‘The FIA ​​has to draw a line’: Wolff comments on risk of Hamilton clashing with FIA over jewellery ban

The drivers have been given another reminder of the fire risks surrounding wearing jewellery ahead of this weekend's Miami Grand Prix.

Race director Niels Wittich has given the drivers another reminder of the importance of wearing fire-proof clothing, and has outlined the risks attached to not doing so.

The German stressed in his notes ahead of the Australian Grand Prix that jewellery is prohibited from being worn in the cockpit during competition as per the regulation introduced in 2005, and he affirmed that competitors may be checked before they step into the car.

He then also told them that fire-proof clothing is a necessity after Lucas Di Grassi, Jean Eric Vergne and Andre Lotterer were all fined for failing to wear fire retardant underwear in Formula E in 2018.

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It reportedly led to a minor altercation between Wittich and Sir Lewis Hamilton during the briefing in Melbourne, and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff questioned whether it was a discussion the former DTM race director needs to involve himself in right now.

Evidently, the answer to that is yes, because Wittich has reiterated in his notes ahead of the Miami Grand Prix that all drivers are expected to adhere to the regulations dictating that they cannot wear anything in the cockpit that is not fire resistant.

“Drivers and co-drivers participating in the championship listed below [Formula 1] must wear overalls as well as gloves, long underwear, a balaclava, socks and shoes homologated to the FIIA 8856-2018 standard,” read the note from Wittich.

Hamilton is known for wearing jewellery both in and out of the car, and he previously explained that he has jewellery on his person that cannot physically be removed without “chopping” it off, so he confirmed that “they will be staying.”

It seems that Wittich is not going to exonerate anyone from the responsibility of removing metallic objects from their bodies, and went into detail about the severe complications it can cause from a medical and safety perspective.

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“The above noted regulation is written in consideration that the wearing of jewellery underneath required flameproof clothing can reduce the protection afforded by this equipment,” he added.

“Metallic objects, such as jewellery, in contact with the skin can reduce heat transmission protection and thus ay increase the risk of burn injuries in the event of a fire.

“The wearing of jewellery during the competition can hinder both medical interventions as well as subsequent diagnosis and treatment should it be required following an accident.

“The presence of jewellery can slow, due to the risk of ‘snagging,’ the emergency removal of driver safety equipment such as [the] helmet, balaclava and overalls.

“In the case that medical imaging is required to inform diagnosis following an accident the presence of jewellery on the body can cause significant complication and delay.

“In the worst case the presence of jewellery during imaging may cause further injury.

“Jewellery in and/or around the airway can pose specific additional risks should it become dislodged during an accident and either ingested or inhaled.”

Having previously queried the importance of the reminder, Wolff has now conceded that Wittich is not enforcing the regulation to stamp down his authority, but rather to ensure the safety of everyone involved with racing events.

“We have to remember why the FIA ​​is doing this, namely to prevent injuries caused by jewels. No one is sitting around waiting for a freak accident where that plays a part, so the FIA ​​has to draw a line somewhere,” he said.

READ: Wolff and Verstappen bury the hatchet

“Is this a key theme? I don’t think so, but I get where it’s coming from.”

The terrific safety advancements in F1 were exemplified in 2020 when Romain Grosjean miraculously walked away with burns and fractures from an inferno after his Haas went straight through the barrier in Bahrain.