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Lewis Hamilton is set for another collision course with Formula One’s governing body over the jewellery row which could threaten his participation at Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
A record 142,000 fans are expected at Silverstone for one of the highlights of Britain’s sporting summer – the majority of whom will be there to support seven-time world champion Hamilton.
But Hamilton, 37, is facing the astonishing prospect of being expelled from his home race – with the FIA’s deadline to remove his nose stud expiring on Thursday.
Hamilton was afforded a two-race medical exemption at the Miami Grand Prix on May 8 – to the seventh round of the campaign in Monaco on May 29 – to remove the item of jewellery which he says is not easy to take out. A second extension was then agreed.
But if Hamilton keeps his nose stud in place for first practice at Silverstone on Friday, and further concessions are not granted by the FIA, Hamilton is likely to be summoned to the stewards.
While a number of options are available to the stewards – including a reprimand or fine – the worst-case scenario for Hamilton is a suspension for breaking the rules.
Such a breach would mean he is ineligible to take part in qualifying on Saturday for his home race.
The ban on drivers wearing jewellery in the cockpit has been in place for a number of years.
But FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem, who succeeded Jean Todt last December, and race director Niels Wittich, a replacement for the sacked Michael Masi, have been keen to enforce the rule on safety grounds. And there is a growing feeling within the governing body that additional exemptions should not be granted.
Speaking at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix earlier this month, Hamilton said: “Honestly, I feel like there’s just way too much time and energy being given to this.
“The rule came in in 2005. I think we’ve all worn jewellery throughout our careers in Formula One. It’s not been a problem in the past and there’s no reason for it to necessarily be a problem now.
“It definitely is positive that we’re working with the FIA and I think they’re accommodating a little bit at the moment. But we shouldn’t have to keep on revisiting this thing every weekend. We’ve definitely got bigger fish to fry.”
Hamilton, who is 98 points behind championship leader Max Verstappen, was due to address the media in the FIA’s pre-race press conference at Silverstone on Thursday afternoon.