Alex Wurz has said the FIA’s enforcement of a jewellery ban whilst driving is the right decision, but that the message could have been delivered better.
Lewis Hamilton and the FIA are at loggerheads over the governing body’s decision to more strictly enforce the rules this season. One of those rules states that body piercings and metal neck chains are not allowed whilst driving, which Hamilton has taken issue with.
Any driver who does not comply with the rules could face a ban but Hamilton has not backed down. He was given a two-race grace period to remove jewellery he said he could not but he has shown no signs of doing that. The final race of that grace period will be in Barcelona and it remains to be seen what will happen afterwards.
Former racer and now chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association Wurz said he believed the crackdown on jewellery was the correct decision, but he would have delivered the message in a different manner.
“It is a rule for the right reasons,” he told Reuters. “I would have probably liked a slightly different approach of how to deliver the message.
“I don’t want to end up in football where there are more hands in the air and verbal abuse…you have to work together. It’s a style I would have preferred in this case.”
🎙️ "It's almost a step backwards."
Lewis Hamilton responds to the FIA's recent decision to tighten rules on F1 driver's wearing jewellery in their race cars 👇 pic.twitter.com/Kov2FnEPPt
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) May 6, 2022
Wurz explained his decision to support the FIA by recalling an incident in 1988 when Danish racer Kris Nissen was involved in a fiery crash at Japan’s Fuji circuit.
“He showed his body and said ‘look at this’,” the 48-year-old said.
“For him the absolute most painful thing after fire, and it wasn’t a long fire, was the rubber (elastic) in his normal pants being burnt into the skin. He said (it was) for years agony and pain. And it educated me.
“At this moment I said I don’t want to live these consequences, only for (not) taking my pants off and putting fireproof underpants on. The same with jewellery.”
Another safety concern arising from the Miami Grand Prix was the lack of a Tecpro barrier at Turn 14. The walls, which are designed to reduce G forces, would not only protect the drivers but also save the team money on repairs Wurz argued.
“Strictly speaking we didn’t have an injury, so maybe you can say it (the barrier) is not necessary but we want to say that if we had it, it would improve the situation,” he said.
“No research in the world can tell me it would have been a downside to put it (there).”