HomeSportsGolfF1: Lewis Hamilton wins jewellery battle against FIA, receives exemption for nose...

F1: Lewis Hamilton wins jewellery battle against FIA, receives exemption for nose studs

Lewis Hamilton AFP / Giuseppe CACACE

The 2023 Formula 1 season is about to kick off and while everyone is busy on the track getting the cars and drivers ready for the Bahrain Grand Prix, there are also a number of minor non-racing issues that have hit the headlines. Most recently, it has been announced that Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has been granted a medical exemption to the FIA’s jewellery ban.

The debate has been ongoing since the 2022 season, with Hamilton being the only driver who flat out refuses to follow the safety regulations. The FIA has ruled that drivers are not allowed to wear watches, rings, necklaces, earrings and other kinds of jewellery while in the cockpit of a Formula 1 car.

While he has been happy to take off most of his accessories, Hamilton’s main point of concern was the nose stud that he wears on his left nostril. He was forced to remove it for the British Grand Prix in July 2022 when the FIA put its foot down about imposing the ban. However, the stud was seen back on his nose by October at the Singapore Grand Prix.

At that time, he managed to secure an exemption after providing a medical certificate stating that he suffered an infection after taking off the stud.

Now, it seems as though the seven-time world champion has not only decided to continue wearing his original stud, he has also turned up after the winter break with another piercing on his right nostril. He now has one on either side of his nose, and has no intention of removing them for race weekends.

Furthermore, he came prepared with another medical note seeking an exemption to wear both nose studs while racing. The FIA is understood to have granted a medical exemption on the grounds that the process of taking the studs on and off could cause “disfigurement.”

The FIA released a statement confirming the exemption: “The Stewards having heard from a team representative and receiving a medical report from the team doctor of Mercedes AMG-Petronas F1 Team, which requested an exemption.

The Stewards consulted the FIA medical delegate, who viewed the medical report, examined the driver and concurred with the opinion therein.

We have determined to take no further action as there are concerns about disfigurement with frequent attempts at removal of the device.”

The exemption is expected to last throughout the entire 2023 season. Competitors have the right to appeal the decision, but it seems unlikely that any of the other teams will raise a fuss. Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner is the most likely to protest, but he does not seem to be taking that route for now.

This is a small victory for Hamilton, who had been at loggerheads with the FIA on a number of issues in recent months. Last season, it may be remembered that he protested against the jewellery ban by turning up at a press conference wearing four watches, eight rings and a number of neck chains. He had even declared that he was willing to skip races over the issue.

Apart from the jewellery debacle, the FIA is also keen on preventing drivers from using the sport as a platform for making political statements or advancing personal advocacies. It may be remembered that Hamilton is a staunch supporter of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, and had even gained support from many other drivers into taking the knee ahead of races.

F1 previously launched the “We Race as One” campaign to fight racism in the sport, but it remains to be seen if the campaign will be pushed as strongly in 2023. It is also still unclear if the drivers will continue to be allowed to take the knee ahead of events. These questions will be answered this weekend when the season kicks off at the Bahrain International Circuit.

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