Hill would stand defiant on jewellery ban

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton receives the Pirelli Pole Position award from Damon Hill. Belgian August 2018

While acknowledging the FIA’s safety argument, Damon Hill says the drivers are adults, they should be allowed to make a “personal choice” to race with jewellery or not.

The FIA and Lewis Hamilton are facing a stand-off in the build-up to the Monaco Grand Prix weekend after the seven-time World Champion was given a two-week exemption on F1’s jewellery ban.

This season the sport’s new race directors have decided to enforce the jewellery ban that has been in the rules for decades already, saying they are doing so on safety grounds.

The ban came into force at the Miami Grand Prix but Hamilton, who has piercings that are welded in, could not simply remove him and he was handed a two-week exemption.

He made it clear, though, that even when the exemption is up, he’ll continue wearing his piercings as he is an adult and can make his own choices.

Lewis Hamilton with piercings visible. Miami May 2022.

Hill agrees with that.

Speaking to Sky Sports, the 1996 World Champion said: “I raced my entire career wearing a gold chain and a Saint Christopher and there was nothing that would have persuaded me to take that off.

“They can try but I mean honestly I’m racing with my Saint Christopher. There comes a time it is a personal choice.”

Hamilton, and it must be said any other driver refusing to remove their jewellery, could be banned from racing or they could be hit with a monetary fine.

Hill’s solution to avoid this situation is to have the drivers all sign indemnity forms.

“I understand the argument about MRI scanners and if doctors have to work they don’t want to waste time in taking out piercings but by the same token all these drivers are adults and they are surely able to assess the risks by now and make that choice themselves,” he continued.

“If they pay the price for wearing piercings at some point in some extraordinary situation than that’s their choice.

“But I understand the FIA’s position which is they have to ensure the best situation for everybody.

“But if they got them to sign a release… I mean every time we get into a racing car we sign releases. The team were absolved, the tyre company was absolved, the engine company was absolved of any responsible.

 

“All they have to do is come up with a contract that says we knew and accept the risk, and you sign a document that says I accept that it is my fault if anything goes wrong.”