Lewis Hamilton has come down strongly against the latest clampdown on drivers wearing jewelry as well as FIA homologated underwear, gloves and balaclavas. Terming the move as a "step backwards," Hamilton said that there were more important issues to be focused on than jewellary.
In the press conference, where Hamilton sported as many as 3 watches, he said:
"It's almost like a step backwards, if you think about the steps we're taking as a sport and the more important issues and causes we need to be focusing on. I think we've made such great strides as a sport…this is such a small thing."
Lewis Hamilton also confirmed that he had reached out to the new FIA president while wishing to remain an ally.
"It's about individuality and being who you are. I sent [Mohammed bin Sulayem] a message just reassuring him that I want to be an ally. I don't want to fight with you guys over this. This is very, very silly."
The renewed clampdown on jewelry and other homologated apparel is being made on the grounds of improved safety. FIA Formula One Race Director Niels Wittich explained that wearing jewelry underneath flameproof clothing "can reduce the protection" as "metallic objects, such as jewelry, in contact with the skin can reduce heat transmission protection and thus may increase the risk of burn injuries in the event of a fire."
Wittich had reminded drivers prior to the Australian Grand Prix that the FIA International Sporting Code prohibits drivers from wearing jewelry in the car.
This was back on the agenda before the inaugural Miami GP after a document was issued with an updated scrutineering policy to include checks concerning jewelry and underwear.
Lewis Hamilton finds support in Pierre Gasly
Lewis Hamilton also saw support from fellow driver Pierre Gasly, who was also part of the press conference at the time. Talking about the whole directive, Pierre Gasly, first of all, acknowledged and appreciated that the FIA was looking into the safety of the drivers, but at the same time said that he wears a religious item while he sits in the car and that he does not feel comfortable not having it with him while driving the car.
Gasly further added that it was personal and drivers should have the freedom to do what feels right.
"I do feel it is a little bit personal. We should have the freedom to do what feels right."
We'll have to see how the FIA's jewelry prohibition proceeds after this weekend and whether any penalties may be levied on drivers who refuse to abide by the ban.