Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton
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New F1 race director Niels Wittich could face a struggle to persuade Lewis Hamilton to adhere to the FIA’s ruling about no jewellery in the cockpit. Hamilton is expected to continue wearing jewellery in his Mercedes, continuing an uncomfortable saga for Wittich as the 2022 season lands in Miami.
Ahead of the Miami Grand Prix, the FIA has made jewellery and underwear checks part of scrutineering submission. And Wittich has reminded drivers that wearing jewellery in the car is banned under the International Sporting Code.
The German stated wearing jewellery underneath flameproof clothing ‘reduces protection’ and metallic objects 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’.
“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,” Wittich added. “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.”
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FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem is understood to be ‘obsessed’ with the no-jewellery policy, which has been in place for years but rarely been enforced in recent history. But Hamilton has previously explained that he would ignore the ruling because he has piercings that can’t be removed without breaking.
The seven-time world champion ‘doesn’t really understand the small things they are picking up’, and Wittich could face a fight to ensure Ben Sulayem gets what he wants. He must directly address the topic with Hamilton at Friday’s drivers’ briefing before the weekend’s action or avoid confrontation.
Former F1 driver John Watson has weighed in on the situation, claiming he didn’t wear metal in case he was involved in a fiery accident in his car. But he believes Hamilton could go as far as walking away from the sport as a whole if he’s forced to obey strict jewellery ruling.
He said: “I never wore jewellery. If I was in a fire, I didn’t want metal on me. Lewis may take the view that it is so much part of him that he won’t give in to any pressure. He could even decide to walk out of the whole sport if they try to force him to do something he doesn’t want to do. I wouldn’t be surprised if he tells them where to stick it.”
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