Motor racing-Hamilton says his piercings are no problem for British GP

Formula One F1 - British Grand Prix - Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain - June 30, 2022 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton wearing a protective face mask during the press conference ahead of the Grand Prix REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) - Seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton has dismissed fears he could fall foul of Formula One's governing body at his home British Grand Prix over a ban on drivers racing with body piercings.

The Mercedes driver, who has multiple piercings, was engaged in a standoff with the governing FIA in May but was given an exemption until Silverstone for items requiring special intervention for removal.

That exemption has now expired, with some media reports suggesting Hamilton might not be allowed to start Sunday's race, but the driver rejected that scenario when asked at the circuit on Thursday.

"It's kind of crazy to think that with everything that's going on in the world that is the focus of people," said the sport's most successful driver of all time, his nose and ear piercings evidently still in place.

"We've got so much bigger fish to fry -- I'm vegan so I don't fry fish, but you know," added the eight times British Grand Prix winner with a laugh.

"We've really got to start focusing on other more important areas.

"I will be racing this weekend. I will be working with the FIA. I would say the matter is not particularly massively important. I will work with (FIA president) Mohammed (Ben Sulayem) and his team so we can progress forwards."

The ban on jewellery, as well as the wearing of non-compliant under-garments, has long been in the rules but rarely enforced until the FIA clamped down this season.

It says items beneath the mandatory flameproof clothing could increase the risk of burn injuries and has highlighted the risk of critical delays or complications if medical imaging is required following an accident.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff told Reuters that the conversation was ongoing with the FIA.

"This has been such a long-discussed topic and they've come to a consensus," said the Austrian.

"There won't be an issue."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)

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