The seven-time world champion arrived with three watches, eight rings, and four necklaces and he was anything but dismissive when asked about the possibility of a race weekend boycott over the matter.
Lewis Hamilton defied the FIA’s ban on body piercings by showing up at the Miami Grand Prix with as much jewellery as he could fit on his body and suggested he was willing to sit out races over the matter.
Hamilton arrived at the paddock dressed fully in denim, with several loose buttons on his long-sleeved shirt revealing at least four piled necklaces. Later, Hamilton was shown with at least three timepieces and four rings on each hand. He also wears a nose ring and wears earrings.
“I couldn’t get any more jewelry on today,” he said.
Hamilton isn’t the only driver on the circuit who wears jewellery, but his celebrity status has definitely heightened the controversy. On Thursday night, all ten teams received a letter warning that pre-session checks could be conducted to guarantee that no drivers were wearing earrings or necklaces while on track.
“I don’t have a lot more to offer than what I stated the last time I was in front of you guys,” he told reporters, accusing the FIA of ignoring broader issues by exaggerating a “little item.”
“We have a spare driver,” he replied. “There’s lots to do in the city, I’ll be good either way.” Hamilton had previously said he would have “to chop his ears off” to comply with the authorities.
Hamilton was seen in Mercedes’ hospitality room not long after, wearing only one watch and one ring on his arm. Mercedes had filed the requisite papers to the FIA declaring Hamilton had removed all the jewellery he could before he took to the circuit for first practise. His piercings have been granted a temporary exemption.
The fundamental concern, according to Formula One’s governing body, is safety. Drivers may be subjected to pre-race inspections since “wearing jewellery underneath the authorised flameproof clothes can weaken the protection given by this equipment,” according to the report.
“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,” the FIA wrote.
“The wearing of jewelry during the competition can hinder both medical interventions as well as subsequent diagnosis and treatment should it be required following an accident.”
The FIA said jewelry can snag during emergency removal from a car, and can also complicate or delay medical imaging.
“In the worst case, the presence of jewelry during imaging may cause further injury. Jewelry in and/or around the airway can pose specific additional risks should it become dislodged during an accident and either ingested or inhaled.”
Since the FIA first suggested a possible crackdown, Hamilton has fought back, saying on Friday that he will sign a waiver admitting full responsibility.
He claims he has worn his bling while participating in Formula One for 16 years without incident, and he has even attended multiple medical imaging sessions while wearing it.
“It’s platinum that I have, so it’s not magnetic. It’s never been a safety issue in the past,” Hamilton said.
“In 16 years, I’ve had so many MRI scans and not had to take out the platinum because it’s not been an easy.”