Lewis Hamilton has been warned by McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl to ‘just don’t drive’ if he doesn’t take out his nose piercing. The FIA have moved to clamp down on drivers wearing jewellery out on track this season.
The rules have been in place ever since 2005, but have never been stringently enforced. But the FIA race director has moved to enforce the safety rule this year with Hamilton being outspoken on the matter.
Hamilton has several piercings and has never previously fallen foul to the long-standing regulation. He’s taken aim at the FIA for concentrating their efforts on such a “small thing”.
“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.”
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Hamilton has since been given a ‘grace period’ of two races to remove the nose piercing which is fixed and requires surgery to remove. Fines up to £213,500 could be issued by the FIA if the rules aren’t followed, but Hamilton has seemingly continued to push back on the ruling.
Hamilton has had some support from his fellow drivers with Sebastian Vettel feeling as though Hamilton is being personally “targeted”. But that’s not an opinion shared by others in the paddock with McLaren boss Seidl insisting Hamilton should just follow the rules in place.
“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,” Seidl told Motorsport-Total. “If you have worked in other categories, it’s not even a discussion.
“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.”
FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem confirmed that fines will be issued if drivers don’t follow the guidelines.
“That’s up to him. There are fines that apply,” he told the Daily Mail. “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.
“You can’t let people off because they are your friends. There has to be one rule for all, and that’s that.”