‘Next time I’ll wear four watches’: Lewis Hamilton’s row with FIA escalates

Sir Lewis Hamilton is holding firm over the clampdown on jewellery in Formula 1.

Mercedes driver Sir Lewis Hamilton has no intention of removing his jewellery when he steps into a race car despite the clampdown by race director Niels Wittich.

Wittich sent out a reminder to the drivers of the 2005 regulation that jewellery is not to be worn in the car.

At the time, both Red Bull drivers Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi wore earpieces in the car, but the Austrian did not mind removing his during races.

READ: ‘We’re a bit down’: Wolff emotionless after double points haul in Miami

“In the end it makes no difference. I’ll just take it off for two hours in the race and then put it on again,” he said.

“I’ve raced with my earring since I was 11. I don’t know why they did this rule. I think personally it is not really necessary but I have no problem with it.”

Liuzzi, however, asserted that the earpiece was being worn underneath his helmet and balaclava, so did not appreciate the directive.

“They’ll have to cut my ear off to make me take it (the earring) off,” he affirmed. 

“What safety are they talking about? It seems to me that they are grasping at straws. What bad can something protected by the helmet do?”

Article continues below

Hamilton arrived at the press conference in Florida wearing plenty of jewellery, including necklaces, bracelets, rings and three watches – all on different time zones.

Upon hearing that the FIA are also permitted to check the drivers to ensure they have fireproof underwear, Sebastian Vettel wore a pair of underpants over his race suit before Friday practice, and indicated that Hamilton is being “targeted” by the governing body.

The 37-year-old has been given until the Monaco Grand Prix to remove his permanent effects from his ears and nose, but he has vowed to continue his ripostes, citing that wedding rings are still allowed.

“I got an exemption for here, I’ll get an exemption for the rest of the year. Wedding rings are also allowed,” he said.

Lewis Hamilton protests jewellery ban in Miami GP.v1

“There is no doubt that I will continue to discuss this topic. Next time I’ll wear four watches.”

Haas’ Kevin Magnussen wears his wedding ring in the car, and he believes drivers should have a choice as to whether they suffer slightly worse burns as a legacy of keeping these symbolic items on, as wearing it in the car means a lot to him.

“I understand what they are they saying, but it is a wedding ring around your finger,” he said.

“I’ll take a little bit of extra burn on my finger to race in my wedding ring. And if something was going to happen, something bad, I would want to wear my wedding ring. It kind of feels bad to take it off.

READ: ‘It hurt’ – Lando Norris laments costly mistake in Q3

“With something like that, like your wedding ring. Let us take that responsibility. There must be somehow to remove liability.”

Hamilton affirmed on Friday that the Mercedes team have a “spare driver” in Nyck de Vries that can step in to replace him should the FIA ban the seven-time champion over the dispute.