A recent Formula One reinforcement of rules about jewelry is quite a rift between the sport’s rule makers and the greatest driver of this and possibly any other generation. The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) announced earlier this season that it would enforce items under Appendix L’s its International Sporting Code — to do what drivers are allowed to wear under their race suits — and to curb its existing rules. the wearing of jewelry. Lewis Hamilton, an impossibly cool guy whose charisma and crossover stardom has been a major accelerator for Formula One’s international boom in popularity, has become accustomed to over the course of his extraordinary 16-year career wearing selected items of jewelry throughout the race weekends. So accustomed, in fact, that he has accumulated a number of piercings over the years, piercings which now hold items of jewelry that he would be very reluctant to remove.
The FIA obviously feels strongly enough about these regulations that they are willing to engage in a battle with the biggest star in all of racing, up to and including forcing Hamilton at least temporarily out of the sport. The British driver reiterated Friday, ahead of Sunday’s first-ever Miami Grand Prix, that he is fully willing to be banned from participating in this or any other race, if it comes to it. For Hamilton, it’s both a personal expression of matter and also a practical concern: Hamilton explained ahead of the Australian Grand Prix in April that certain piercings — those in his right ear, for example — are “literally welded in” and they would have to be “chopped off or something like that” in order to be safely removed.
But those ear piercings are apparently not the only ones that simply can’t be unclipped. Back in April, before the FIA had allowed this conflict to become quite so serious, Hamilton hinted that he had other, less visible piercings, which would make closure impossible. “I’ve got some piercings that I really just can’t take out, that not many people know,” he explained during a pre-race press session, to the general amusement of the room. Hamilton quickly convinced everyone that he was simply having a laugh, before pivoting to a shared joke with Max Verstappen about a secret nipple-piercing hidden under the Red Bull driver’s racing suit.
Because Hamilton said aloud the words “nipple-piercing” in his delightful back-and-forth with Verstappen, it suggested that the joke about “certain piercings” refer to his own body in an adornment of an even more private area of his person. Certainly it is not impossible that Hamilton is referring to a piercing of any flap below the neckline, but his Instagram account is useful for confirming that the handsome and stylish fellow does not have any piercings between his mouth and his waistline — or, at At least, none that can’t be removed for a sexy photo op:
Still, This phrase by Hamilton appeared to be a joke at the time, taking nothing too literally. Certainly Hamilton, though cool and daring he may not be driving at 200 miles-per-hour with a metal object inserted down thereGeneral Chat Chat Lounge
Matters have gotten significantly more serious in the weeks since then. Hamilton was granted a two-race grace period to work out the safe removal of his various piercings, but he has only gotten more resolute that this will not be done. This is a scenario set for the stage in which Hamilton shows up for the Monaco Grand Prix in the final weekend in May, checked for piercings by what will be some poor race stewardess. One of the most surreal moments of their racing careers, and banned from participating in Formula One’s signature event. This would be an unbelievably stupid result for the sport.
Speaking Friday while pointing out what seemed like dozens of items of jewelry, Hamilton took a much more serious tone about the jewelry ban. “If they stop me [from racing], then so be it, we’ve got a spare driver, “he explained, without so much hint that it could be a bluff. “When they told me about the jewelry, they said safety is everything. And I said, ‘Well, what’s happened over the last 16 years? I’ve had jewelry for the last 16 years, so safety wasn’t an issue back then? “
It is precisely because this matter has become very serious that I There was no choice but to sit up and take notice when Hamilton, again, referred to those “certain piercings” that must go unnamed but, he said, could not be removed. When the matter came up ahead of Miami’s race weekend, Hamilton once again appeared to gesture below the belt:
Asked what the solution might be to an apparent impasse, Hamilton indicated there was only so much he could do.
“I can’t remove at least two of them,” he said. “One I really can’t explain where it is. But what I can say is it is platinum that I have, so it is non-magnetic, it has never been a safety issue in the past. “
There are some colorfully named parts of the ear that are routinely pierced — the daith, the rook, the tragus — but presumably Hamilton wouldn’t feel that any of his immediate visible piercings on his body couldn’t be described, to say nothing of just pointing. at them. We can safely not rule out all of his head piercings, and we already have confirmed, Using visual evidence available, that Hamilton’s upper midsection is un-punctured. We would not want to assume that we have narrowed down “certain piercings” all the way to the groin region without first eliminating the possibility, however unlikely, that Hamilton has a piercing or two below his upper thigh. Fortunately, we can turn once more to Hamilton’s Instagram account, where our hero is not above occasionally showing feet:
I don’t detect any flashes of platinum anywhere on Hamilton’s lower legs, and it seems beyond consideration to suggest that he may have a welded-on piercing somewhere on his Achilles tendon. At this point I feel that we simply have no choice but to make a ruling and bang the gavel: If Lewis Hamilton really does have a “certain piercing” that he Can’t remove and can’t describe, and that can’t be seen on race day, the likeliest scenario is that we have a Prince Albert situation on our hands.
Before you adopt the position that Hamilton is pointlessly stubborn about all of this, it is worth reviewing and interrogating what precisely motivates the FIA to emphasize this rule of enforcement, after at least 16 years of looking the other way. Race director Niels Wittich reportedly said in his memo earlier this year that it had a matter of burning protection for metal’s ability to heat transmission, and that jewelry could become “snagged” when medical personnel attempted to remove a driver’s helmet or overalls in an emergency situation. But, as Hamilton and others have pointed out, it’s tough to accept this safety-based defense when it comes to sorts of events that will make the jewelry especially troublesome — crashes that involve a driver being stuck in a burning car — are already profoundly dangerous. In a way that makes any potential snagging injuries seem insignificant.
Hamilton is not the only driver who suspects that safety concerns may not fully account for the FIA’s sudden crackdown. Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel lamented what seemed to him to be “more of a personal thing, and I feel particularly in a way targeted at Lewis.” That governing body can’t come up with anything better We suddenly care about this, after 16 years of not caring is not inspiring a lot of confidence.
As Kevin Magnussen explained it, if it was a matter of liability, most drivers would be willing to “take that responsibility” when the consequences of a jewelry injury seem so minor compared to the dangers they already face: “I’ll take a little bit Extra burn on my finger to race in my wedding ring. ” Hamilton is obviously making the same calculation, which seems reasonable enough, even if the area in question is more sensitive, in more ways than one.