Lewis Hamilton threatened to pull out of Miami's first-ever F1 Grand Prix race if the FIA goes through with the drivers' jewelry ban. The 37-year-old professional racer said he has at least two piercings that are impossible for him to remove.
During Friday's press conference, Hamilton made his feelings known by wearing three watches, eight rings, several necklaces, one bracelet, and two earrings.
Addressing the ban that was introduced to racers yesterday, he stated, “I really don't know. As I said, I can’t remove at least two of them. One I can’t really explain where it is."
Hamilton reassured the crowd that "it’s never been a safety issue in the past."
"I've worn [jewelry] for 16 years, had so many MRI scans and not had to take out the platinum, for example, because it's not been an issue," he said during the press conference. "So yeah, if they stop me then so be it. We’ve got a spare driver. So we’re well prepped for the weekend."
The high-profile racer teased he "will be good either way." Calling the ban "a step backwards" for the sport, Hamilton quipped, "This is such a small thing, I've been in the sport 16 years, I've been wearing jewelry for 16 years."
Revealing one of his piercings is on his face, the driver explained, "I mean, I only ever have in the car my earrings on and my nose ring, which I can't even remove" while vowing to "communicate and work" with the FIA's President, Mohammed bin Sulayem.
Hamilton stated he's "willing to sign a waiver, to take the responsibility away from them and they're expensive, if they want me to," but "I don’t have any plans on removing them."
Joking that "these ones on my right ear are welded in so I would have to get it chopped off," he added, "They will be staying."
Hamilton's rant came just one day after race director Niels Wittich sent out a letter revealing the jewelry ban. In the letter, he claimed that jewelry might interfere with the racers' flame-resistant clothes, get snagged, or even lodged.
"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," his note read.
As for Hamilton, he claimed he called Mohammed, who has yet to return his gesture.
"I did try calling Mohammed this morning, I am sure he is super busy, but I wanted to reassure him I want to be an ally," he said during the press conference. "And that I don't want to fight with you guys over this. It is very, very silly. Let's have a good weekend."