Lewis Hamilton has revealed he doesn't use any 'Therapeutic Use Exemptions' (TUEs) 'at the moment' as controversy grows over whether the system is being abused for athletic gain amongst sportspeople.
A number of high-profile Olympic athletes from Team GB and other nations – including Bradley Wiggins, Mo Farah and Simone Biles - have been identified as being permitted to use a range of TUEs following a series of hacks from a group calling itself 'Fancy Bears'.
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TUEs allow banned substances to be taken for athletes' verified medical needs – such as asthma - and there is no suggestion athletes are involved in any wrongdoing.
However, some experts and competitors have questioned the timing and frequency of some TUEs being used by athletes around large competitions, with Tour de France winner Chris Froome suggesting the system is 'open to abuse'.
Though Formula 1 and motorsport has an exceptional record with regard to performance enhancing drug cases, ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix Hamilton was asked whether he has ever requested TUEs to treat conditions as asthma or severe hayfever.
“It's very personal stuff,” he said. “I don't have any TUEs at the moment. I guess really it's because there are benefits to taking these things. If you are a cyclist in which you have to use your lungs, there are lots of things you can inhale to enhance the performance of your lungs.
“It has to go through a controlled governing body to make sure you are not gaining an advantage over the others who are not taking the same things.”
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However, the Briton says he would be surprised if TUEs offer up any potential performance advantage behind the wheel but says he doesn't think it is against the rules either.
“It's not an unfair thing, it's a perfectly normal thing. I don't know what the scenario is for him, but that's what you have to go through. As long as they give you the exemption.
“I'd have to investigate it [if TUEs could help drivers],” he continued. “I would imagine if you were to really look into it there would be something that could really speed up your reaction maybe, but I don't know if that would really be positive or beneficial. That's about it.”
F1 drivers are subject to the same rigours testing measures as stipulated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which includes informing the body of their whereabouts at all times to allow for random testing.
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