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Formula 1 Australian GP

FIA set for clampdown on F1 driver underwear

The FIA is planning a clampdown on the underwear that Formula 1 drivers use on safety grounds following talks in Australia.

Lando Norris, McLaren, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Fernando Alonso, Alpine F1 Team, discuss overalls

During the drivers briefing that lasted over two hours on Friday night at Albert Park, FIA race director Niels Wittich explained there would be a clampdown moving forward on what drivers wore under their suits in the car.

There are concerns that some drivers have been wearing their underwear which is not in compliance with the FIA regulations, which are in place to protect them in the event of a fire.

Appendix L of the FIA’s International Sporting Code states that drivers must wear gloves, long underwear, a balaclava, socks and shoes that are homologated to the FIA’s standards.

Wittich has been enforcing such elements of the rulebook more strictly since taking over as F1 race director at the start of the year. Ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, he reminded drivers in the event notes that wearing jewellery in the car was not permitted due to concerns about safety and extrication from cars.

During the meeting, there was understood to be some pushback from drivers about the plan for the clampdown on the underwear they use. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said that he heard it was an “entertaining drivers’ briefing yesterday”.

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George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, the other drivers on the grid prior to the start

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, the other drivers on the grid prior to the start

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

But the primary concern is the impact wearing a synthetic material under their race suit may have in the event of a fire, such as the one that left Romain Grosjean with burns to his hands after crashing in the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.

The FIA is set to be more proactive in ensuring drivers are wearing compliant fireproof underwear with spot checks, but it is understood there will be a grace period in the coming races without any penalties being issued.

At the 2018 Formula E race in Punta del Este, Audi driver Lucas di Grass was fined €10,000 for wearing underwear that was not compliant with the International Sporting Code. A similar fine was issued for Techeetah drivers Andre Lotterer and Jean-Eric Vergne at the New York Formula E race later that year.

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