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Can F1 Drivers Wear Jewelry? (Rules Explained)

Fashion trends will always come and go, but one thing that will remain constant is jewelry. There are plenty of drivers in the F1 paddock who wear jewelry, whether it’s a wedding ring or ear piercings. You might be wondering whether Formula 1 drivers can wear jewelry in the car.

F1 drivers are not allowed to wear jewelry while they’re in the car for safety reasons. In 2005 the FIA banned drivers from wearing jewelry in the car, but the rule was not strictly enforced. Over the years drivers started wearing more jewelry until there was a clampdown on the rule in 2022.

The rule that drivers are not allowed to wear jewelry while driving a Formula 1 car has been extremely controversial, especially in 2022 as social media added fuel to the fire. However, there are some good reasons behind the rule being implemented in Formula 1, and we take a look at them below.

Can F1 Drivers Wear Jewelry?

F1 drivers can wear jewelry when they’re not racing, but they are not allowed to wear any when driving the car. This is for safety purposes, with the main reasons being that metal jewelry could cause burns in the event of a crash, and piercings could be ripped out as well. 

From wedding rings to clunky chains and cross necklaces, Formula 1 drivers wear a wide variety of jewelry. As superstars who sign big money contracts, many Formula 1 drivers tend to enjoy themselves and spend money on the latest fashion trends. It’s not uncommon to see many drivers wearing their preferred jewelry around the paddock.

Many drivers are also incredibly marketable which attracts a lot of sponsorship. The watch industry has a big focus on motorsport, with several big names such as Richard Mille, IWC, and Tag Heuer securing sponsorship deals worth millions of dollars. Drivers will often wear their watches around the paddock and in media interviews as endorsements to promote their sponsors.

Can F1 Drivers Wear Jewelry In The Car?

Over the years, there have been many drivers who have also worn jewelry while driving their cars. Many drivers would wear their wedding rings underneath their gloves while driving. Some drivers, such as Felipe Massa, always wore their watches underneath their race suits as well.

Lewis Hamilton is known for having several body piercings, which he has been driving with for several years. He was the focal point of the recent jewelry rule clampdown, which we’ll dive in to shortly. Some drivers also wear necklaces while driving the car, but these usually aren’t big and heavy. 

The 2005 Jewelry Rule

Just two races into the 2005 Formula 1 season the FIA brought in a new rule to ban drivers from wearing jewelry while driving their cars. The “ban on bling” rule, as it became known, instructed all racing drivers, both on track and those competing in rally racing, to remove any jewelry including body piercing, watches, and rings before they got into the car.

At the time, there were two Formula 1 drivers who had body piercings, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Christian Klien, and it seemed as though the rule was directed towards them. Other drivers such as Michael Schumacher still wore their lucky charms and pendants despite these rules being implemented.

Does The Rule Still Exist?

As the years carried on, drivers seemed to ignore this rule that the FIA laid down in 2005

Liuzzi and Klien continued to wear their piercings and jewelry even when in the car, and other drivers still wore their watches, wedding rings and necklaces in the paddock as well as in the car. They were not punished, and the rule wasn’t ever truly enforced.

Over the years, some drivers, such as Lewis Hamilton became famous for their fashion choices in the paddock, wearing more jewelry and getting more piercings as the seasons went on. All throughout the 2010s, drivers would still wear their jewelry when getting into the car, and it’s something that hasn’t changed since.

KEY POINTS

• F1 drivers are not supposed to wear jewelry when driving their cars

• The rule first came into effect in 2005, but was never enforced and was revised in 2022

• Many F1 drivers have become famous for the jewelry they wear

Is It Dangerous For F1 Drivers To Wear Jewelry?

It is dangerous for F1 drivers to wear jewelry, although how dangerous it is hasn’t ever been clear. There was a fear that in the event of a crash – which is not uncommon in Formula 1 – a body piercing could be ripped from the skin causing even more damage to the driver’s face or body in the crash.

There was also the fear that metallic objects such as wedding rings and watches would conduct heat, causing the driver’s skin to burn underneath the fireproof race suit when exposed to extreme temperatures. Jewelry could also get caught on fireproof overalls or to the car if the driver needs to be extracted quickly, hindering their ability to free themselves.

Arguments For The Rule

With more of a focus on driver safety than ever before, the FIA implemented the rule as a way of preventing these types of injuries from happening in the sport. When the rule was implemented, there hadn’t necessarily been any similar incidents that sparked the motion for a “ban on bling” rule in Formula 1.

