GPDA chairman supports FIA jewellery ban

GPDA chairman supports FIA jewellery ban

Grand Prix Drivers Association chairman Alex Wurz has defended the FIA’s jewellery ban in F1, but admitting he might have adopted a “slightly different approach.”

Following the exposure of a growing number of contentious grey areas in F1 regulations, the FIA has chosen a black-and-white approach to the laws.

This tightening of the regulations, however, has sparked further debate, with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel both speaking out against restrictions on the wearing of jewellery and non-compliant underwear, with the four-time world champion implying that his former title rival was being targeted by the governing body.

The rule banning drivers from wearing certain forms of jewellery, as well as flammable undergarments, has been in effect since 2005, albeit it is only loosely enforced. The FIA has just recently tightened its grip, with fines levied during a recent Formula E event.

Hamilton has been given a grace period to remove his own jewellery and must arrive at the Monaco Grand Prix weekend with no piercings or earrings, but he has vowed to disregard the deadline.

This has put Hamilton and the FIA at odds, with the topic of jewellery, its perils, and the risks drivers face suddenly becoming a significant discussion point.

“It is a rule for the right reasons,” Wurz said in an interview with Reuters. “I would have probably liked a slightly different approach of how to deliver the message.

“I don’t want to end up in football where there are more hands in the air and verbal abuse…you have to work together. It’s a style I would have preferred in this case.”

While jewellery and underwear may appear to be minor concerns, Wurz cited a talk with former racer Kris Nissen, who was engaged in a fiery sportscar disaster at Fuji in 1988, as testimony to the contrary.

“He showed his body and said ‘look at this’,” said Wurz. “For him the absolute most painful thing after the fire, and it wasn’t a long fire, was the rubber [elastic] in his normal pants being burnt into the skin.”

“He said [it was] for years agony and pain, and it educated me.”

“At this moment I said I don’t want to live these consequences, only for [not] taking my pants off and putting fireproof underpants on. The same with jewellery.”

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