LEWIS HAMILTON will discover on Friday if he will be slapped with a fine for not removing his nose piercing ahead of the Monaco GP.
The seven-time world champion is at the centre of a barmy rule reintroduced by sport’s governing body, the FIA.
New FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has made it his mission to force Hamilton to remove his nose stud on the grounds of safety – but bizarrely wedding rings are allowed.
Hamilton threatened to sit out of the Miami GP when the ruling was last issued and he managed to get a two-race exemption, which expired after the Spanish GP last Sunday.
However, the 37 year-old is defiant he will not remove the jewellery from his nose as it requires surgery to do so, but he has complied with the other parts of the ‘bling ban’, such as removing earrings and bracelets before getting in his cockpit.
He will now test Ben Sulayem’s resolve at the Monaco GP in a pathetic row that has made the FIA look ridiculous – and left F1 chiefs embarrassed.
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It is somewhat hypocritical for the FIA to police such a minor matter let other infringements go unpunished.
At the Spanish GP, race stewards allowed over 50 rule breaks for driving too slowly in qualifying, while some teams were also allowed to race despite their fuel temperature being too, which results in improved performance.
There is a feeling that the FIA need to clarify their no-jewellery stance before implementing a half-thought idea.
The decision will be made by the FIA’s F1 race director Niels Wittich, who has previously said: “The wearing of jewellery during this competition can hinder both medical interventions as well as subsequent diagnosis and treatment should it be required following an accident.
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“The presence of jewellery can slow, due to the risk of “snagging”, the emergency removal of driver safety equipment such as helmet, balaclava and overalls.
“The wearing of jewellery in the form of body piercing or metal neck chains is prohibited during the competition and may therefor be checked before the start.”
But in Miami, Hamilton said he was hopeful of getting an exemption and also offered to sign a waiver so he could keep his stud.
He said at the time, “it’s platinum that I have, so it’s not magnetic. It’s never been a safety issue in the past.
“I feel like it’s almost a step backwards, if you think about the steps we are taking as a sport, and the more important causes that we need to focus on.
“I think we’ve made really great strides in the sport. This is such a small thing.
“I think we’ve got bigger fish to fry, bigger things to do, more impact to have, so I think that’s really where the focus should be.”
If the FIA do hit him with a penalty, it is likely to be a fine of around £10,000, while a second penalty in likely to be the same amount again, plus a suspended points deduction.
A third offence would see the fine increased considerably with the points being removed from his tally in the drivers’ championship.
As yet it is unclear whether those penalties would apply for every race, or every session.