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Lewis Hamilton

GPDA chief wades in on Hamilton jewellery debate

Alex Wurz says the FIA are right to enforce jewellery rules but wants education, not public disagreements with high-profile drivers.

Lewis Hamilton
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Grand Prix Drivers' Association Chairman and former F1 racer Alex Wurz says jewellery rules that have left Lewis Hamilton and the FIA at loggerheads are there for "the right reasons", but admits he would have taken "a different approach" to the issue.

The rule that prevents drivers from wearing certain types of jewellery - as well as flammable underwear - has been in place since 2005, albeit loosely enforced. Only recently have the FIA clamped down, with fines being dished out during a recent Formula E event.

Hamilton has been given a grace period to remove his own jewellery and must arrive at the Monaco Grand Prix weekend free of any piercings or earrings, but has vowed to ignore the deadline.

This has left Hamilton and the FIA at loggerheads, with the topic of jewellery, its dangers and the risk drivers take having now become a major talking point.

"It is a rule for the right reasons. I would have probably liked a slightly different approach of how to deliver the message," Wurz told Reuters.

"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."

Why Wurz feels the FIA's jewellery and underwear rules are needed

Educating drivers properly on the risks of racing with jewellery and flammable underwear is the key to getting them on side, Wurz has suggested.

The 48-year-old completed much of his own racing career with fireproof underwear after a meeting with Danish former racer Kris Nissen.

Nissen found himself engulfed in flames during a crash in Fuji in 1988, having not been wearing inflammable underwear at the time.

"For him, the absolute most painful thing after [the] fire, and it wasn't a long fire, was the rubber (elastic) in his normal pants being burnt into the skin," Wurz explained.

"He said for years [he had] 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."

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