I may be remembering completely incorrectly here, but I thought last year or two years ago when Hamilton got his ear pierced there was controversy (this being F1) about whether drivers were allowed to wear jewelry while in the car. In qualifying, Massa has a wedding ring on while in the car, are these exempt or something?
Drivers cannot wear jewelry that might impede rescue workers. In the case of Hamilton, his fireproof balaclava might have gotten caught on his ear rings in an accident where medical personnel might need to get his balaclava off quickly. Massa’s accident and injury in Hungary 2009 is the perfect example of just such an incident. Necklaces are another example of jewelry that is banned.
On the other hand, wedding rings are very difficult to get off. The driver’s gloves won’t catch of them, and it’s unlikely that they would get in the way of anything else.
The other reason jewelry is mostly banned is due to fire risk (not because they’re flammable but because metal conducts heat a lot better than fireproof clothing).
Even before jewelry was banned, Renault had an engineer who had “check drivers are not wearing their watches before entering the car” on the job list because they calculated that a typical watch (of 40g) was worth two-thousandths of a second.
Well personally I think that the most important reason for not wearing Jewelry is that as a man, you look like an idiot with it on! I can more or less accept a wedding ring…but even that is not entirely necessary, and I am not planning to wear one!
Felipe Massas ring is nothing compared to the bling you see the athletes on tv wearing who run the 100 metres. It must weigh them down and cant help their aero eiffency, and must be a disadvantage when the sprints are decided by thousandths of a second. In comparison his ring adds almost no weight, and it could have some emotional significance to him which he may claim actually helps make him faster.