jewelry debate
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Lewis Hamilton likes to wear flashy jewelry. © Wilfredo Lee/AP/dpa

In Formula 1 there is a strange argument about wearing jewelry and private underwear before the race in Miami. Sebastian Vettel thinks the rule guards’ hard line is unnecessary.

Miami – In the discussion about the ban on jewelry for Formula 1 drivers, Sebastian Vettel took the side of Lewis Hamilton.

“It’s personal freedom. We are old enough to make our own decisions. Then we should also be able to do that in the car,” said the 34-year-old before the premiere race in Miami. Previously, the German race director Niels Wittich had announced that he would tighten the crackdown on wearing jewelry and non-fireproof underwear in the cockpit.

Hamilton had criticized this as “a step backwards for our sport” and “very, very stupid”. The record world champion usually wears a lot of jewelry on his body. He couldn’t easily take off at least two pieces of jewelry either, said the Briton. He had therefore already turned to the head of the world association, Mohammed bin Sulayem. After lengthy discussions, the 37-year-old gave in and removed his earrings. He received an exceptional permit for his nose piercing until the race in Monaco at the end of May.

Protest in boxer shorts

Vettel showed incomprehension about the new hard line of the rulers. “There is no need to inflate this issue. That feels like a personal thing aimed at Lewis,” said the Aston Martin driver. As a sign of disobedience, Vettel ran through the pit lane before the opening practice session with gray boxer shorts pulled over his racing suit.

Race director Wittich had informed the teams in Miami that in future they would also have to provide official documents that their drivers would not wear any jewelry or private underwear in the car. Wittich also announced spot checks. “If they stop me, then so be it. We have a backup driver,” Hamilton said.

Higher risk?

The world association Fia states that the reason for the measures is that rings, chains or piercings could pose unnecessary obstacles for first responders and doctors in emergencies. In addition, jewelry on the skin as a heat conductor can reduce the protective effect of overlying fireproof clothing. “This increases the risk of burns in a fire,” it says. Last but not least, the jewelry itself carries the risk of injury and could be swallowed in the event of an accident.

It is also not permitted to wear commercial underwear, which is allegedly still common practice for some drivers. Only clothing that meets FIA Formula 1 standards is permitted. dpa

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