F1 drivers issued jewellery ban reminder by FIA in Australia

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The rule, which forms Article 5 of the third chapter of Appendix L from the governing body’s International Sporting Code, was highlighted in the event notes released for the Melbourne event by race director Niels Wittich.

The full wording of the rule states: “The wearing of jewellery in the form of body piercing or metal neck chains is prohibited during the competition and may therefore be checked before the start.”

The move to highlight the rule to the F1 field ahead of this weekend’s event is not a new clampdown on body piercings or chain jewellery, as it has long been actionable if drivers were to be discovered with them in their cars per the rule’s place in the ISC.

The FIA first instigated what was then described as “an immediate ban on the wearing of jewellery (body piercing and heavy chains) by race and rally competitors” back in 2005, with the rule later adopted into the ISC.

Motorsport.com understands the Melbourne move is not reacting to a specific instance of a certain driver being spotted wearing jewellery or leaving a body piercing in when behind the wheel of their F1 car in the 2022 season.

Instead, Wittich, who replaced Michael Masi as F1 race director for 2022 in an alternating arrangement with Eduardo Freitas, is keen to ensure such standards are fully adhered to, thereby reducing the risk of a driver suffering an additional injury in a major accident in the context of Romain Grosjean’s violent and fiery crash at the 2020 Sakhir GP.

This is understood to be related to multiple drivers from up and down the grid being spotted wearing jewellery – including rings and bracelets – when in their cars, which could also possibly even make escaping quickly from the cockpit of a wrecked car more difficult.

In recent years, there have been instances of drivers in another championship – Formula E – falling foul of an ISC breech in relation to what they were wearing beneath their race suits while driving their cars.

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At the 2018 Punta del Este E-Prix, then Audi driver Lucas di Grassi was fined €10,000 and given three penalty points for wearing flamed-resistant underwear that was too short during the electric championship’s most-recent race in Uruguay.

At the New York round later than same season, Techeetah drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Andre Lotterer were also fined for wearing non-compliant underwear during qualifying for that event.

With such precedents, should an F1 driver be discovered to be in breach of the rule relating to jewellery and body piercings then it is likely that a similar punishment would be handed out rather an any sporting penalty.

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