But there is still the argument that wearing jewelry in a Formula 1 car could cause more harm than good for the driver in the event of a crash. Of course, there is always a risk when driving with body piercings, necklaces, or watches at high speed, but thankfully we’re yet to see this proven to be true.

Arguments Against The Rule

Drivers are fully covered in Formula 1 from head to toe. Every driver has to wear a fireproof race suit with fire resistant undergarments underneath. Their heads are tightly fitted into fireproof balaclavas, underneath some of the strongest helmets in motorsport. Even with jewelry, the driver’s body is completely covered and protected.

There have been hundreds if not thousands of crashes in Formula 1, but little to no reports of jewelry causing severe injury to a driver. With several drivers wearing wedding rings, necklaces, and watches, none seem to have had an experience that made them regret wearing jewelry while driving their Formula 1 cars.

2022 F1 Jewelry Ban Explained

Despite the jewelry ban being in place since 2005, the FIA did not enforce the rule, leading to many drivers wearing jewelry while driving their cars. With the FIA not enforcing the rules, drivers began to overlook the rule and the reasons it was implemented in the first place.

However, during the 2022 season, the FIA decided they would clamp down on the jewelry rule once again. In a heated confrontation, the FIA and Lewis Hamilton disagreed on the ban on jewelry in the sport. Hamilton stated that he had been racing with his body piercings and other jewelry for years without any issue, and without it being addressed by the FIA.

Other Drivers In Support Of Hamilton

Other drivers came out in support of the seven-time World Champion too. Kevin Magnussen refused to remove his wedding ring when getting into the car and asked for an exemption from the rule. Wedding rings are underneath the fireproof gloves and are still relatively protected.

In addition, Pierre Gasly stated religious reasons for his exemption from the rule due to a cross necklace that he wears every time he gets into the car. Despite the uproar from drivers, the FIA insisted that the rule had to be enforced, and eventually Hamilton removed some piercings and other drivers removed watches and clunky jewelry when getting into the car.

Romain Grosjean, who survived a fiery crash at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, also came out in support of Hamilton, stating that his wedding ring did not cause further damage despite the burns his hands suffered during the crash.

Support For The Clampdown

Alex Wurz, who is a former Formula 1 driver and is now heavily involved in pushing for driver safety, supported the FIA’s decision to clampdown on the rule. He stated that jewelry causes a severe burn risk for the drivers in the event of a crash, such as the one Grosjean had at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.

In addition, Wurz stated that jewelry could interfere with and cause delays to medical imagery equipment if scans are needed after an accident. There is also the risk of jewelry getting in the way of the driver receiving proper medical attention from medics if urgent action is required.

Can F1 Drivers Wear Watches While They Race?

F1 drivers are not allowed to wear watches while they race, 

Saying watches are common in Formula 1 is an understatement. The sport is known for being the playground of the rich and famous, and a statement timepiece always plays an important role in painting that picture. Whether it’s Tag Heuer, Rolex, or Richard Mille, watches have always been an integral part of motorsport, and especially Formula 1.

Some drivers are given their expensive watches as part of sponsorship deals. There’s a lot of attention on Formula 1 drivers, and flashing a fancy watch for a camera or having it in the same frame as a Formula 1 car on live TV is a huge endorsement for any brand.

It’s one of the reasons you’ll always see Charles Leclerc sporting his Richard Mille watch in interviews or whenever he’s walking around the paddock. Richard Mille has been partnered with Leclerc ever since his karting days, and it’s brought them a ton of exposure over the years.

No More Watches

But Formula 1 drivers are not allowed to wear watches while they race. You’ll often see drivers putting their watches on in the cooldown room before heading onto the podium, or just before they do an interview after qualifying.

In the past though, many drivers would keep their watches on when they got into the car. This was especially true for practice and qualifying sessions, as they could get further TV time for their sponsors while sitting in the garage. However, this is no longer allowed, and instead you’ll often see an image of a watch imprinted onto the driver’s gloves instead to keep the sponsors happy!

KEY POINTS

• The FIA clamped down on F1 drivers wearing jewelry in 2022

• This was done for safety reasons

• While it used to be common to see F1 drivers wearing watches in the car, this is no longer allowed

Final Thoughts

Formula 1 drivers are not allowed to wear jewelry in the car. The “ban on bling” rule first came into effect in 2005, but after a lack of enforcement drivers continued wearing jewelry in their cars. In 2022, the FIA clamped down on the rule, banning drivers from wearing jewelry in the car for safety reasons.