FIA Formula One officials are cracking down on driver dress rules, focusing on proper underwear and jewelery as pillars of driver safety.

Ahead of the May 8 Miami Grand Prix, FIA Formula One race director Niels Wittich reportedly told the 10 competing teams that there would be pre-race checks to ensure “compliance in Appendix L of the International Sporting Code (ISC), Chapter III, in particular Article 2 regarding conforming underwear and Article 5 regarding the wearing of jewellery,” according to RaceFans.net.


Lewis Hamilton on May 7, 2022 in Miami.

CREDIT: Hasan Bratic/photo-alliance/dp

The code states that drivers must wear fire-resistant “long underwear” in the event of an accident, explaining that fire-resistant fabrics in contact with the skin can offer a “level of protection in the event of flame exposure “. The code also states that the wearing of jewelry “in the form of piercings or metal neck chains” is prohibited during competition as it may impede potential media treatment in the event of injury.

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“Metallic objects, such as jewelry, in contact with the skin may reduce protection against heat transmission and may therefore increase the risk of burns in the event of a fire,” Wittich wrote in his announcement. “In the event that medical imaging is required to inform diagnosis following an accident, the presence of jewelry on the body can lead to complications and significant delays… Jewelry in or around the airway can pose risks additional specific if they become dislodged in an accident and either ingested or inhaled”.

Although these codes have been in place since 2005, they have not been strictly enforced – until now. Wearing proper underwear and removing all jewelry is now considered part of the technical inspection of cars, according to Racing365. If a driver does not follow the rules, entering the race could be considered illegal. Racing365 says this “illegal” status would normally result in a ban, but it is more likely to result in a fine or grid penalty for violating a dress code.

But not everyone is happy to follow the safety rules. Driver Lewis Hamilton, who is known for wearing heavy jewelry and has spoken out against the ban, reportedly showed up to a pre-race press conference on Friday wearing three watches, eight rings, bracelets, earrings and several necklaces to talk about the ban. The British driver told the press he believed the jewelry-based regulations infringed on self-expression and were a “step backwards” for the sport, adding that he personally has some difficult-to-remove jewelry that he would need time to remove, like his nose piercing.

After the conference, the Puma collaborator reportedly met with Formula 1 officials and obtained a two-race exemption to allow it to compete with those hard-to-remove body jewelry. Hamilton was later seen without his earrings.

Hamilton previously told Footwear News in 2017 that he likes to keep his racing suit, including his underwear, “as light as possible” to do his best, adding that his boots are “as light as socks” . On a positive note, maybe the new jewelry rule will help the racer keep things light. Those hearty chains, snapping rings, and three watches must weigh a little.

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