and this is my honest opinion.”
The regulation banning jewellery was introduced back in 2005, so the seven-time champion was left bewildered as to why it has taken 17 years for it to be enforced.
“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?’” said Hamilton.
The 37-year-old has been given until the Monaco Grand Prix to comply with the regulation, but he has thus far remained resolute in his stance, affirming that he will “get an exemption for the rest of the year.”