F1's new race director Niels Wittich told drivers before the Australian GP that jewellery would not be allowed for on-track sessions, but Lewis Hamilton still wore earrings and a nose stud; Hamilton: "They're literally welded on so I'd have to get them chopped off... they'll be staying."
Monday 11 April 2022 12:11, UK
Lewis Hamilton has vowed to continue wearing jewellery during races despite the FIA's demand, with the seven-time world champion insisting "you should be able to be who you are" as he braces for another F1 battle.
Before the Australian GP, F1's governing body reinforced a rule on jewellery, with new race director Niels Wittich telling drivers that "body piercing or metal neck chains" would not be allowed and would be checked before races.
But in a show of defiance, Hamilton competed in Sunday's race with piercings in both ears and a nose stud.
Questioned after he finished fourth in Melbourne, Hamilton said: "I don't have any plans on removing them.
"I feel they are personal things. You should be able to be who you are. There's stuff that I can't move.
"I literally can't take these out [pointing to piercings on his right ear]. They're literally welded on so I'd have to get them chopped off or something. So they'll be staying."
The prohibition of body piercings has been in place in F1 since 2004, though Wittich brought the rule back to the fore in his pre-race notes for the Australian GP.
F1's race director said the law is there to protect the driver by not hindering a speedy escape from their car.
Hamilton could theoretically be fined or docked points if he breaks the sporting code.
However, Sky Sports understands there will be a "grace period" for drivers, with the FIA waiting to see if Hamilton's stance will change over the coming races before determining whether action is required.
Hamilton had told Sky Sports F1 earlier in the weekend that he had "no idea" why the drivers had been reminded about jewellery, while he and rival Max Verstappen had joked about "nipple piercings" in Friday's press conference.
Hamilton added: "I've got certain piercings that I really just can't take out that not many people know of. I'm kidding, I'm kidding!
"It's been the rule forever. Since I've been here it's been the rule, so there's nothing new. I'm just going to come with more jewellery next week."
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also questioned the race director's reminder about jewellery. Wittich has overseen the opening rounds of the season after replacing Michael Masi following the controversial end to 2021.
"How he has run the first few races has been respectful, solid and he hasn't put a single foot wrong," Wolff said.
"But is that [jewellery ban] a battle he needs to have at this stage? However, if it turns out to be the biggest unfortunate misstep of a race director, I would take it a thousand times over."