Helmut Marko has thrown his support behind Lewis Hamilton in the argument with the FIA over the jewellery ban.
Although it has been in the rule book for decades, Formula 1’s new race director Niels Wittich announced earlier this year the ban on drivers wearing jewellery would be enforced.
Before each grand prix, the teams have to submit in their scrutineering reports comments about the driver’s jewellery and also his underwear.
The Miami Grand Prix was the first race in which the ban was upheld, with Hamilton given a two-race exemption as some of his piercings cannot be easily removed.
The driver has until Monaco to do so but has already made it clear he will not – he feels it is a personal decision each driver should make.
He added: “When they told me about the jewellery, they said safety is everything. And I said ‘well, what’s happened for the last 16 years? I’ve had jewellery on for 16 years, so was safety not an issue back then?””
In what might be a first ever, Red Bull advisor Marko agrees with the seven-time former World Champion.
Lewis Hamilton is asked about jewellery in the press conference:
Lewis: “What I am aware of, is that those who are married are allowed to wear the wedding ring…”
George Russell: “You just need to get married then!”
— Autosport (@autosport) May 20, 2022
“I think they have gone too far,” grandpx.news quotes Marko, 78, as having told RTL.
“This should be a personal decision of the drivers.
“I don’t remember how long Hamilton has been in F1, but he has been wearing this jewellery all these years. So why did they suddenly decide to invent this topic?”
The Austrian reckons Formula 1 has bigger issues it should be dealing with, drivers’ piercings and underwear not being on his list.
“I think we have enough other things to worry about,” he continued. “We must accept and respect the individuality of each driver.
“Do I side with Hamilton? Yes I do, and this is my honest opinion.”
Wittich explained in his pre-race notes for the Miami race the reasoning behind the ban on both jewellery and drivers’ underwear that is not fire retardant.
He wrote the wearing of jewellery underneath flame-resistant clothing “can reduce the protection afforded by this equipment” and “thus may increase the risk of burn injuries in the event of a fire”.
As for the underwear ruling, the use of “non-flameproof materials in contact with the driver’s skin, and in particular synthetic materials, can reduce heat transmission protection and thus increase the risk of burn injuries in the event of a fire”.