Sir Lewis Hamilton’s ongoing dispute with the FIA over the tightening of jewellery rules has seen drivers rally in support of the Mercedes driver.
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl, however, has a very different outlook on the saga, stating that the rules are “quite straightforward and simple”
The FIA recently clamped down on driver accessories and clothing worn whilst driving, with drivers told that jewellery must be removed and that fireproof underwear has to be worn.
The rule regarding jewellery was initially introduced in 2005, however, was never strictly enforced by the race director.
This year’s new race director, Niels Wittich, has tightened down on a number of rules this season to improve the sport’s safety.
Whilst Hamilton calls the move a “step backwards”, the McLaren boss is all for the rules being tightened.
“From drivers and also from the media side. In the end, it’s a rule that has been in place for I don’t know how many years. If you have worked in other categories, it’s not even a discussion,” Seidl told Motorsport -Total.
“If you don’t like to take off your jewellery or if you don’t want to put the fireproof underwear on you just don’t drive, it’s quite straightforward and simple.”
Seidl isn’t the only senior member in the paddock to have spoken out against the seven-time World Champion, with FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem following suit.
“That’s up to him. There are fines that apply. It’s like if someone speeds on the roads – you can’t stop them doing it but they get fined, even if it was accidental.” he said to the Daily Mail.
“You can’t let people off because they are your friends. There has to be one rule for all, and that’s that.”
The FIA president is hopeful that Hamilton will follow the rules, as he hopes that the seven-time World Champion can “be a role model”.
“I would like Lewis to be a role model, an ambassador, to send the right message to all the young drivers to prevent a tragedy. We should be using him in that good cause.”
When speaking out against the rule, Hamilton informed the media that some of his piercings are “unremovable”.
Should the British driver continue to defy the rules, then he’ll face the prospect of fines up to £213,500, and risk being banned from racing until he removes his jewellery.
The FIA have granted Hamilton a ‘grace period’ of two races to remove all of his jewellery.
This has been granted to allow Hamilton the time to have the surgery needed to remove his nose piercing, which is fixed in place.
The first of these races was the recent Miami Grand Prix, where Hamilton finished sixth.
The upcoming Spanish Grand Prix will be the second of the two, meaning that should Hamilton still have jewellery on in Monaco, then there’s the possibility of the Mercedes driver being banned from racing at the event.
Despite this, Hamilton continues to argue with the FIA.
The Brit believes that there are currently “more important issues” than wearing jewellery whilst driving.
“I feel like it’s almost like a step backwards if you think of the steps we’re taking as a sport, and the more important issues and causes that we need to be focused on and really pushing,” said Hamilton.
“I think we made such great strides as a sport. Look, we’re here in Miami, this is such a small thing.”