Lewis Hamilton has told Formula One’s rulers that he will have to chop off his ear to meet their jewellery demands.
While the prohibition of body piercings has been in place since 2004, F1’s new race director Niels Wittich brought the rule to the fore in his pre-race notes here in Melbourne before addressing the subject directly with Hamilton and his peers in a two-hour drivers’ briefing.
Wittich says the law is there to protect the driver by not hindering a speedy escape from their car.
But in a show of defiance, Hamilton competed at Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix with piercings in both ears and a nose stud.
‘I don’t have any plans on removing them,’ said the 37-year-old, who finished fourth at Melbourne’s Albert Park.
‘They are personal things. You should be able to be who you are. There is stuff that I cannot move.
‘I literally cannot even take these out. These ones on my right ear are welded in so I would have to get it chopped off. They will be staying.’
The rule prohibiting the wearing of jewellery is Article 5 of the third chapter of Appendix L of the governing body’s International Sporting Code (ISC).
The FIA clause states that ‘the wearing of jewellery in the form of body piercing or metal neck chains is prohibited during the competition and may therefore be checked before the start.’
Hamilton could theoretically be fined or docked points if he breaks the sporting code.
However, it is understood the FIA are waiting to see if Hamilton’s stance will change over the coming races before determining whether action is required.