Mosley defends HANS decision

Mosley defends HANS decision

FIA president Max Mosley has defended the decision to make the Head and Neck Support (HANS) compulsory in Formula One this year, saying drivers also argued when seatbelts and other safety measures were introduced. Several drivers have complained...

FIA president Max Mosley has defended the decision to make the Head and Neck Support (HANS) compulsory in Formula One this year, saying drivers also argued when seatbelts and other safety measures were introduced. Several drivers have complained that the HANS device is too uncomfortable to wear in its present form and there has been some concern that it could cause problems come Melbourne if drivers are forced to wear it.

"If you get the old literature out from when they introduced crash helmets and when they introduced seat belts, all the same arguments are there," said Mosley. "They said 'It's uncomfortable, it's impossible, I can't drive with this, this is ridiculous, I don't need this.' A lot of people said 'You need to be thrown clear, you shouldn't have seatbelts in a racing car'. We don't like interfering with anything but it's been pointed out also by a lot of the drivers that if you don't make it compulsory, nobody will wear it."

Nick Heidfeld.
Photo by Sauber Petronas.
Teams have been working to adapt the standard FIA HANS system to individual drivers, which is permitted so long as the sport's governing body approves the alterations. BAR's Jacques Villeneuve and Sauber drivers Nick Heidfeld and Heinz-Harald Frentzen have been unhappy with the device in testing but most think it's just a matter of getting used to it.

Ferrari appears to be one of the few that have sorted out any problems: "We have found a good solution for the HANS system," said Michael Schumacher after using the device in testing. "It is much safer for the driver if we use it, there's no doubt about that. All we need now is to see if every driver will be comfortable using it, if that's not the case then I don't think it should be compulsory."

After speaking to a HANS designer who was working with Schumacher in testing, McLaren's David Coulthard hopes to have come up with another alteration to the system that will prove more comfortable. Coulthard has discussed it with the Grand Prix Drivers' Association and has sent diagrams to the FIA. A crash test on the adapted HANS device is due to be carried out next weekend.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , David Coulthard , Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren