Lewis Hamilton has questioned why the FIA, through Race Director Niels Wittich, are choosing to clamp down on seemingly minor rules transgressions. Over the winter, the FIA made radical changes to issues of race governance in light of the fallout from the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. As well as introducing changes such as a Virtual Race Control to support the real Race Control room, F1 has appointed two new Race Directors to share the responsibility across the season. For the first three races, the man overseeing Race Control was Wittich, with Eduardo Freitas set to take charge of his first race at Imola. After outlining strict track limits in the opening races, Wittich also took aim at more inconsequential parts of the F1 rulebook in Australia. This included a clampdown on jewellery worn by the drivers, as well as ensuring drivers only wear the permitted fireproof underwear under their race suits – non-fireproof underwear underneath is not permitted. It led Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff to question why Wittich is choosing to go into "battle" with drivers like Hamilton over such trivial matters.
Hamilton gives his response to the FIA's latest actions
On Friday at Albert Park, the seven-time World Champion explained that he had some jewellery that couldn't be removed and, following the race, said he found the rule enforcement to be a little strict – this was after a lengthy driver meeting on Saturday night. Hamilton described the situation as unusual, especially given that some of the FIA officials weren't even wearing face masks. "It was the longest driver briefing of my life," he told media, including RacingNews365.com . "I've been racing a long time. They've never done such a long driver briefing. Also, no one in the driver briefing was wearing a mask. "Some of the drivers were [wearing masks]. Most of the FIA [staff] weren't, which was, for me, uncomfortable. "I don't really understand the small things that they're picking up like the underwear. Are we really talking about that sort of thing? But, anyways, we move on. I don't feel like it's more strict."