Lewis Hamilton is being investigated for wearing jewelry while driving his Formula 1 car.
Niels Wittrich, the race director for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, reminded fans of laws prohibiting body piercing and neck chains, which have been in place for years but haven’t been strictly enforced.
The seven-time world champion who is a frequent wearer of jewelry outside the cockpit, was seen wearing a nose stud while driving his Mercedes. It was evident through his open visor at both last year’s season-ending Abu Dhabi GP and this year’s season-opening Bahrain GP.
FIA confirmed that a nose stud would be prohibited, potentially forcing Hamilton to remove it.
Article 5 of the third chapter of Appendix L of the governing body’s International Sporting Code prohibits the wearing of jewelry.
The rule states: “The wearing of jewellery in the form of body piercing or metal neck chains is prohibited during the competition and may therefore be checked before the start.”
The FIA first imposed “an immediate restriction on the wearing of jewellery (body piercing and heavy chains) by racing and rally competitors” in 2005, and the rule was later approved by the ISC.
It was implemented to prevent the driver from being injured by piercings and chains in the case of an accident, and the FIA stated that it also applied to the wearing of rings and bracelets.
There had been “a number of cases” of drivers breaking the regulation, according to the statement, and the warning was not directed at anyone in particular. A fine would be imposed on anyone found to have broken it at an Australian GP.
Following the removal of Michael Masi in the wake of the controversial conclusion to the season, in which Hamilton was denied a record-breaking eighth world title, Wittrich is one of two new F1 race directors, alternating with Eduardo Freitas.
Hamilton is also expecting more hardship in Melbourne, since his Mercedes team has ruled out any significant upgrades this weekend.
After finishing 10th in the second round in Saudi Arabia a fortnight ago, Hamilton has already fallen 29 points behind in the title race.
Mercedes has dominated the sport since 2014, with Hamilton winning six championships and a historic eight constructors’ crowns in a row.
However, unless Mercedes can drastically improve their underperforming car, Hamilton and new British teammate George Russell have all but written off their hopes.
Mercedes’ season has been interrupted by a condition known as ‘porpoising,’ which occurs when a car violently bounces on its suspension at high speeds.
The issue caught Mercedes off guard, and Russell claims it is to blame for 99 percent of the team’s issues.
The Silver Arrows are expected to bring a new rear wing and a reworked floor to Melbourne for F1’s first race in Australia in two years. However, it is understood that no major changes are in the works for Sunday’s race at Albert Park.