Jenson Button sides with FIA over Lewis Hamilton as jewellery ban row rumbles on

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Jenson Button has backed the FIA’s stance over jewellery as their clash with Lewis Hamilton rumbles on. New race director Niels Wittich has taken a stricter position on drivers not being allowed to wear jewellery than predecessor Michael Masi.

The ruling directly affects Mercedes star Hamilton. The seven-times world champion has a couple of earrings that he previously claimed are welded into his skin, but has agreed to take them out for the Miami Grand Prix.

Hamilton recently joked that he would need to chop off his ears to comply with the FIA rule, which states: “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.”

Sky Sports pundit Danica Patrick believes the FIA’s stance is “nonsensical”, but Button challenged that view, saying: “This isn’t something that is new though, to be fair, I actually disagree.

“I have never worn underpants under my race suit because they are flammable and it has always been in the regulations – don’t wear underpants and don’t wear piercings or metal on your body. I don’t think they have pushed the regulation very hard and now they are, which is very strange, why they are doing that suddenly.”

Button added that it is not just a rule that prevents injury on the race track. He continued: “It is not just what happens at the circuit, it is when they take the crash helmet off, is it going to pull on the ear and then the marshal feels bad that he’s hurt you.

“Or, it could be if you are taken to the hospital and they have to do an x-ray or an MRI, you can’t have metal in your face either. It is a tricky one and it is weird we are talking about it. There are so many things to talk about in motorsport and F1 at the moment and we are talking about that.”

Hamilton has agreed to take out his ear piercings ahead of Saturday’s Miami Grand Prix. The 37-year-old has also been given a two-race notice on taking out a nose piercing.

“These ones on my right ear are literally welded in so I’d have to get them chopped off or something like that. So they will be staying,” Hamilton has previously said when asked about the FIA’s stance on jewellery.

But he took a more serious approach on Friday, claiming the sport had taken a step backwards by enforcing the rule so strictly. He said: “I feel like it’s almost like a step backwards if you think of the steps we’re taking as a sport and the more important issues and causes that we need to focus on.

“It seems unnecessary to get into this spat.”I think we’ve made such great strides for the sport… and this is such a small thing.”


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