Monaco is understood for glitz and glamour – and jewelry – however now for a brand new cause as Lewis Hamilton and F1 hit the city for this weekend’s grand prix.
The seven-time F1 champion has been on the centre of a long-running saga this season across the jewelry drivers are – or usually are not – allowed to put on within the cockpit.
The FIA guidelines, lengthy in place however by no means adhered to, at the moment are being enforced strictly, and whereas Hamilton was handed a two-race exemption forward of the Miami Grand Prix, that has expired going into Friday’s observe classes.
If you’re a diehard F1 fan you’ll already be throughout this story, however in case you are a extra informal fan you’ll little question have many questions.
So what occurs subsequent in Monaco this weekend? And the way did we get right here?
What are the FIA guidelines on F1 drivers carrying jewelry?
So the FIA, which governs F1, has one thing known as an Worldwide Sporting Code.
Deep inside that Code – particularly Appendix L, Article 5 – now we have the element regarding driver jewelry.
It states: “The carrying of jewelry within the type of physique piercing or metallic neck chains is prohibited in the course of the competitors and will due to this fact be checked earlier than the beginning.”
The rationale for this rule – which has really been in place since 2005 – is all about security.
In its media launch forward of Miami, the FIA defined: “The above-noted regulation is written in consideration that the carrying of jewelry beneath the required flameproof clothes can scale back the safety afforded by this gear.
“Metallic objects, similar to jewelry, in touch with the pores and skin can scale back warmth transmission safety and thus could enhance the danger of burn accidents within the occasion of a hearth.
“The carrying of jewelry in the course of the competitors can hinder each medical interventions in addition to subsequent prognosis and therapy ought to it’s required following an accident.
“The presence of jewelry can sluggish, because of the danger of ‘snagging’, the emergency elimination of driver security gear similar to helmet, balaclava, and overalls.
“Within the case that medical imaging is required to tell prognosis following an accident the presence of jewelry on the physique may cause vital complication and delay.
“Within the worst case, the presence of jewelry throughout imaging could trigger additional harm. Jewelry in and/or across the airway can pose particular extra dangers ought to it change into dislodged throughout an accident and both ingested or inhaled.”
So why now? And why Lewis Hamilton?
So this all blew up forward of the Miami Grand Prix. Till then, whereas the principles had already been in place, they’d not been correctly enforced.
FIA F1 race director Niels Wittich was the person reinforcing the principles to groups – telling them their drivers should abide by the principles on jewelry [and underwear, but we’ll leave that for another day] when competing on observe.
This, after all, put Lewis Hamilton firmly centre stage each as the very best profile driver within the paddock, and one who has a number of piercings.
The British megastar was clearly unimpressed by the brand new clampdown, and rocked up [quite literally] to a pre-race Miami press convention carrying three watches, 4 necklaces and a hoop on every finger.
Hamilton has additionally made it clear he requires minor surgical procedure to take away his nostril stud, while he has one other piercing he’s unable to take away.
So proper now, we may very well be at an deadlock, with Monaco about to ship the subsequent chapter on this growing saga.
So what penalty might Hamilton face – A effective? A ban?
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has denied Hamilton is being focused right here, however he has additionally made it clear there will probably be penalties if he doesn’t comply with the principles round jewelry.
In principle, these penalties ought to start in Monaco, with that two-race exemption now over.
When requested what would occur if Lewis continues to put on jewelry in Monaco, he mentioned: “That is as much as him. There are fines that apply. It is like if somebody speeds on the roads – you’ll be able to’t cease them from doing it however they get fined, even when it was unintended.
“You’ll be able to’t let folks off as a result of they’re your mates. There must be one rule for all, and that is that.”
So at this stage, a effective it’s, and a case of who blinks first. We might find yourself with a situation the place Hamilton is penalised financially each time he will get into the automotive on observe.
So are the FIA proper right here and does security trump all? Or does Hamilton have some extent when he says the game has “greater fish to fry”?
Both means, it’s a narrative that seems more likely to run and run, for just a few extra days at the least.