Sebastian Vettel recently claimed that the FIA's ban on jewelry is possibly personally targeted towards eight-time world champion Lewis Hamilton. The Briton has driven with jewelry throughout his racing career.
In a press conference ahead of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, the German claimed that he understood the safety concerns. He, however, felt it was not entirely acceptable to take away a driver's "personal freedom," whether it was regarding choices made on the track or off of it. Vettel said:
“I think it’s a bit unnecessary to blow this topic up. Probably at this stage, it’s more of a personal thing and I feel it’s particularly targeted to Lewis [Hamilton]. I mean we spoke about underpants as well-really is that the most exciting thing we can talk about? So, in a way there’s a concern for safety obviously if you have stuff and if the car does catch fire it would be unpleasant but on the other hand, to some degree, it’s personal freedom and we’re old enough to make our choices outside the car, we should be old enough to make choices also inside the car.”
Drivers have been permitted to wear jewelry on the track since 2005. Despite the ban, Hamilton had previously admitted to wearing jewelry inside the car and vowed to continue to do so regardless of F1 race director Niels Wittich's warning regarding the same.
"Almost like a step backwards" - Lewis Hamilton fights back on the FIA's jewelry ban
Lewis Hamilton showed up to the press conference ahead of the Miami Grand Prix wearing 3 watches, 8 rings, 4 necklaces, and 2 earrings. This was right after the FIA reinforced their strict new guidelines regarding the use of jewelry on the track.
Describing it as a "step backwards," the Briton shared his disappointment with regards to the new rule, emphasizing that this would be an "unnecessary" spat to have. He said:
“I couldn’t get any more jewelry on today. I don’t really have a lot more to add than last time when I spoke about it. I feel like it’s almost like a step backwards. If you think about the steps we are taking as a sport. All the more important issues and causes we need to be focused on. It’s a small thing. I’ve been in the sport for 16 years… in the car, I only have my earrings on and my nose ring, which I can’t really remove.”
Lewis Hamilton has had a rough start to the 2022 season and is struggling to keep up with his new teammate George Russell.