Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes has a reserve driver ready to race in the Miami Grand Prix if the FIA tries to impose an “unnecessary” jewelry ban.
The FIA highlighted an existing regulation banning jewelry earlier this season, and went into further detail in the scrutineering notes for Miami, explaining that the ban is due to the risk of increased heat transmission in case of a fire, or objects snagging or becoming dislodged in serious accidents. Hamilton arrived at the press conference wearing huge amounts of jewelry including three watches, and says he was making a point.
“I couldn’t get any more jewelry on today!” Hamilton said. “I feel like it’s almost like a step backwards, if you think about the steps we are taking as a sport, and the more important causes that we need to be focused on.
“I think we’ve made really great strides as a sport. This is such a small thing. I’ve been in the sport for 16 years and I’ve been wearing jewelry for 16 years. In the car I only ever have my earrings on and my nose ring, which I can’t even remove.
“It seems unnecessary for us to get into this spat. So I will try to communicate and work with Mohammed (Ben Sulayem). I’m here to try to be an ally of the sport, of Mohammed and F1.
“As I said, we’ve got bigger fish to fry, bigger things to do, more impact to have. So that’s really where I think the focus should be.
“At least two of (the pieces of jewelry) – one I can’t really explain where it is – but it’s platinum, so it’s not magnetic. It’s never been a safety issue in the past. In 16 years, I’ve had so many MRI scans and not had to take out the platinum.
“If they stop me, then so be it. We’ve got a spare driver so we’re all ready and prepped for the weekend. There’s lots to do in the city anyway! It’ll be good either way.”
The Mercedes reserve is Nyck de Vries, who is present in Miami, but Hamilton says he’s also willing to absolve the FIA of responsibility regarding his jewelry choices.
“I’m willing to sign a waiver to take responsibility away from them, If I need to,” he said. “It’s about individuality and being who you are. I did try calling Mohammed this morning, but I’m sure he was super-busy. I sent him a message just reassuring him that I want to be an ally and that I don’t want to fight with you guys over this. It’s very silly. I’ve not heard back yet, but I’ll try and speak to him before the race.”