Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has warned one of F1's new Race Directors, Neils Wittich, against entering into a jewellery "battle" with Lewis Hamilton. Wittich dedicated a section of his pre-Australian GP notes to reminding drivers that the wearing of certain jewellery is prohibited whilst on track. The rule has been in place since 2005 but has been rarely policed with drivers such as Hamilton often sporting earrings and piercings during races. Speaking to the media in Australia, including RacingNews365.com , the seven-time World Champion made clear that he would not be removing his earrings, despite Wittich's reminder. The Briton was seen to be wearing piercings during the Australian GP but, as of yet, no punishment has come his way. Hamilton said: "They are personal things. You should be able to be who you are."
Wolff: Is a jewellery battle what Wittich needs right now?
Defending Hamilton's stance on jewellery, Wolff has moved to question whether a battle with the sport's most famous athlete would be a wise move by Wittich, so early into his spell as one of F1's two new Race Directors. Wittich joined Eduardo Freitas in replacing Michael Masi following the well-documented events of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. When quizzed by the Press Association on the new Race Directors and their jewellery reminder, Wolff replied: "Is that a battle he [Wittich] needs to have at this stage? "However, if it turns out to be the biggest unfortunate misstep of a Race Director, I would take it a thousand times over."
Wittich yet to put a foot wrong, says Wolff
Wolff was a regular critic of the recently-ousted Masi, describing him as "almost disrespectful" in how he addressed the drivers during briefings. But he has been impressed by Wittich, whose time as Race Director has so far been free of any real on-track controversy. Wolff added: "How he has run the first few races has been respectful, solid and he hasn't put a single foot wrong.”