Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has gone against the new FIA race director Niels Wittich in saying that there is no way he will remove his piercings during races.
Wittich had earlier communicated to all drivers that any form of neck jewellery or body piercings worn by drivers would need to be removed during races.
While these regulations have been in place in Formula 1 since 2004, they have largely been ignored by racers.
Even race directors have seldom pointed this out, but Wittich, who is believed to be a stickler for rules, has reminded drivers that this must be followed or they will risk a FIA sanction.
However, Hamilton arrived in Melbourne with both his ear piercings and nose stud very much in tact.
The Mercedes driver insisted that the FIA would have to “chop my ear off” before he conforms to this law.
“I don’t have any plans on removing them,” Hamilton said.
“They are personal things. You should be able to be who you are. There is stuff that I cannot move.
“I literally cannot even take these out. These ones on my right ear are welded in, so I would have to get it chopped off. They will be staying.”
Bigger fish to fry for Mercedes
There are bigger problems plaguing both lewis Hamilton and Mercedes this season.
Far from the dominant force it has been in recent years, Mercedes has struggled in the early part of the season this time.
As of now, Hamilton sits in fifth position in the drivers’ standings and Mercedes’ pace has been far off both Ferrari and Red Bull.
With Hamilton openly defying the ban on piercings, he could very well be in line for a sanction.
If the Stevenage-born driver continues to defy these rules, he could be in line for either a monetary fine or even be docked points.
While no action was taken against Hamilton at the Australian Grand Prix, it will be interesting to see whether Wittich looks to exercise his authority and stand firm on his words.