Formula 1: “Personal freedom”, Vettel wears briefs over a racing suit

Formula 1 heated debate

‘Personal Freedom’ – Vettel wears briefs over racing suit

Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel is known for his powerful messages. The 34-year-old has once again caused a stir in Miami


Sebastian Vettel makes a special appearance at the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Miami. The ex-world champion appears in the pit lane with his underpants over his racing suit. The German is fueling a current debate in the paddock.

In the discussion about banning jewelry for Formula 1 drivers, Sebastian Vettel sided with Lewis Hamilton. “It’s personal freedom. We’re old enough to make our own decisions. Then we should be able to do that in the car as well,” the 34-year-old said ahead of the race premiere in Miami.

Earlier, German race director Niels Wittich announced he would step up a crackdown on the wearing of jewelry and non-retardant underwear in the cockpit.

Hamilton had criticized it as “a step backwards for our sport” and “very, very stupid”. The world record champion usually wears a lot of jewelry on his body. He couldn’t easily remove at least two jewels either, the Briton said. He has therefore already turned to Mohammed bin Sulayem, the boss of the world association Fia. After much argument, the 37-year-old relented and took off his earrings. He received special permission for his nose piercing until the race in Monaco, which takes place at the end of May.

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Vettel showed incomprehension in the face of the new hard line of the leaders. “There is no need to inflate this issue. It feels like a personal thing aimed at Lewis,” said the Aston Martin driver. In a sign of disobedience, Vettel drove through the pit lane on Friday before the opening practice session with a gray undergarment pulled on over his racing suit.

Vettel becomes a protester

Race director Wittich had advised teams in Miami that in future they would also have to provide official documentation stating that their drivers would not wear jewelry or private underwear in the car. Wittich also announced spot checks. “If they arrest me, so be it. We have a backup driver,” Hamilton said.

The global association Fia says the reason for the measures is that rings, chains or piercings could pose unnecessary obstacles for first responders and medics in an emergency. In addition, jewelry on the skin as heat conductors can reduce the protective effect of layered flame retardant clothing. “This increases the risk of burns in the event of a fire,” he says. Last but not least, the jewelry itself carries a risk of injury and could be swallowed in the event of an accident.

Miami F1 Grand Prix - Previews

Sebastian Vettel sets an example for climate protection in Miami

Source: AFP/Chris Graythen

Wearing standard underwear, which is said to be common among some drivers, is also not permitted. Only flame retardant clothing complying with FIA Formula 1 standards is permitted. This applies to underwear.

In addition to his underwear, Vettel made another fashion statement. The German, who has been committed to climate protection for years, wore a T-shirt in Miami with the inscription “Miami 2060. First Grand Prix under water”. Act now or swim later.

Climate experts counter that the coastal city could be inundated by rising sea levels due to global warming in the coming decades.

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